Dr. Seuss and the First Amendment

This quote has been making its rounds on social media networks. It’s mistakenly believed to be by Dr. Seuss but is correctly attributed to Bernard M. Baruch, a presidential advisor to Franklin Deleno Roosevelt. Bernard said, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” about his dinner party seating arrangements.

In any event, I shared the viral quote myself but added that some of those who mind DO matter when they’re people you work for or with. You absolutely need to watch what you say in public. Freedom of Speech is great, but that doesn’t mean we should throw tact and class out the window. Filtering is a good thing!

Dr. Seuss: Be Who You Are...

The use of tact goes for those who are offended by what someone else says. Whether or not tact was used when the offending  statement or speech was delivered, those speaking in defense should be tactful in their rebuttal. It really is that simple, folks!

Work – More Than Gainful Employment

There’s a time for rest and doing things that we find pleasurable or bring us joy. There’s also a time to work – not just at a place of employment in exchange for money, but in your own homes. A job well done brings  brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction – joy. I am guilty in a huge way of laziness and idleness. Wait. Let me rephrase that. I am guilty in a huge way of physical laziness. My mind is never idle. I have a hyperactive mind! I have great intentions, but I lack the drive get started. I think every task on my list is going to be hard and take a very long time, so I procrastinate … an hour, a day, a week, and so on. Before long, my list of tasks has grown to something beyond overwhelming, and I shut down completely.

Genesis 2:15:

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

The things we are blessed with having cannot care for themselves. Work is required. Man was not meant to be idle. This doesn’t mean we need to be working every waking moment of our days, but work is necessary in life. Even if a person were able to live off the land, cook over a fire, and read by candle light without being gainfully employed, they still work. They hunt/garden, cook, and clean.

Everything we do requires work. Unless you have a servant, getting a glass of water requires walking to the kitchen, getting a glass, perhaps filling it with some ice cubes, and filling it with water.

Blogging is work. It may be harder work for me than for someone else. It has taken me a long time to write just this much. I wrote more but deleted it because it was overkill and headed in too many directions. My mind goes in many directions, and it’s hard not to let my posts run off in all those directions as well. If I wrote the way my mind wanders, everyone would consider me completely bonkers! That may well be, but sometimes I want to make a clear point. I almost deleted the entire post because by this point, I’m feeling like none of this is going to matter much to anyone anyway.

On the off chance it might matter to just one person, I won’t delete it. If only one person can make sense of the madness that comes from my scattered brain, then YAY! :D

Now I must walk away from my greatest distraction (the internet) and work on some things on my list of tasks. I’m talking projects more than simple tasks, though. Procrastination be damned! I need that sense of accomplishment; that satisfaction in a job well done. That’s right! well done. Not just done. I don’t like approaching projects willy nilly and rushing through them just to get them done. I’m sure this is a big reason I see each project as overwhelming.

But I digress. Before I go on and on from there, I bid you adieu. Work awaits.

The Garden of Your Mind

I shared this last on Facebook last night, but I’m sure it fell so far down the news feed that no one will see it today – especially since such a small percentage of people stray from the Home page to visit Timelines (Walls) directly. I found a link to it on a photographer’s blog post. It’s catchy because it’s auto-tuned, but something else about it resonated with me so much that I felt it deserved its own blog post!

Here’s a version that isn’t remixed.

“Did you ever think of the many things that you’ve learned to do since you were a tiny baby?” Think about that! Why do we now go through our days doing the same thing over and over and balk about learning new things?

“You have wonderful ideas. All you have to do is think about them, and they’ll grow.” They really will! The trouble is, as most people would argue, we don’t have TIME to think about them. I’m going to play the BS card on that one. We don’t MAKE time to think about them. If you make time to do things that make you truly happy, bring you joy, then the rough things are easier to endure as well.

Beautiful, Part 1 | Church

Watch this. No, seriously! Watch this!

Don’t be afraid to comment. If you make it through the first 15 minutes, that’s about the point where you might be able to make out someone saying “Dude!” (that would be me). Yes, I said “Dude!” during a sermon at Elevation Church.

That’s what’s kind of cool about this church (besides the fact that the tattooed pastor wears jeans and plaid shirts). You don’t have to sit there all prim & proper. They affectionately call themselves, “the church of the jacked up“.

I still have my issues with the whole faith thing, but there HAS to be something more out there – karma, cosmic energy, fate, or an omnipresent being we call God. There’s still a big part of me that thinks people need so desperately to give fate a name (God) or that they can’t accept that things happen as they are going to happen and leave it at that.

However… there are moments like Sunday that reach out and slap me in the face and make me wonder. I mean really spooky like. That sermon was going to happen whether we were there or not, and it had been planned in advance. We learned something rather sensitive about someone dear to us the day before, and that very thing was touched on in this sermon. I wasn’t even planning on attending until two hours before the service started!

Karma? Fate? Coincidence? Or did this supernatural entity we call God put us there to hear this?

