Monday, December 30, 2013

Paint, Blankets, and Trolls

[Update:  I may have said some kind of inflammatory things when I got on a roll last night.  It is NOT my place to be the Facebook and/or Twitter police of other people's children.  My children aren't perfect and I am not a perfect parent. I apologize for being insensitive and judgmental.]

Covering a lot of ground tonight so buckle up and hang on tight! 

I got a wild hair to paint. [For those of you that know me, you know that when I paint I make a HUGE mess.  This time was no exception.]  Emma's been wanting to redo her room.  We bought  a new comforter.  We bought stuff to go on the walls.  We bought stuff for Pinterest crafts.  All we needed was the paint.  

Craig doesn't paint.  He is really good at painting.  [He doesn't make a mess. He doesn't like messes.  I don't know why he married me.]  He hates to paint. I don't mind painting but I hate the before stuff: taping, covering the floor, being neat.  I usually just skip all of that [and it shows...on the floor, the trim, my butt, my fingers, my knees] and this time was no exception.  Thank goodness Emma's carpet was already a plethora of various spills and blue fit nicely.  [I was able to cover a few places with furniture but let's be honest - this is Emma we are talking about...she is me up one side and down the other.]

Paint project number two was our micro-bathroom.  Honestly, with the step stool open I could not turn around.  We choose a bright color with the hopes of making the tiny space appear bigger [I am not sure that was achieved] and my assumption was that I painted Emma's entire room in about 3.5 hours so this itty, bitty lavatory would take me about an hour.  HOLY COW BATMAN!  I am still painting after almost 6 hours in the john.  [I will say that this experience has brought me intimately closer to the toilet than I ever care to be again.]  Its almost as if someone was behind me [and we know that isn't true because the space isn't really big enough to turn around in and forget it if you drop something because you are going to hit your head and/or your backside] and in a very mocking manner, pulling the paint right back off the wall.  The stuff wouldn't cover!! My arm is permanently damaged from painting [not really but I am a weenie and it is sore] and I still have painting to do.  Next time? Won't be a next time.

The same person that was pulling the paint off the walls also followed me around tonight and pulled blankets out and put them on the couch.  Good grief! We could cover the Great Wall of Kings Mountain with all the covers we got here!  We have fuzzy blankets and Tar Heel blankets and Kings Mountain blankets and Christmas blankets and an afghan [that would be one that my sweet Granny chrocheted just for me and not a person from the middle east] and comforters and quilts and OH MY GOSH!!!  We constantly have a blanket out, somewhere,  that is covering up with someone [or Gabe's shoes or my keys] or laying around aimlessly.  We refuse to get cold here at Casa de la Shortie.

What is a troll?

[Not the ugly little things that live under bridges or the ugly little dolls that were popular sometime in the past or the guy you went to the prom with back in 1987] 

A troll (/ˈtrl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional responseor of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

I am DONE with these people that troll Facebook and Twitter, looking for someone they can disagree with about some big news or controversy.  As I've painted [for three hours] tonight, I've thought a lot about a person that just proved to me that they are the biggest troll on Facebook [and no, I'm not friends with them but they seem to find their way onto my news feed by commenting on the status' of folks I do follow that are from different parts of my that whole 6 degrees thing with Kevin Bacon...or just bacon in general] and its got me all on the soap box tonight.

I do not share political views [I am not smart enough for that] but I do not mind sharing the gospel.  I am proud to call myself a Christian but even more proud to stand boldly for my beliefs.   

Ephesians 2:1-7 says, "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us,God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

I stand up for what I believe because I am a sinner who has been saved by grace.  I do not deserve eternal life.  I am not perfect.  I have made numerous mistakes in my life.  I have been on my knees begging for God's forgiveness.  I have to work hard to follow Christ's will for my life because I get in the way.  

I do not agree with a lot of things in this world. I see a world of selfish, indignant, and sinful people [myself included] who have lost all sense of morality.  

Ephesians 4:17-32 gives Christians instructions for living like Christians:
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

As a Christian I am commanded to boldly stand.  There is no fence to straddle my friends. You either stand or you don't.

So why is it when Christians stand, be it on Facebook, or GQ magazine, or in a classroom with others  who are NOT Christians or are "Christians" that only believe certain parts of the Bible, then we are open game for public scrutiny, often degradation, and stupid reminders to "love everyone" and "respect differences" by those that disagree?  

How easy is it to talk out of both sides of your mouth?  

Phil Robertson is asked a question: What, in your mind, is sinful?

He gives HIS response: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

And all of a sudden there is a firestorm from all sorts of folks about Christians and how everything that is said is laced with hate:
  • Christians don't appreciate diversity.  
  • Christians think they are perfect.
  • Christians want everyone to believe what they believe.  
  • Christians think they are better than everyone.
The man was asked a question, he answered it [with a Biblical answer] because this is what HE BELIEVES!!!  And my guess is that he truly doesn't care if you or you or you or you or you or me agrees with him.  He is a Bible believing Christian who quoted scripture. END of DISCUSSION. 

If you don't believe or agree with him then no one cares.  Those of you out there that are not believers [I believe the phrase used on Facecrack today was, "I don't follow Christianity"] that is your business.  

You disagree with Phil?  Good for you.  
You disagree with me?  Good for you. 
You disagree that moon reflects the light of the sun?  Good for you. [You are wrong but good for you.] 
You disagree and say that Josh Hamilton is not the best looking man in baseball?  Good for you. [And you are wrong again.] 

