What Are We Worth?

As the clock approaches midnight, I’m choosing to write this blog instead of crying. It remains to be seen whether it will plug up or stimulate the tear ducts. I suppose it could be considered a follow-up to the last one but I am so close to bursting into tears right now that I need to do this.

I have a bad habit of posting a political article that I find interesting and informative and then immediately regretting it or getting one upsetting comment that causes me to take it down. Either way, some people have seen it. Why should I care? We all have our opinions, right? And we are entitled to them because it is our constitutional right, right? Not quite. That piece has become so diluted that the political landscape looks like Moses parting the Red Sea.

I have heard people jokingly say that the internet is the work of the devil. I laughed, like everyone else did, but I’m beginning to wonder. Oh, it has been lots of fun, has helped businesses grow, keeps us all in touch with people from lifetimes past, and gives us all a space to brag about our families, pets, and even our gardens. Guilty on all three. All good stuff, but it is also a hotbed for criminals, pedophiles, pornography, etc.

Currently it is causing chaos and division in a way I have never seen before in my life, and I am no spring chicken. Not only do we have unsavory politicians and journalists in colors of red or blue, now we have a venue for them to spew their hate, deceit, and lies, creating chaos in people’s lives. Before the internet, people would discuss politics at the bar, at the barber shop, at family gatherings, even on street corners, and there were always debates, but as far as I know, politics did not cause the degree of hated that it now is causing. We can all still have fun and socialize on Facebook, but now there is an evil imbedded in the code that is seeping into every little space and fracturing lives and friendships, indelibly defining who we are with each stroke of our keyboards.

What makes me so sad is that, currently, we are not only defined by the things we choose to share with people, but by which politician or political party we choose to support. Even though lies and deception are rampant on both sides of the political coin, people only choose to believe what they want to believe, those on the other side be damned. There are so many nooks and crannies in the muffins we get served on a daily basis through biased media that we can’t even tell on which side the muffins are buttered. And is it real butter, or fake butter? The manufacturers have churned the products to be so smooth that you just never can tell. And that’s exactly what they want. Unfortunately, many people don’t believe that or want to believe it of their chosen leader of the free world.

I decided a long time ago that I would not be voting for “the man” but for the party that most closely aligns with my belief system. Curiously, it seems like one side will be voting for “the man” because they passionately despise the other one, and one side will be voting for the passionately despised “man” because they passionately despise the agenda of the other party, and ne’er the twain shall meet. That would be fine, in itself, except that people are tethered to one side, passionately hating the other, and there is little room for civil discourse. Passionately. Yes, I’m aware that I have overused the word, and have done so intentionally, because that is the only word that can nicely describe the emotions that have created the thick, immobile pollution of hate hanging heavily in the air we breathe, and that infiltrates the very depths of our hearts and souls. Emotions are expressed in words that jump nimbly onto our computer screens from keyboards.

What are we worth as people? We used to choose our friends because of similar interests, mutual friends, their children’s parents, etc. Our worth was measured by solid friendships, loyalty, shared backgrounds, willingness to help when in need, compassion, talents, character, and love. Those values are no longer important because now all of those things have been condensed into one angry category: who you will vote for. This measure of worth as a friend is decidedly unfair for several reasons, the most important being that we only have two choices. What if we believe half of what one side espouses and half of the other side? We have to choose one, even if we may not be happy with parts of their agenda, because we only have two choices.

Our value as friends and as people should never, ever be attached to a faction, (i.e, a party), that is divisible from the whole. Some of us are not red or blue, but varying shades of that purple I talked about in my previous post, but we don’t have purple as a choice, only dark red or dark blue. And yet, people on both sides continue to blame, chastise, name-call, and insult each other, even friends, because they are positive that they are totally right and the rest are totally wrong, and that is almost never true. Even in divorces, the scales may be tipped more to one side than the other, but because no one is perfect, the “blame” must be shared.

I’m not perfect, either. I admit to some of these bad thoughts, myself, and I know that. I continue to try to change those, but friends, it is not easy right now. I will try harder. Again. And again, until the discontent and confusion is wiped completely from my heart. (The devil loves discontent and confusion, too.) Everyone should be acknowledged and respected for their views, not called stupid or ignorant, or any of the other words I see flying around incessantly. I know a lot of very intelligent and caring people on both sides. No one corners the market on that.

Can we all please just take a few steps back and take a deep breath. Let’s get rid of the pollution and breathe fresh air into our lungs, our hearts, and our souls. Someone will win, and someone will lose. Life will go on, but if we burn bridges now with the people that matter to us, and even the ones that might matter a little less, they may impossible to reconstruct. And for what?