I know exactly why I can’t just let go and believe by faith alone that God exists. I don’t like to be vulnerable. I like to be in control. I don’t want anyone to see me get caught up in something that isn’t grounded – that isn’t hard fact – that doesn’t let ME drive the bus! Honestly, I’m a little jealous of those who are comfortable lifting their hands in worship. This may sound wacky, but to do so exposes armpits, and I am extremely ticklish! To do so exposes more than that, though. It exposes my soul. I’m not comfortable with that.

Choices

Who we are is largely shaped by the choices we make. The beauty of it is that we do make choices. Even when nothing is chosen, we have made a choice not to choose! If we choose this instead of that and end up with undesirable consequences, does that mean we made a bad choice? Not necessarily. From such choices comes experience and knowledge. If we choose that instead of this, does that guarantee desirable consequences? Not always! This may work for one, and that may work for another. Perhaps in reverse, the opposite is true! You just never know.

Some readers may choose to assume they know what triggered this thought process. I doubt they’d be right because my mind is a complicated place. I’ll never tell! :)

1/22/12 UPDATE:

After thought … Often times, a person is fully aware of the consequences that may follow a choice they make. Yet, for reasons only they need to understand, they make the choice anyway often causing consternation among observers. So observers, take heart! For it is the chooser’s choice to suffer the consequences and work through whatever they need to work through to get to their ultimate goal. Sometimes it’s beneficial for a path to a goal to be longer. ;)

Agnosticism, Skepticism, Pick an ‘ism’ | Evidence

The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict

This is the fairly large book by Josh McDowell that I found in my closet the other day. I remember buying it years ago when the left side of my brain took over and started looking for proof of many things in the Bible. I was already embarking on other Bible studies and reading the entire Bible cover to cover, though. By the time I finished those, I was satisfied … for a while.

I read “A Case for Christ” and was also satisfied with this historical facts listed in that book. I believe Jesus existed, and he was a good man. What I still struggled with were the supernatural acts of a being that no one could see, hear, or touch, and that this being was Jesus’s father and also Jesus himself. Immaculate conception???

So I picked up “A Case for a Creator” and was overwhelmed because it was a much harder read than the other book. I never finished it and have no idea what happened to either book. So I’m hoping that this Evidence book will fill in some blanks for me.

The series of posts I write while reading this book will be called “Evidence”, and it will be a place where I share my questions, feelings, doubts, answers, and revelations. My first question that I even jotted down right in the book after reading the author’s note in the beginning is this…

Why do people need to rely on something (God, Jesus, etc.) to be a loving, forgiving, generous, unselfish person? It is possible to be all of these things without believing in something you can’t see, touch, or know is real.

Josh (the author) said it himself in his note…

How could something as flimsy as Christianity stand up to an intellectual examination?

This is something very personal, and I know there are a lot of people out there who think you shouldn’t discuss “religion”. I think they’re wrong. You probably shouldn’t push your own beliefs on others, but there’s nothing wrong with discussing religious or spiritual beliefs. So feel free to reply to any post in this series with your thoughts, insight, or questions. {All replies are subject to approval. Any blatant attacks on other comments will not be approved. I invite healthy, civilized discussion only.}

I want to describe where I stand going into this study, but I don’t know how to explain thoroughly enough and still keep it brief or easy to follow. My mind is hyperactive!

OK, so I’ve already mentioned my struggle with the supernatural-ness of it all. My mind wanders to all the cults out there and how people say they’re so bad. People are easily swept into believing all sorts of things that Christians say are false. How do I know Christianity isn’t also a cult? I’m not saying it is! Don’t get your panties in a bunch! I know it’s so much bigger than any other following, but it clearly has many of the same characteristics of what we call cults.

My biggest issue with organized religion is the recitation of creeds in unison to profess our faith. These things are not in the Bible. Why do we have to do this? The Lord’s Prayer is in the Bible. I have no issue reciting that one in unison.

Then there’s the belief that “the Lord will provide”. This is even straight from the Bible, but it’s certainly tossed around by many. How do we know this supernatural being will provide? What if things turn out how they do simply because that’s how they were going to turn out – period? If God knows the number of our days and knows what will happen, then how can prayer change things? Those two things are contradictory. If we change things through prayer, then what God already knew would happen isn’t going to happen that way anymore. Is your head spinning yet? Do you have an answer for that one? Where does this free will come into play if He has already planned our days? Do we have a point A and point B in place but alter that path along the way by our own free will? Is that how it works?

These are just a few of the things I psychoanalyze. How do I know the whole concept of God isn’t purely psychological? The power of suggestion is a just that – a powerful thing! Couldn’t the idea of a Holy Spirit dwelling within us be a powerful psychological suggestion?

To the other extreme, science would have us believe that humans began as an amoeba and slowly evolved over time. They also have said that we evolved from apes. If so, then why are they still in existence? However, if you think about how life develops now from two single cells that join together and create an entire body full of vital organs and an elaborate central nervous system in just nine months, there’s no denying how amazing that is!

