30 is the new 30

It’s the dawn of a new decade, you know that big milestone birthday you hit every tenth year. Media tells you that 50 is the new 40, 40 is the new 30, and so on. It’s bull. A lie. False. A scam. 30 is still 30 and 40 is still 40. It’s all in the embrace. A birthday is a gift and not a promise, let us not waste them holed up in bed eating rocky road and bawling our eyes out because we are aging.
I’m gearing up to hit that 30 year milestone and I can tell you I’ve had some rollercoaster thoughts on it. One day it’s just part of life and I’m ready to accept the change. Five minutes from that I’m almost at the tattoo parlor trying to live it up before things go downhill. Okay so I’m not that crazy but you get the idea. In light of recent events I’ve witnessed among friends and coworkers I found myself utterly petty and sad for worrying about such a ridiculous thing.
Instead of worrying, fretting, and running towards that tattoo parlor (like that would ever happen) I will embrace something to accomplish before thanking God for the opportunity to hit that milestone. Albeit, small and insignificant, it is something out of my comfort zone along with something I’ve always wanted to learn. So, cheers to a 5k (how far is that anyway?) and hello guitar lessons!
Feel 30 when you’re 30 and 40 when you’re 40 and seize the opportunity for something new. Volunteer, sky dive, dye your hair, take an art class, get a tattoo, or visit the Opry. Life’s a big deal and milestone birthdays are even bigger. Put on your big girl panties and enjoy it.

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Gender Gap

Statistics show that since women have been given the right to vote that they tend to lean more Democratic and also more toward the incumbent. When the incumbent is a Republican, the Gender Gap becomes narrower. When the incumbent is a Democrat, coupled with more female democrats, the Gender Gap is much broader. This is not to say every woman votes this way, it’s just the trend. I do my research and even felt bad yesterday that I did not make an informed choice on the water commissioners because I missed that portion on my sample ballot, meaning I did not do any research on the candidates.
Women’s rights were a dominating force in this election. One thing is for certain, women made their voices heard. I will not speak for all women because we do not all think and vote the same way. Trends show more women lean democratic than republican but plenty of women are conservatives, I know quite a few.
Clearly last night indicated that choice, equal pay, and healthcare were not something women were going to back down on. Florida voted down an abortion law while Richard Mourdock and Todd Aiken, both outspoken against abortion, lost in their respective races. Looks like most women believe they can make their own choices when it comes to their bodies.
President Obama’s first bill signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Governor Romney refused to say whether or not he supported this bill. Excuse me for wanting equal pay for equal work. I wasn’t aware that was such a tough decision to make. Why this is still an issue is beyond me but I suppose suppressing women inflates some egos. To each their own, it’s your view and you should own it.
I support healthcare. Obama eliminated the lifetime cap on treatment. We are not on Medicare or Medicaid of any type. The money for my family’s healthcare comes out of my paycheck every month so forgive me for enjoying one less medical bill I pay out of pocket. I support Planned Parenthood. It’s my view. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I take contraceptives. Not many people know but I apparently need to be blunt about the fact that I had a life threatening birth so forgive me if I don’t want to experience that again. It doesn’t mean I’ll rush out to get an abortion, but that I have a choice if my life depends on it. If God intended for all of us to have children he would have created us to that way. Yes, children are his miracles but I don’t believe that means all women were intended to experience it, whether it is once or multiple times. The fact of the matter is that the Bible was written by men. It is their account of what their experiences were with our Lord. Like anything written by humans, it is flawed. I consider myself a Christian woman of Faith but I am also a realist. Realizing the Bible has been through years and years of translations and versions, I believe it is a guide, not fact. So, while I believe it is the right path for some to “be fruitful and multiply,” I do not believe it everyone’s path.
Statistics are showing that women are still making it very clear that they want equal rights and are not okay with sitting in a binder on a shelf. This isn’t about gender roles, it’s about equality. The Gender Gap speaks volumes.

Can you hear me now?

I am a woman. I have a voice. It may be different from yours, but it is neither better nor less than yours. Don’t just agree or disagree but listen. I don’t need justification from anyone. I vote. Period.

As a little girl I spent an enormous amount of time with my paternal grandparents. On more than one occasion my grandmother would take me to the local campaign headquarters where she volunteered but it was only because I was under her watch, not once did she ever try to influence my path of political beliefs. Her gift to me on my 18th birthday was taking me to register to vote. Her words of wisdom were simply to make my own choices and become informed. I did and still do. She wasn’t the only one to teach me that, but my parents and grandfather instilled it in me as well. There is a variety of political beliefs in my family and I contribute that to the fact that we were encouraged to do our own digging and not rely on someone else’s opinion.

Fox News will give you the Conservative spin while MSNBC will give you the liberal spin. You cannot simply rely on either to give you the facts. For me, I use a variety of sites like factcheck.org, politifact.com, and by going to the government websites to read the actual document myself. No matter what state you’re in, they give you the entire amendment being voted on to read, either online or by request.  Websites like breitbart.com and michaelmoore.com only give you opinions. They are skewed and flawed and facts are completely warped to fit their personal agendas.