I Want Purple Koolaide

My heart is really heavy. It makes me so sad to see all the name-calling and denouncing of people on Facebook just because of their political leanings. Everyone is drinking the Koolaid. The people on the left are drinking blue Koolaid and the people on the right are drinking red Koolaid. What if I like purple Koolaide? We need a third party, a purple party. Right now we only have two choices: vote for the party (not the man) that most aligns with our beliefs, or don’t vote at all. I know “the man” will be the one at the top, but if we can’t believe in the other party, then what choice to we have? Frankly, not voting at all is looking more appealing to me all the time. That way I won’t have to claim responsibility for putting either one of them in office, and then I’ll let all my friends know, too, so they don’t hate me, anymore.

The danger to not voting at all is that it gives an advantage to the party (not the man) that does not align with your beliefs. Remember that the Senate and Congress are there, too, supposedly to help guide a president, executive priviledge notwithstanding. Lies and misinformation are rampant on both sides, and if anyone doesn’t believe that then they need to open up their eyes. Does what we find important to us make us bad people if it’s not what another person believes? Is all this worth losing friends over?

I feel like crying when I see all the hate directed at people, even those who used to be friends. Is it worth it? Is your party affiliation worth losing friends over? If it is, then I guess you weren’t really friends at all, because mature adults should be able to see past political affiliations to who people are inside. And don’t say that who we vote for shows who we really are because that is total BS. It’s only one part of our whole as people. People look at things differently but it doesn’t make one wrong and the other right, just different. And it doesn’t mean that someone believes in ALL of the points on a given side, it’s just that we have only two choices, and if they are both crappy, then does that mean we all have to hate each other? It’s not our fault this huge country cannot come up with better people to run for president.

I have friends that I disagree with and I still love them. Part of that is because I have always loved them and refuse to let this change that, part is because I can see their side of the arguments, too, part is because we might not discuss it, and part is because they still love me. (I hope!) I want our hearts to go back to the days before COVID 19 and this awful, awful election. I want our hearts to see what we liked about our friends before all this, and if we can’t do that, then I guess we were never friends to begin with.

It’s Here!!

It’s Finally Here! Get It While It’s Hot and don’t forget that October is DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH. The Prettiest House On The Block: A Revealing Story Of Domestic Partner Abuse is now on the market! Please share this post even if you don’t want to buy this book, yourself. Crisis shelters are overflowing and the number of phone calls to crisis centers is overwhelming, another sad result of COVID 19. Victims need help now more than ever. I’m not opposed to making money but I would much rather make a DIFFERENCE.

https://www.amazon.com/Prettiest-House-Block-Revealing-Domestic-ebook/dp/B08DQZ4N9K/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+prettiest+house+on+the+block+book&qid=1598935375&s=financial&sr=1-1

We Can’t Be Held Accountable For the Sins of our Fathers

Is anyone else sick and tired of the partisan BS going on in our country? Nothing but hate, mistrust, lies, and deceit everywhere. This is not the country I grew up in, and although I still love her and will stand by her always, I’m saddened by what is going on.

That being said, and lest one thinks I am trying to discredit Kamala Harris, I want to asuure you that I am not, regardless of how I may or may not feel about her as a vice-presidential candidate. This information is less important to me as an observor of the 2020 election as it is to assert a strong belief that no one is responsible for their families owning slaves so many years ago, even politicians. Especially politicians. Kamala Harris cannot be held responsible for her ancestors’ actions any more than any other individual of any color in this country should be held responsible for the actions of theirs. However, the fact that she has been chosen as a vice-presidential running mate should give everyone pause to consider who is (or is not, as the case may be) supporting all of the violence directed towards innocent people because of their ancestors’ heritage as slave owners. Is there any irony to be inferred here or not? If this is a valid argument for all the hate in this country, then it would stand to reason that voters should reject her as one of the leaders of their country, but will they? If they don’t, then this argument for hatred needs to be archived.

It is indisputable that change needs to be made in reference to current events and inequalities, but constantly bringing up slavery and blaming people who had nothing to do with it is counterproductive to the elusive goal of living in peace. Many times I see or hear things that say “don’t look back because that’s not where you are going. Look ahead.” Certainly, one must look back to a certain degree in order to change long-standing bad habits, but that’s where it must end, in positive change, peacefully. Would you cut all your fingers off to keep you from chewing your fingernails? I didn’t think so. How can you change your habit if you permanently destroy the source of the problem? The habit of chewing fingernails may be solved, but soon you will be chewing on your fingers, and so on. You can’t change the bad habits of people through antagonism. You can destroy them but then it will only cause more problems and pain in the future. They just get more angry, and the hate continues. Do you see where I am going here? Our ancestors’ evils must stop being pounded into everyone with a battering ram. It’s making things worse, not better.

