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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

American ~ Does that mean anything any more?

Years ago when I was working evenings, I would get up in the morning and watch The Early Show on CBS.  Now that I work days, I listen to the radio as I get ready to leave.  However, this morning I decided to turn the TV on and changed the channel to CBS.  And I'm glad I did.  Pat Buchanan was giving an interview to discuss his book Suicide Of A Superpower.  I have not read the book.  In fact, I hadn't heard of it until this morning.  I linked it only so you can obtain more information if you are interested in doing so.  The interview piqued my interest because Buchanan was expressing an idea that I have long been concerned about.  I even posted about it here

So what was Buchanan talking about? The idea that we are no longer living in a united country.  When the settlers first came to the United States, they were mostly seeking the same thing.  They wanted freedom from tyranny, freedom from persecution for their religious beliefs which were different than the Church of England's.  The people were united when the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written.  And the majority remained united by their beliefs, by their goals and ambitions even as more people came to our shores looking for something greater than what they had.  Now where is that unity? I don't see it.  The citizens of our country are so different, so independent, so focused on themselves that there is no unity.  And I fear the freedom this country was founded upon has been so abused that it will one day tear us apart.

American.  That used to mean something.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

February Blog Chain

Today's post is part of the Absolute Write February Blog Chain.  This month's propmt is to write about second chances and can be fiction or non-fiction.  Once again, I am writing a non-fiction piece.  And it's not too mushy, I don't think.  If it is, it's February; Valentine's Day was just the other day.  That means I should be allowed. 

January 10th, 1998.  That was the day my naive, fifteen-year-old heart fell in love with Adam. (name changed for privacy)  Though we had talked on the phone a few times and hung out at a basketball game, it was on January 10th that Adam asked me to be his girlfriend.  I was so excited and was instantly smitten.  My perception of him was that he was a good, Christian, church-going boy.  He was cute.  He loved me.  Nothing else mattered.  But my dad didn't trust him.  And when Adam gave me a promise ring for Valentine's Day just over a month later, my dad was less than thrilled.  But I was in love.  Adam and I often talked of our future together.  We'd graduate high school, go to college, and not be officially engaged until I was at least nineteen.  We referred to my promise ring as a pre-engagement ring, and Adam said he'd get me another ring later.  I have to admit, I was head over heels for this guy.  "All My Life" by K-Ci & JoJo was one of our songs.  We each had the CD, and we would listen to them while talking on the phone.  Yes, I mean them.  I'd put mine in my CD player, he'd put his in, and we'd hit play at the same time so the songs were synchronized.  Though we got along great, our families were less enthusiastic.  As I said, my dad didn't trust him.  And his family wasn't fond of me, either, though I never knew why.  The months flew by until summer came.  My parents were divorced, and I always spent six weeks of my vacation with my mom.  Adam was fine with me leaving, but I decided to go for only four instead of six.  I just couldn't be away from him that long! And then he blindsided me.  One week into my vacation, I felt like something was wrong.  Two weeks in, I couldn't get a hold of him.  Then he finally called me on July 6th.  My absence made him realize he didn't love me anymore.  I bawled.  And bawled.  And bawled some more.  And when I came home two weeks after that, he had a new girlfriend and took the ring back.  Our break-up set into a motion a string of events which I won't list here because it would take too long.  Suffice it to say, by March of my senior year in high school, I thought I would never find anyone to love me.  And that might sound pathetic, but give a girl a break!

My second chance came on March 18th of 2000.  That's when I met Nate.  We hung out with some friends that night.  He officially asked me to be his girlfriend the following evening.  One month in, he told me he loved me.  But I'd been burned before.  I told him he hadn't known me long enough to tell me that.  But when he said it again after another month had gone by, I was able to say the same to him.  He proposed on September 3rd (his birthday!), and we got married just over a year later on September 19, 2001.  We've been together for almost twelve years, married for a decade! And unlike my relationship with Adam, this love is real.

Check out this month's other participants by clicking on the links below.  Enjoy!
orion mk3
Ralph Pines
writingismypassion (you are here)
more to come, check back soon...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Your Life Is Not Your Own

Our church recently lost a wonderful lady due to a heart attack.  She was a Sunday School teacher and a bus driver.  In fact, she was driving the bus when she had the heart attack.  Thankfully, she was able to get the bus off the road and no kids were seriously injured.  Her death was a shock to everyone.  Though we believe she is celebrating with Jesus, her loss is still sad.