Stop labeling yourself and simply create your own ideas and own them. Fancy rhetoric and other people’s opinions won’t influence me. Encourage people to get involved and use their voice but don’t try to influence it.

I choose to use my voice as a woman because that is who I am. I am a wife and that voice will reflect in my vote as well but that does not mean my husband makes that choice for me. I am also a mother and that voice will now reflect my daughter until she has the ability to choose her own path. So, I must choose wisely and intelligently. Voting is the most powerful megaphone you can use so I encourage you to use your voice however you so choose but I ask that you use it by educating yourself.

How much is too much?

The other day, Tuesday to be exact, I decided to put down my Facebook for awhile. I didn’t delete it because I do think the idea of it is a good one, I just realized that Facebook makes you become lazy. Who needs to keep in touch anymore, Facebook does it for me. Yes, it’s great to reconnect with old friends and family who may be far away, but do we really connect or just snoop? It has allowed me to show Kaitlyn growing up to people who might normally not get to see it, but at the same time allowing them into her life, possibly so much so that everyone believes that they are entitled to educate us on her. Rightfully so, because I’ve put it out there for all those friends to see, like, and comment on.

Instead of trying to carve out time to spend with those we miss, we simply make up excuses as to why we just cannot come see you and say oh I’ll just watch the video of it that you post on Facebook, or take lots of pictures so you can put them on Facebook so I don’t feel as though I’m missing out on this or that event. From now on, if you want to know what’s going on in my life or what Kaitlyn may be doing, call me or come visit me. If you want a picture, I’ll be happy to mail you one, snail mail style. If you don’t, oh well.

I’ve also realized I spent way too many hours of the day engrossed in the lives of everyone else on there. I certainly don’t check it to see updates on myself so I must look at it so often to see what everyone else is doing. Why? What makes everyone else’s life on Facebook so much more important than what’s right in front of me? My down time could be so much better spent. I haven’t really neglected family time but I have neglected my hobbies.

So, instead of living in the world of Facebook, I’m going to try living in the world again. I will continue to post links to Tommy’s other blog but that will be the extent for the time being. I heard One Foot by Building 429 on the way into work the other morning and thought it fitting for this new beginning.

“Cause I won’t be the man to watch the world pass him by 

 I don’t really know where this road is going 

I don’t really know why this door is open 

Put one foot in front of the other 

that’s how I’m gonna discover 

who you really are when the world is ending   

how you raise the dead to new beginnings 

put one foot in front of the other”  –Building 429

I’m a paradox.

This morning, as is typical with most days, my office has become a place for people to come and vent their issues. I considered putting a sign on the door stating there would now be a fee for venting. After thinking I could have been a therapist and made more money, I really started wondering about my personality and why I make people feel as though they can spill their guts to me. 

I have never been one to read my horoscope or chart my celestial planets or whatever you may call it. However, I am curious about astrological signs and personalities. I know my astrological sign and have read things about it here and there but never gave much thought beyond that. I’m more religious than celestial but I do think the signs are intriguing and have some truth in them. I believe they can work together with religion just as I believe science and religion can work together. That must be the Aquarius in me.

Quite a bit lately I find myself wondering if I’m overly nice to those close to me causing them to turn away or be so cold to those I’m not quite as close to causing them to think I don’t like them or am a stuck up snob.  I promise if I come across cold and unfriendly, I’m not doing so on purpose!

Here’s what I’ve learned about me and what being an Aquarius means to me…

I am very observant and can gather my information objectively because emotions do not get in the way, and seem to be above emotions altogether and when I speak, I speak the truth. Sometimes it may be shocking or painful because of my disregard for the feelings of others, but I intend no harm, and call it like I see it. Sometimes I wonder if there is something in life that I’m missing because I don’t feel like other people feel. I always wonder ‘why?’ so much that I even question my existence. Re-reading my previous posts, I am always questioning things. I tried not to do that with this post and even deleted a few times when I noticed I did. Interesting!

 Aquarius is the sign of visionaries, unconventionality and intellectual independence. I am the person who deviates from the crowd and goes my own way. That’s true, I don’t follow trends and only wear what I think looks good on me. It seems I am always after intellectual stimulation, constantly discovering something new, forming new opinions and stubbornly traveling my way regardless of what other people think. I am filled with paradoxes and am interested in the opposite ends of the spectrum, meaning, I like to be alone yet am a social butterfly. Weird, but mostly true. I like to experience both sides and see both opinions. Aquarius people tend to have a ‘live and let live’ policy where everyone is free to be themselves, an Aquarius never judges others because as human beings, we are all equal and entitled to our own opinions. That explains a lot of my blog posts! I am seen as verbally skilled (though I don’t think so) and observe others to see how they interact. I am definitely an observer. I can deal with any type of personality and adapt to any situation. I welcome change because boredom is my enemy. Apparently, I can act as an expert on any topic and am very good at inflating my own importance and feel it is deserved because my eccentricity makes me unique. I’m not too sure on the expert part but the rest is true, ha! I am known to pick at anyone I find weak or dull-minded. It is simply an easy target for verbal exercise, no harm is meant but it might be taken from the other person. Deep inside, an Aquarius would never intentionally hurt anyone; they have respect for every human, even though this might not seem apparent to the more emotional types. Woah!