What this country needs to do is put it to rest. (No matter who wins the election, since, of course, everything is political.) Put it to rest and move on with real change in mind, based on what’s going on today, not 100 years ago. I know some may say that the violence IS because of what is going on today. Partly true and partly BS. Rioters should not use that as an excuse to unleash their monstrous sides on innocent people, and that’s what I believe much of the “protesting” is, at this point. I wonder how many of them even remember why there are out there destroying lives? We must stop the violence now, in any way we can, if we can ever expect to develop some sense of peace again. https://greatgameindia.com/kamala-harris-slave-owner/

September 1st is Almost Here!

I am not fond of getting my picture or video taken and even less fond of having to do one, myself, but apparently this is the way to go for marketing. After much nailbiting and cajoling myself, I finally did it. My husband shot it after about, um, I have no idea how many times, and this is best I have to offer! I do hope you will take at look at my book, The Prettiest House on the Block, on September 1st. You never know who you might help.

And the Dream is Realized!

I. Am. Pumped! The pre-sales of “The Prettiest House on the Block” have started! It is on Kindle at the link below. Paperback comes out Sept 1st. If you purchase this, please leave a review on Amazon and/or barnesandnoble.com. Let the games begin!!https://www.amazon.com/Prettiest-House-Block-Revealing-Domestic-ebook/dp/B08DQZ4N9K/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+prettiest+house+on+the+block&qid=1595961087&sr=8-1

Bloomin’ Thought for the Day: Benefits of Patience

Isaiah 40:31 (New King James) – “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles; They shall run and not be weary; They shall walk and not faint.”

Yesterday, as I was walking down my sidewalk, my eye caught a smidgen of white color. There, on my previously-bare gardenia bush, were two flowers. I had all but given up on this plant, but I kept after it with plant food, water, and a few coffee grounds, and there they were, the stunning white flowers of the gardenia. I didn’t catch their intoxicating fragrance because the bush is still fairly low to the ground, and it’s a bit of a chore for me to bend down and stay there long enough to drink in the blossoms’ heavenly scent, but I thought to myself, “This was worth the wait!” Patience has not always been one of my strong points, but my delicate gardenia flowers reminded me of the value of patience, and of a song I used to sing with the contemporary music band in church, “Everlasting God.” I love that song, and its words came to mind as I gazed at the fruits of my patience: “Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, as we wait upon the Lord, as we wait upon the Lord.”

Many times in my life I have prayed to God for strength, for patience, and for the wisdom to accept whatever His will is for my life, even if it is different than my will. The funny thing about prayer is that it isn’t always answered in our own time frames or within the limits of our meager human understanding. We live in a microwave world, expecting instant results when we put our requests into God’s hands, but it doesn’t work that way. I was like that at one time, impatient for my prayers to be answered and sometimes indignant when they weren’t, but looking back on all my prayers, I can see that they have been answered. Those answers didn’t come from a burning bush, they weren’t always what I asked for, and they certainly were not always in my time frame, but they were answered. Some of God’s decisions I have yet to understand, but I have enough years on me by now to believe that those He made for me or for the recipients of my intercessory prayer were for the best, regardless of what I thought would have been better.

Prayers are answered if you wait on the Lord; you just might have to dig a little deeper into the puzzle of His will to figure it all out, or to accept His answers if they weren’t satisfactory to you. Keep your eyes, ears hearts, and minds open to God’s voice. Your strength will rise as you wait upon Him, and you will be raised up on the wings of eagles. Great will be your reward if you place your trust in Him.

Bloomin’ Thought for the Day: Love One Another

John 12: 34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

When I was planning my new rose garden, I chose 5 roses, each with a different color. I’m not a vanilla kind of gal; I need a variety of flavors in my life. I think that’s why I worked in Emergency Rooms for the majority of my nursing career. We never knew what was coming in, so we had to be on high alert through the whole shift. I enjoyed the challenges each new day presented, and the knowledge I acquired from them. There was always something new to learn.

I’m feeling a bit frustrated right now, though, because the challenges that are smacking me in the head are those that we are all facing, not just nurses and doctors. We are all trying to discern ways to deal with COVID 19. This is something that none of us have ever experienced, and one that seemingly has no end.

There is a larger problem, however, that also seems unlikely to end any time soon. The racial tensions in America are at the highest levels I think anyone has ever seen, and I can’t help but think we are making matters worse instead of better. Hate is spilling over the top from both sides, racial and political, and the chasm between them seems to be growing deeper.  As a child, I never felt any fear or animosity against anyone unless they hurt me, and even then, by the next day the transgression was forgotten. I still give people who hurt me multiple chances at reconciliation.

