Tag Archive | culture

worries, culture, and updates

Where to start? I’ve received so many emails and phone calls demanding updates on my “no worries” resolution, so I’ll start with that. (okay, more like my husband mentioned it in passing two weeks ago. At least someone remembered. 🙂 It’s been almost two months since I gave up worry for lent, or fall, or something.

How’s it going, you ask? Well, it was going great. I wrote the blog, went to bed, and things were going swimmingly. Then I woke up and sort of felt that left-arm-numbness-thing I’ve been noticing. That was a bit of a battle to my spirit. But nothing compared to Day 3 of No Worry Living, when Sam had an allergic reaction to something still unknown, in our living room (carpet? pesticide? peanut butter?), and we had to administer the epi pen and call 911 and rush him to the doctor. I mean, I guess I knew there would be trials and tribulations to surmount. But really, God, really??!? The epi pen on Day 3??! Initially, even this challenge was met with confidence, maturity, and strength. What I mean is, the paramedics (and my mom) were impressed with my attention to detail, yet refusal to cry like a little girl, even though anyone would be scared.

It was only days later that I basically crumbled like a cookie in a lunchbox. Crumbled apart. The terror, the adrenaline, the questions that needed answers, the rashes that needed watching, the doctors who needed prompting…

Worry is like a toilet. No, not just that it’s crappy. (Seventh grade humor…sorry. Too much time with my husband.) No, picture the part where it flushes and water is swirling and swirling and sucking down. Worry swallows everything. There is no middle ground. Worry a drop about something; soon you will worry oceans about anything. Either worry is dead or worry is tyrant. So I guess despite my failure it wasn’t a total loss. I have learned a lot about worry. I have learned how destructive worry can be. I have learned I am a hypochondriac. (Who knew? Oh, you did? Shoot.) Finally I have learned that I can be great at managing worry, especially with a little medicine, a glass or two of wine, people who listen, a few good nights of (mostly) uninterrupted sleep, when I am surrounded by people, and, ahem, at certain happier times of the month.

I am not the hero of this story. I did a bad job not worrying. (Although give me a little break…the epi pen on day 3?!?! Did anyone think I’d survive that??) I still remain resolute as ever for the next 23 days. I think I am just more humble now. I know I am a worry junkie. I need to go to AA meetings and run like heck when I see a needle. It’s my pathetic drug to cope with life, and I am grateful for people who help.

SO there is that update. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way here are a few random happenings and thoughts of the last two months.
– We are praying for the right next place to live! Our house is rented. Where do we go next? No pressure, since it’s not like our kids will probably grow up in this house, and I’m sure our 3.85% interest rate will be around any old time we need it again. (!?!?!)
– I am teaching again. I have the most wonderful students EVER. Sam, Jack, and Lincoln, so far. Homeschool preschool rocks.
– It’s not too late to get up in the wee hours of the morning (or just the regular morning, only if you have a toddler and baby, heads up that it may FEEL like the wee hours of the morning) to read your Bible with us! I am so grateful for this program, and for all the friends all over the country who are reading with me! We sign in via facebook in the morning for accountability. Not too late! Join us
– Finally. I have realized I have a love/hate relationship with pop culture, now that I am offically an adult. Love: I want to be cool again. When did I lose it? (Oh, yes, that’s right. When I got pregnant.) Anyway, I miss shopping. I miss knowing how to do my eye makeup, or doing my eye makeup in general. I resent the realization that I am actually not wearing the kind of jeans the cool kids are wearing. But also: HATE. At the risk of sounding like a grandmother (no – I take it back. No “risk” – I offically WILL sound like a grandmother.) BUT WHEN THE HECK DID AMERICA GO TO POT??? (I warned you…grandmother.) But seriously. Maybe I have just been removed from culture too long while I was burping and shushing and making babyfood. But have teenagers always been so grungy and disrespectful and texting nonstop and just plain NOT who you want your precious little boys to grow up and be with? (or – gasp – be LIKE??) Has mainstream TV always been so full of sex and boobs and really awful people?? Seriously??

Okay, I am off my soapbox. Just had to note it, for the one other person in the world who also feels that way, now you are not alone! 🙂 haha.

Whew, thanks for reading this quite random update, and I promise I won’t be gone so long next time!