Is your astrological sign anything like your personality? I’m curious to know your honest opinion about yourself, not just a sugar coated version of who you think you are. If you know me personally and want an honest opinion about yourself, apparently I’m the right person to ask! =)

Un-label yourself

“What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines, and loved like You did?” – Casting Crowns, Jesus Friend of Sinners.

I love lyrics. They are simplistic and short, yet bold and powerful. In nearly every song that I know and love there is always a particular lyric that pulls me out of my “zone”. Songwriters clearly do not make enough money for their talent. You can always fool people into thinking you are a writer just by changing a few simple words into more complex, sophisticated words simply by using the Thesaurus. When the words don’t have to be rhymed, condensed, or flow with a musical beat it’s easier to mask a lack of true talent. It’s impossible to hide your lack of skills with songwriting. I know because I’ve tried.

My whole point in all this nonsense is that the lyric above captured my attention in a way that no other lyric has done recently. I felt it with a passion somewhere in the depths of my soul that cried out “these are the words you’ve been longing to shout from the hills of Montezuma!”

We have become a country so divided, so unwilling to seek common ground and compromise. It’s become a battle of my view versus your view and neither of us are willing to budge, let alone listen to the other. Maybe it’s time we stop ranting and raving about what our opinions are of how we THINK things should be because that’s what we believe and instead cast aside our own ideas and associated groups and cross the boundary into “enemy” territory and really listen and educate ourselves with the opposing view point. Instead we sling the sword of judgment and sit on our comfortable side sipping our delicious kool-aid and come up with excuse after excuse as to why we just don’t have the time to research your side of the story.

Someone please tell me when it became so wrong to be in the center viewpoint? Because now it seems as though you can no longer be middle of the road without someone telling you that being middle of the road just means you have no opinion. Funny, because I admire those people for the most part; they are generally (not always) able to see both sides of the issue and tend to agree with elements of both, they are our compromisers. But compromising is now viewed as “giving in” and seen as a weakness. Think that’s why the divorce rate is so high now?

You’ve now got the people on the left. How dare you be a God hating, tree hugging, global warming exists, Welfare supporter, high taxer, gun control, anti-military, Obamacare supporting liberal! If you fall in this category you may as well stop showering, live in and off nature, and tattoo a peace symbol on your forehead. This has become your label.

If you’re not on the left you must be on the right. You are a Bible preaching, gay hater, gun toting, no taxing, anti-government, middle class hating, healthcare is a privilege not a right, oppressing the poor conservative! You may as well take your Bible and guns and set up your own old western town with border patrol surrounding it. This has become your label.

Perhaps the lyric is right, maybe it’s time to put down our labels, cross the party lines, and love like He did.

Writer’s note: The song Jesus Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns is an amazing and eye-opening song. I recommend not just hearing it, but truly listening to it.

All you are is mean

I’m in no way, shape, or form a John Mayer fan. I have never listened to his songs nor purchased any of his albums, meaning, I have no opinion on the guy good or bad. I do, however, applaud him for standing up for himself in the most recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

I had heard that Taylor Swift had penned a song that is on her current album Speak Now titled Dear John. Undoubtedly, the song takes aim at John Mayer and their short-lived relationship. I have never heard the song before but I did look up the lyrics. I can see why he’d want to fight back when this is how people will perceive you “Or maybe it’s you and your sick need to give love then take it away.”

 Mayer states in the article that he was “really humiliated” and it “made me feel terrible,” and he goes on to say “I was really caught off-guard, and it really humiliated me at a time when I’d already been dressed down. I mean, how would you feel if, at the lowest you’ve ever been, someone kicked you even lower?” As for why I really applaud Mayer, he sums up exactly what I’ve been trying to point out about Swift all along! “I will say as a songwriter that I think it’s kind of cheap songwriting,” he says. “I know she’s the biggest thing in the world, and I’m not trying to sink anybody’s ship, but I think it’s abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, ‘Wait till he gets a load of this!’ That’s bullshit.”

 Thank you! Finally, someone else sees it! She’s continually praised and applauded for writing songs tearing into real people who have real feelings. She also wrote a song to Joe Jonas back in 2008 tearing into him. He apparently broke up with her in a 27 second phone call. Okay? How long is a break up phone call supposed to last? I’m sorry if the guy dumped you, but cry it out over a pint of rocky road and move on. Being famous isn’t about getting revenge and singing to the world about how people have “wronged” you. It’s about using your platform to help others. Sure, there are songs about break ups and being cheated on and done wrong, but they are generalized songs not directly calling people out. I cannot understand how people continue to condone this type of behavior. She writes a song titled Mean and sings “Someday I’ll be living in a big old city, And all you’re ever gonna be is mean. Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me, And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.” Well, Ms. Swift, I think the only mean one here is you. I would never allow my daughter to listen to this type of music nor would I allow her to think it was okay to treat others that way.

So, kudos to you John Mayer for standing up for yourself and telling people that it’s not okay for someone to publicly humiliate you.