Now, though, I struggle to understand, or make sense out of, the violence that is poisoning our lives. I’m angry seeing innocent people being harmed or killed or businesses destroyed. So many people have tried to explain that this is in response to many years of persecution that African Americans have endured. As much as I do understand that, no one can convince me that violence is the answer, especially since I believe that the residual riots have little to nothing to do with the initial trigger. Changes need to be made for sure, but it will take time, and we have to be patient. I must believe that peace will come. I don’t know when or how, and the resolution may be painful, but I can’t imagine we can sustain ourselves as a nation with all this hate and anger.

As I was enjoying my rose garden today, I was struck by the fact that, of the seven rose bushes I planted, all are either already beautiful, or showing healthy growth, but one: my Peace Rose. Granted, I planted it later than the rest, but it’s not even showing even tiny signs of growth yet.  I placed it right in the middle of the multicolored roses. As I contemplated the question of whether my Peace Rose will grow or not it, I became sad. Isn’t it a bit like the turmoil of today? Different colors on both sides of the virtual battlefields, and peace hasn’t yet begun to grow.

Just as African Americans are trying to achieve recognition and reparations in the world, God is also at work trying to do the same thing. I believe He is pleading with us to turn our attention to Him and to His sovereign words, the most important of which is love. If we would all do that, “red and yellow, black and white”, and remember that we are all “precious in His sight”, this world might stand a chance at survival. “Jesus loves the little children of the world”, and adults, too, and He charges us to do the same.

Bloomin Thought for the Day: Share your Beauty

Matthew 5:14-16 – (14) “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (16) In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

Wow. I was on a roll there for a while with my “Bloomin’ Thought for the Day” posts, but then the wheel got stuck along the wayside, and I stopped writing them. Today I was inspired by my gardens to start again.

I have two Midnight Marvel Hibiscus plants that I bought about 2 years ago. At the time, we had recently moved into a new home with dry, red-clay soil that is tough to dig in. Because it was a new house, there were no gardens other than the few bushes the builders stick in the ground for new homes, and I wanted flower gardens. I saw some old whiskey half-barrels in a store and decided to use those to start my gardens. Not only did they serve to make an above ground home for flowers, they look fantastic and were a creative way to have plants in a unique garden setting.

I had my two hibiscus in a part sun/part shade area in the barrels in front of a crepe myrtle, and they were beautiful but were kind of hidden away and not getting enough sun. I liked the way they looked in the barrels, though, and was afraid to try to get them out to transplant them into the ground. Instead, I chose two spots in full sun and loosened up the ground. My husband lugged the heavy plants over to their new homes, gently laid them on their sides, removed the bottoms, and set them on top of the loosened soil so the roots could spread out.

When a plant gets potbound and is not allowed to stretch out its roots as it needs to, it will either die or require constant watering because there is no more soil; it’s all root. It becomes cramped in there and gets no more of the nutrients it received from the soil. After they were moved, I watched them carefully because the bottom leaves started getting yellow and dropping, and the upper leaves were so weepy and sad-looking. But once they got over the shock of moving them to a sunnier spot, they started to thrive and are magificent specimens to showcase in my garden. Huge, deep red flowers atop beautiful deep green leaves make these plants showstoppers that should never be hidden away in the shade.

People are like that, too. All through life, young to old, we should not hide our beauty or talents away. We all have something to offer the world, so don’t keep yourself potbound in the shade. Break out of your confining space and let the world see the good in you. Spread your branches to the sun and grow. Share your knowledge, your talents, and your faith anywhere and everywhere you can. Don’t hide your light, let it shine! You may never know how many lives you will touch and change just by sharing you.

Are You Proud To Be An American?

I’m news-saturated, sadness-saturated, and hopelessness-saturated for our beautiful country. I had adopted a new mantra for my Facebook posts: family, flowers, and furry dogs. That’s mostly all I have been posting about, and I’ve been happier not thinking about what’s going on in our country and the world, but is that what we should do, really, just sit back and let the chips fall where they may? I don’t think so. So here I go, sticking my neck out…..again…..saying what I think, and inviting a firestorm of angry responses, but I’m tired of not being able to exert MY first Amendment rights because it might collide with others. We ALL have a right to our opinions and to express how we feel about politics, religion, or whatever we wish. Our beautiful flag guarantees that, at least for now.