When faced with death, I can't help but think about our illusion of control.  We often live our lives as if we are in charge.  We do what we want when we want.  And we might even live a cautious life.  But we can't escape death.  We don't plan it.  It just happens, unexpectedly most the time.  For instance, we can be the best driver on the road, but that doesn't protect us from bad drivers.  Even though we think we can control our lives, we can't control everything around us.  We can't control tornadoes or fires or earthquakes or hurricanes.

Several years ago I drove past the scene of an accident, and there was a tarp covering the front of one of the vehicles.  For those of you that don't know, a tarp means there's a body to be shielded from viewers.  Some one died that day.  And I was struck with what must have been going through that person's mind.  Was it just another day of running errands? Were they traveling? Did they wake up that day knowing it would be their last? Of course not.  In a matter of seconds, their life ended.  And I think about a girl from my hometown who was having routine shoulder surgery; she didn't live through it.  And the kid who was playing basketball with his buddies, and his heart just gave out; he collapsed and died almost instantly.  Then there's the guy who was driving down the road I live on.  He struck another vehicle and died immediately.  More than a year later, I still think about him when I drive past where he died.  All these people were just going about their day, doing nothing unusual.  And their lives ended, just like that. 

All this is just a reminder of one simple fact: our lives are not our own.  We are not in charge. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Love For Reading

I'm not sure if this makes me unusual or not, but I don't remember learning how to read.  I don't recall if my parents ever read to me as a child, either.  As a kid I mostly enjoyed playing with ponies, barbies, play doh, and I loved to draw.  That was how I occupied my time when inside.  Outside I was all tom-boy.  Climbing trees, splashing in the creek, sitting in the dirt, riding my bike.  And though I have a few vague memories of reading Peter Rabbit and some book about kittens, I don't think I developed a true love of reading until fifth grade.

Before junior high I was checking out four books a day from the library (library policy wouldn't allow me to get more than that at the time).  I'd read them all and exchange them the next day for more.  Some of my favorites were the Babysitters Club series and the Fear Street series.  Goosebumps were okay, but they weren't a favorite.  And then I read Gone With the Wind in eighth grade.  That book is still one of my all time favorites.  And I think that was the first time I was really pulled into the story as if I was there.  As a side note, I was upset for days after reading that.  I couldn't believe the ending! I was so mad at Scarlett!

A love for westerns and western/romance came next.  I kept with those two categories for several years, and not until the last couple years have I developed a more eclectic taste.  However, I do have to admit I am still somewhat picky when it comes to what books I will read.  If I don't think I'll love it, more of than not I'll pass it by.  And that's a shame, but it is what it is.  I love reading and I want to love what I read.

My husband thinks I'm crazy, but when I'm reading a book I have a hard time putting it down.  That being the case, I usually have a book done within two days.  I can't help it.  I get drawn in.  I feel what the characters feel; I laugh with them, cry with them.  And yes, sometimes I get upset with the characters as if they are real people.  Last week I read a book, and I was so mad at the main character that I had to keep reading just so I could get to the ending.  Because of the type of book it was, I was confident the character would redeem himself by the last page, which he did.  But I was so angry that I couldn't put the book down half way through; I would have been too angry to sleep! That's just how I am.

So who's with me? Feel free to share your reading experiences.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

This Isn't Winter

A few weeks ago I posted about my "Winter Nightmare."  That ice storm hit exactly a year ago this week, but it's hard to believe.  I'm not sure how the rest of the country is doing.  Here in Illinois, though, I can tell you it's more like spring outside.  We've had a mostly sunny, highs in the 50's week.  Where did winter go? Last year we were abandoning our home for a few days; now I'd like to open the windows to let the fresh air in.  My boss even let me leave work an hour early one day so I could enjoy the rest of the day! I took advantage of it, too.  I walked Tucker and Chip, and then I cleaned up some areas in our yard that I never got to this past fall.  The poor chickens were smoldering so I had to open the windows on the chicken coop.  Poor things.  The heat lamp we use to keep them warm in the winter was unneccessary.

But I'm not complaining.  I'm just hoping we don't get hit hard any time soon.