I see how happy and content people with strong faith are; how full of joy they are. I want that. I also see how uncomfortable some people are around those who are exuberantly overflowing with their love of Christ. I don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable. Then I see the worst – people who call themselves Christians but turn their backs on people who don’t believe exactly what they believe. I can’t accept that. Love others as you love yourself. Live as Jesus lived. I don’t remember reading anything about Jesus turning his back on anyone. If I’m wrong, please give me chapter and verse so I can look it up.

Now that I’ve laid this all out here, it should be interesting to document what I learn from this book, which is technically not a true book but a compilation of notes prepared for the author’s lecture series, “Christianity: Hoax or History?”

What Exactly is Happiness?

I think it’s a misconception to think that to be happy, you have to be bursting with the emotion with a life full of laughter at every turn. People (and I think especially Americans) are always searching for happiness and often not quite feeling like they’ve found it or can maintain it. Consider Galatians 5:22-26 (Contemporary English Version):

22God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 24And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. 25God’s Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. 26But don’t be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.

Is it not possible to consider happiness found when living this way? Being content in the moment and not always looking for something more can equate to happiness. When we learn to be truly grateful for what we do have, then we can find pure joy in simply being!

I also like this quote from the movie “Eat Pray Love”:

You want to know how to be here?  Stop constantly waiting for something.

I’m content when I’m being creative. Photography, making jewelry, and even writing are all creative outlets for me. I’m content to sit and read. I’m content watching a movie or TV show. I’m content playing old-fashioned board or card games. I’m content walking around and exploring or even just sitting at a park. I’m not a high-energy person, so these things appeal to me but may seem boring to others.

When are you content?

Rejection

It doesn’t mean you’re not loved or appreciated just the way you are!

So why does it hurt so much? When we try for something and don’t get it, it’s not like we lost something we had. A dream was crushed for sure, but our lives will continue on just as they had without that thing we wanted.

My daughter is feeling that type of rejection right now. Something she really wanted at school for next year didn’t happen for her. That protective mother part of me wants to scream, “What’s wrong with you people?!” But the logical part of me is ready with the duct tape to keep that other part quiet. :D

I recently felt the same type of rejection at work. I won’t mention work by name in this post because they’re watching via Google Alerts for anything containing the company names. :P I’ve been there 3.5 years and though I’ve switched job titles within three different departments, I’ve remained on the same pay scale the entire time. It’s possible that I’ve shot myself in the foot by switching around, despite assurances that is not the case. So I tried to bypass that by applying for an opening at a higher level. I was a strong contender (or so I was told), but the position went to someone who had been there almost two years longer than I have. The entire process took about a month, so I had time to get over the initial excitement of the very possibility and resign myself to the fact that it probably wouldn’t happen. That’s a good thing, or that feeling of rejection would have been much greater.

How we look at the situation can make a world of difference. What can we learn from it? Is it possible that it’s better we weren’t chosen? Are there other things we can do because we didn’t have to take on the responsibilities and time zappers associated with that position or opportunity?

For my situation, I know that I could have handled the added responsibilities and wildly varied tasks and daily schedules because that’s how I’m wired. On the other hand, I know that I will be able to remain highly productive right where I am. Maybe I am meant to be just a worker bee forever. By now, I’m very good at that role. I just don’t want to be pigeon-holed. Flattery and praise are nice, but putting it in the paycheck would be more helpful. ;)

For my daughter’s situation, perhaps the time required for what she had wanted so badly but was passed over for will be better used to her advantage elsewhere. I know it’s hard to see it that way immediately after the rejection but, in time, it gets easier to see it in a different light.

We have to be strong in the face of rejection. Keep pushing forward, or it can lead to depression or extreme pessimism. While you don’t have to completely hide your disappointment, remaining positive and keeping a good attitude will show professionalism and may even gain a little extra admiration for such qualities. Of course, a brief period of mourning is certainly in order! :D

Eye for an Eye

I saw a similar bumper sticker this morning…This is Old Testament law…

23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. ~Ex. 21:23-25

The New Testament says…

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. ~Mt. 5:38-39

Not only physically and verbally, but also in spirit. If someone or something frustrates us, we shouldn’t fly off the handle about it or get defensive. Many things are inconvenient in life, and we just have to deal with it. It’s usually not worth getting all worked up over every little thing that doesn’t go our way – or the way we think they should go, or how fast we think they should go.

A Shield Between Us and Our True Selves

Quote from Learning to Fall; The Blessings of an Imperfect Life by Philip Simmons

“Sometimes it’s our very busyness that gets in the way of such a choice [choosing God]. Too often we anesthetize ourselves by setting up our lists and ambitions and accomplishments as a shield between us and our true selves. We strap ourselves into our carefully constructed identities for fear of letting go into the pain and wonder that awaits just the other side of our precious reserve. In a culture that recognizes busyness as the mark of importance and worth, it’s so easy to use our public identities–as professionals, as caretakers and volunteers, as overworked parents–to avoid all that’s troubling, complex, and mysterious in the world around us.”