When did all this hatred for America start? I don’t know, but one incident sticks out in my mind as the springboard, or at the very least, validation, for negative feelings. Before the 2008 Wisconsin primary elections, Michelle Obama stated that “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” What? A Princeton-educated, successful, prominent black woman who has overcome the obstacle of her race saying she has never been proud of her country? Why, because she was not given the opportunity for advancement? Certainly not that. Because Barack was ahead in the primaries and was about to be our first black president? Probably. That one declaration of hers bothered me then and bothers me to this day. We should be proud of America, warts and all, because it is still the finest country in the world in which to live. Warts can be removed, and ARE being removed, but change takes time.

I have been learning a lot about why the African American population so despises the Confederacy and everything it stands for, and why they want monuments removed that celebrate those who acted against them. Everyone should learn about that. The more I read, the more enlightened, and horrified, I become, but look how far our country has come in terms of righting those wrongs? Seriously, consider that. It’s still not perfect, by far, but look how far we have come.

Has anyone had a rebellious child? What makes you angrier at them: more rebellion? Do you want to give in to them the more they act out, or do you want to pull back even more on the reins? Does it make you like them more or make you want to stop them more? Has anyone stopped to think that maybe that’s what is happening today? If militant protestors with their overwhelming demands for immediate change think they are improving race relations, they aren’t. They are making race relations worse. We absolutely should not be cow-towing to unreasonable demands for immediacy of change.

Educate us: yes. Request that monuments be removed: OK. Police reform: definitely, but not defunding. We still need the police. How about teaching our children not to put themselves in a position where police officers must make split second decisions while handling volatile situations, too? Oh, I know, and understand, that profiling is, unfortunately, still occurring, and that must stop. I also understand that African Americans are sometimes treated poorly without cause, and that is wrong, and must stop. But maybe we can work together on this. We need to teach the police to stop profiling and treating people of color roughly, and parents (of ALL races), need to teach their children respect for authority and right from wrong. Keep them off the streets and away from gangs. Teach them it’s wrong to steal and to kill. Have them get involved in church, or in volunteering to help others. This sounds very simplistic, and I know it isn’t. There are innumerable factors that affect accomplishing these goals, but isn’t it worth a try?

We must stop this violence in America. Some of these demonstrators are not even African Americans and/or have forgotten what they are representing; they just want an excuse to riot, destroy and loot. George who? Some are paid protestors like paid mourners at a funeral, waiting for a death to get a paycheck. GET THEM OFF THE STREETS and let’s go about the business of REAL reconciliation with each other. These people have hijacked the BLM movement and diluted its importance. They are no longer relevant, just thorns in everyone’s sides.

Look at the good things our politicians are doing for our country and not just the bad. Stop the hate and work together for the common good. (Huh, that sounds exactly like the theme of one of my children’s books, “The Town of Alpaca”. This was not a planned promo for my book, it just fit the conversation.)  Our economy was going strong until the pandemic. Contrary to what people think, President Trump is not the reason for the condition of our country regarding COVID 19.  Sure, you hear about how he could have done better, from the other side, and some dislike his lack of attention to face masks, me included, but I’m not convinced anyone could do any better. Don’t get me wrong, I dislike his arrogance and narcissistic personality, but, unfortunately, this is what you will get with Joe Biden, too. They both have personality issues and skeletons in their closets.  If you don’t believe this, open your eyes.

I would not want to be a lawmaker in these times, either the president or governor of states, trying to keep the tenuous balance between keeping our people safe and saving our economy. As a medical person, I lean toward the cautionary approach and will always endorse masks and social distancing, but as a citizen, I understand the concern about keeping the economy open. It’s a catch 22 situation, and no matter what decision any lawmaker makes, it will be wrong in some eyes, most probably along party lines, since that’s all our people know how to do, anymore, it seems.  I’m not sure that any president, regardless of his or her party, would ever know for sure what is right to do unless they had a crystal ball. Hindsight is 20/20.

I do know one thing: I don’t want socialism in our free and strong country, and I will vote against anyone who represents that, regardless of party or how much I may or may not like them as a person. Whether you want to believe this or not, it is the truth: socialism is the next step toward communism, and it’s coming to America. Think about it for a while.

Give our lawmakers and our country a break and stop your darn protesting about everything in the world. I don’t think it is helping; it’s just further dividing our states and our country. To sum it up, suck it up, everyone who hates America. She is strong. Don’t weaken her with constant irritations and militant behavior. Give her a chance to grow again, but with baby steps. The White House does not have a societal microwave oven that can provide instant food for your every want and need. Sit tight and let our elected officials do their jobs. GOD BLESS AMERICA. Let’s keep her the land of the free and the home of the brave.