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a current events update, from someone very out of the loop

Confession. I am horrible with current events. Horrible. I told Todd it would be genius if someone would come up with a weekly show like “24” which told the world happenings of the week in a more palatable format. I realize I sound like a seventh grader not wanting to learn anything unless it’s fun, but I think it would help. At least then I would have another source for news other than the three lead stories that pop up in the sidebar when I’m checking my gmail, or the links people post on facebook to stories. Because unfortunately, my friends, those are the primary sources of my news.
It’s deplorable. But this year I have been getting “World Magazine” (courtesy of course, of my mother-in-law) so things have improved a tad. This week I forced myself to read an article on Haiti. I say “forced” not only because, as I mentioned, news is boring, but also because the pictures made me feel like this would not be an article I would be able to read while eating my raspberry sorbet and then forget about. And I was right. What I read was shocking and unforgettable. I’m sure some of you are actually somewhat informed of world events, but I am going to assume for a second you all are like me and completely ignorant. Here are the things I learned.
– Haiti was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, before the 7.1
quake came and demolished everything.
– Six months after the quake, the country was flooded by rain. This destroyed a lot of the work that had already been done on repairs, and many people got cholera (which is still rampant).
– Haiti’s government is horrible, and most of foreign aid (which there has been a LOT Of) has been squandered, wasted, abused, or who knows what.
– It’s been a year since the quake, and the general consensus is that about TWO PERCENT of the rubble has been cleared. (2%! CRAZY!)
– A large portion of the population is infected with diseased water, unemployed, homeless, widowed or orphaned, with nothing to eat. That is not an exaggeration – it’s factual.

Basically, I heard about the quake a year ago and forgot about it. I assumed that things were better, because let’s face it – you are always hearing about this or that catastrophe and things eventually just improve. But in Haiti, they aren’t, and most of the big-money aid from other countries is not helping because of the corrupt government.

So, the obvious questions are, what CAN help, and what should I do (if anything). I’ll tell you what we have done. It’s always hard to know, I think, whether your money to aid organizations is paying for unnecessary 30-page color flyers or some CEO’s plush salary, and how much of it actually goes to rice or bottled water. I was happy to learn that Compassion International ranks in the top 1% of charity organizations for its financial integrity. And I like their vision. They find kids who are hungry, and bring them to a clean, safe center every day for a good meal, basic health care, schooling/vocational help, and to hear that Jesus loves them. If your Compassion kid ends up really becoming a leader, they can attend a Compassion college of sorts to become an adult volunteer in their country.

There are currently 1600 Haitian kids who need sponsorship. It is hard for me think about grieving the loss of $38 a month when the need is so great. I feel it’s a good way to help. Here is the link – you can even pick your own child from pictures. My next step is to actually write this poor kid back when he sends letters so I don’t feel guilty everytime I get one. But let’s not get too ambitious all at once I guess 🙂

What Is Wrong With Parenting Magazine. (It’s not a question; I’m going to tell you.)

I know. Not a very nice title. So I will start with something positive, a shout-out. To my mother-in-law. One of my favorite things about Carole, my mother-in-law, is that her love language is gifts and letters. This means I very frequently open my mailbox to find an “envelope (or box) o’ stuff.” Unfortunately, I am horrible at cards and letters these days. I hope she doesn’t feel terribly unloved. But anyways, Carole knows two things about me: 1. I love to read. 2. I am poor. Because of her, I enjoy a wide range of reading material that I would not otherwise. My favorite, of course, is Real Simple, which literally makes my day when I get it. Obviously. She’s also sent a wonderful women’s devotional, and a really cool “HomeMade” magazine, with all kinds of amazing ideas I will never be creative enough to implement, but totally respect.
And I also enjoy Parenting Magazine. And I do mean “enjoy.” I love reading about the new baby toys, and trendy snacks for kids and parents (mostly kids…is that wrong?). There are a lot of interesting articles about safety, diet, people who go on really fun trips or do creative things with their jobs, etc. etc. And, to put it bluntly, on a very lonely and begrudging day, I am downright ecstatic to get my hands on the happy pages of Parenting during a bathroom reprieve.
But I have a gripe. I’ll call it, to be productive, a “missed opportunity,” or a “room for improvement.” Because it has the readership, concept, and design to be a really terrific, helpful magazine, but I believe it falls short. Here are the things that bother me. I’m sure Carole agrees. 🙂
1. Emphasis on “me time.” Listen people. I am all for “me time.” There is a good and rightful place in this world for pedicures, solitary vacations to Palm Springs, mom’s night out, and escaping to the bathroom from a whining kid, etc, etc. But would it be too much to ask that for every eight articles about the former, there might be – I don’t know – ONE article encouraging moms to do something boring, unsatisfying and unselfish, for the sake of your kids? You almost get the idea reading it that being a good mom means indulging yourself.
2. And on that note, (and I know I sound like a fifty-year-old) but what is up with the sex columns? Was I the only fifth grader who read mom’s magazines when I was really bored? I bet I wasn’t. If you are reading Parenting, then you have a kid. A kid who doesn’t really NEED to know about sex technique, problems, or toys (yes!).
3. A little too much politics. Lesbian moms (“dads”?), diagnosing prejudice, and eliminating gender roles to name a few things. I’m fine with that if it’s Time, but seriously. Can’t we just consumer review diapers?
There. I feel better now. That’s what you get for reading the blog of a pregnant woman. I’ll try to be more positive next time.