STOP BEING TROLLS!  This guy I am talking about is a troll.  He searches for things to "disagree" with on Facebook [and I am sure in life] because he wants EVERYONE to know he isn't a Christian.  We get it.  

Good for you.  

That is a choice you make.  Do I agree with you?  Doesn't matter.  It's your life and because of God, you have free will.  Choose away my friend.  Try to disparage every single thing about the Bible if you want and post it all over Facebook, the side of your house, and the moon for all I care. 

Your opinion of Christianity does not change who I am and what I believe.  

You have EVERY right to stand BOLDLY with whomever you choose to stand with and every right to stand up for what you believe.  No one is telling you not to do that...BECAUSE FRANKLY, WE DON'T CARE!

That is what kills me about this whole situation.  The folks that disagree with Phil Robertson want those of us that agree to change our minds.  They certainly do not want to hear any of that Bible stuff or our beliefs but want to shout it from the rooftops and write it in every status update and tweet:
  • "Just respect diversity." Okay.
  • "Just respect my right to choose whom I want to marry." Okay.
  • "Just respect equality." Okay
  • "Just respect me." Okay.
[I am on a roll...this feels good...]

It is easy to clang loudly, like a cymbal, because you want others to simply acknowledge YOU. Anybody can do that.  I am guilty of that myself.  

So many out there that disagree want us [Chrisitans] to embrace diversity? You want us to love everyone and respect differences but you are not willing to do the same?  You want us to stop sharing the gospel because it offends you.

It is super easy to talk out of both sides of your mouth.

Christians are not welcomed to share beliefs.  

Anyone else?  You are fine.  

Attach "as a Christian" to it and you will instigate a firestorm so be ready. 

By the way, to the Facebook troll that says he doesn't "believe the Bible to a T", I know how the story will end.  

We win.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Can I Just Become a Hobo?

I have put off writing this post for a few months...not because there is anything catastrophic about what I am going to write but mostly because I feel like I've failed. [I ain't fishin' for your compliments just bein' totally honest.]

Middle school has been really tough this year.

And not much fun.

I am struggling in a big way.

I love teaching.  I love the excitement of being in the classroom when the kids "get it".  I love talking to my classes about my own children and the getting to know them.  I love introducing them to my 80s Pandora station and them making jokes about my age.  I love their humor and quirks.  I love science. [Nerd Alert]  I love talking to the kids in my classes when we are walking back and forth to lunch.  I love when they laugh at my corny jokes. 

This year is different. I've never seen so much defiance and entitlement from children.  I've never felt so small and insignificant as I do this year. [Please don't get me wrong here.  I am not looking to be recognized or thanked for anything.]

Aretha said it well...R - E - S - P - E - C - T.  

Be respectful.  

Be nice.
Be kind.
Be thankful.
Be considerate of others.
Be responsible.
Be ready to suffer consequences for negative actions.
Be resilient. 

We are creating a generation of people that can't simply "be" anymore because that is too hard.  There is a sense of entitlement that says they don't have to be respectful if the rules do not mesh with the circumstances at hand. [Imma do me.] There is no resilience and determination to find the answer, to solve the problem, to be challenged. [Imma do me.]  Simple rules of etiquette and manners flew out the window. [Imma do me.] And certainly, there is very little push to make consequences match negative behaviors. [Imma do me.]

Excuse me if I'm wrong or out of line [I was at least one time before] but when did simply being 13 or 14 entitle you to say or do anything you feel when you disagree with an adult? my house and the house I grew up in that would be....NEVER. 

We have children questioning the tone we use with them. Really?  Are you kidding me? In my house that only got you into more trouble. In the house where I am the parent that gets you into trouble.  No, my parents were not perfect but they had expectations for me and taught me to have them for myself.  My own children do not act like baffoons at school because they know the consequences will be worse at home.  BUT above all, they are respectful to adults, even if they disagree.  

Actually heard a parent say, just recently, "Well so and so is going to smart off if your tone insinuates that you are trying to be smart." So and so is 13! So and so doesn't get to decide that the tone of an adult's voice is not what they like and then make a choice not to listen.  If a child is asked to stop, to listen, to sit down, to follow directions, to get to class, to stop being loud at the lunch, or to do the task at hand then the answer is ALWAYS, "Yes ma'am." or "Yes sir."  END of discussion.        

No consequences.
No sense of responsibility to anyone but yourself.
No desire to be challenged.

The sad thing about all of this is that I am literally beating myself up over all of this and how to "fix" it. I am a pleaser.  A fixer. My hair is falling out.  I cannot sleep.  My stomach hurts.

I pray about this all the time. I know God hears me. There are positives and I am desperately trying to hang on to those things.  

And I know that I am not going to be some kind of hero and save them all and make them love science. [Or me.] 

But I do know that....

Everyone can be respectful. 
Everyone can be considerate.
Everyone can choose to reach their potential.

Stop making excuses for why you aren't following directions and simply do whatever is asked of you. 
Stop trying to do everything under the sun except what is being asked. Get to class on time. Sit up and pay attention.  Get some sleep at home so you can stay awake in class. Do your work.  Pick up your trash instead of walking right past it.  Take some initiative.  Get motivated. Bring a pencil to class. Follow directions the first time instead of when you are ready. Stop waiting for someone else to do things for you.  

Prove me wrong. I am waiting.