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Keep Climbing the Hill

” Consistency is what shapes you” ~ (Thanks, Massey Campos, I’m trying!)

Real Life Entry: It’s Thursday afternoon, and I have hours of work yet ahead of me. I am behind – on so many levels. So much is on my mind, and I am headed into a very busy weekend of double shifts. I want to write about what it looks like to really take responsibility, but I don’t even know where to begin with how that looks in my life.

This year I have learned that I have not aged as graciously as I might have liked. My patience for 20-something, self absorbed drama queens in the workplace, has waned. I’m over it. This is probably highlighted for me by the fact that my last team of coworkers was absolutely incredible, and my boss, the best I ever had. The transition to here and now, glaringly stands out from that. But, I don’t want to sit at a desk all day + OT. My lower spine says; “screw you, lady!” There is the rub. Well, that and Tennessee!

Judging from what my self employed friends say, self employment is a taxation nightmare – but I don’t care. I am looking into every way possible of getting off this merry-go-round. This has involved a lot of consideration of what function social media has played for me, how I transition that, what other kind of sacrifices I might have to make, and so on. Why now? I ask myself that. All I can answer is that I have finally gotten desperate enough. I’m turning 42 this year, I have goals I would like to reach, I have people and places I would like to visit and interview in order to highlight on my blog – something has gotta give.

I have just started getting into some affiliate marketing things, listened to every Tom Woods podcast there is on entrepreneurs and the like, and various other things of that nature. In the meantime, I am playing catch up, my free time is dwindling, the chiropractor should just move in, and I need a personal trainer (hellooo accountability)!

By some miracle of God – I totally believe it is – I at least feel very optimistic. Maybe not every second of the day, but enough to get by. Of course, there are those moments when I feel like I am climbing up a rock wall without a harness – don’t look down!

So I guess; anything can happen. A year ago I was in Spokane, feeling like it just wasn’t home anymore, wondering what might be next, or if I was stuck. Optimism was more fleeting. Today, here I sit in my Nashville townhouse, with my roommate’s chocolate lab trying to lick me to death, writing this blog post while I think about how much I can accomplish this week – even though it will be hard. It’s so different, in so many ways. I would be amiss not to mention the crazy amount of prayer that has gone into my decision making process. But here I am, climbing the hill. Who knows what might be on the other side, eh? 😉

The Quiet Witness of Following Your Convictions

I’ve been in Tennessee for five months now. I came from Washington state before that, and one thing they do not have yet in eastern Washington, is Chick-fil-A. And let me just say, I am a big fan.

I work right next to a mall. Recently I had a long lunch break while working on a Sunday, so I decided to walk to the food court, where there happens to be a Chick-fil-A. Now, loving them as I do, I have of course had those Sunday cravings, where it is like my body just wants to have that thing it knows it can’t get. Because, of course, due to their Christian convictions, Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. Momentary frustration! But somehow, seeing the closed building is so much different than seeing the closed store in the food court.

There I am, standing in the food court, plenty of bustle all around me – and there is the solo dark counter-front of the Chick-fil-A. In the mall, this stands out. You can’t not notice it. And it isn’t because it is doing anything. Nope. It’s just sitting there. Dark and silent. This really struck me that day. I kind of just stood there and pathetically stared at it for a moment, impressed by the convictions that caused it to be so. Of course, there are other days where Chick-fil-A is having a media frenzy, or coming out to feed people stranded in the Atlanta airport…but this is the thing they do every week. They just take a day off. Isn’t it crazy how just taking a day off can stand out so much in our culture?

I wondered how many people have thought to themselves; “why the heck isn’t Chick-fil-A open?!” I’m sure they have, because not everyone is informed about these things. And maybe if people ask that question and get an answer, it will lead to another question. It made me thoughtful, so I have to assume it has done the same for others. It seems like such a small thing, doesn’t it? I bet it’s not as small to the people that work for Chick-fil-A. I’m glad that – at this point in time – businesses still have the right to follow some of their convictions.

I wonder how many things there are in my own life – maybe just things I choose not to participate in – that have an effect on the people around me. I don’t really try to figure that out, I just try to be better about following my convictions, and I hope that I can embolden other people to follow theirs. I know too many people who have lost their voice – and they have important things to say. How about you?

“be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9 (NRSV)

 

The Question I Ask Myself

Franklin

A  series of Facebook comments brought this to mind again today;

What is it that makes us stop asking questions? Is it beaten out of us as children? “BECAUSE I SAID SO” only works until we grow up – right?

Many people chose to vote for one of two candidates in the last election, and whether their person won or not, they seem to not ask questions of that person now – if they ever did. The diehard Hillary people still think she’s #1, and the Trump folks still believe he’s “draining the swamp!” But, there seem to be a lot of issues with both. Are they afraid of being seen as having been wrong? This is the question I ask myself;

Why is it perceived as not okay to question our leaders, especially people that we support or have supported?

This is true in so many areas of life, and not just Federal politics. You can see the very same thing happening in the dialogue about abuse in law enforcement. Most people think you have to be either for or against the police. There is no other way to look at it, no objectivity. Do we agree with every single thing our siblings think or do, or our friends and spouses? Generally, not. So why do we think we have to go in with authority figures, hook, line, and sinker? Why do we think we can’t call them out?

I always wonder how much of this is the fault of the modern church. Remember, not too long ago a majority of Americans attended on Sunday. It seems that for a very long time we have been teaching people to submit to all authority, come what may. This is a form idolatry, in my opinion. I was initially taught Romans 13 just like most other people as simply; “submit to authority.” No caveat. No mention of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I am not by any means a scholar of church history, but I think most knowledgeable people have some understanding of past grievances in the Catholic church, stemming far beyond the modern day abuse scandals. Not that this is unique to the Catholic church, it is just easy to pick on them. It must have been simple to get medieval peasants to pay for blessings, and free tickets to heaven, when they had no clue what the good book actually said. We can look back on history and think; man, those people were easily mislead. But, we have the benefit of knowledge that they didn’t have. We can read the book. And in regard to the not so distant abuse issues… aren’t we looking at the same thing? What’s our excuse?! We trust the clergy – whatever our brand of faith. We do this to a fault. They are supposed to be somehow more “enlightened” than we are. It’s like we are giving over our own salvation into the hands of men rather than the hands of God. So, when someone alleges abuse; GASP! We just can’t believe that is true – don’t let anyone see!

We do the very same thing with government. It’s like we are giving our own liberty over into the hands of a president, rather than keeping it in the hands of the people. In both cases we are shirking our responsibility, and failing to protect others.

Some folks have a gift of teaching. Others make excellent leaders, it’s true. But what should true leadership look like? And do we believe everything we’re taught? People in authority should always be questioned. That doesn’t have to be done in a rude, hateful, or disrespectful way. The truth is, however, that power corrupts. We all know this to be true. So, why do we think it will all go perfectly, once our person gets elected, appointed, or rises to a place of power over others? I don’t have power over anybody, and sometimes I still need my friends to tell me like it is. Don’t you? We really need to stop acting like this isn’t the case for whoever our gilded heroes are. This has led us to a very, very bad and precarious place. In fact, Trump isn’t right most of the time, (neither was Obama), and neither would any other glorious leader be in his position.

“Where there is no counsel the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors, there is safety.” ~Proverbs 11:14 (NKJV)

A Great Awakening

Once again it has been so long that I don’t even know what I am doing here. I have been meaning to get back into the groove for awhile now, but I have had some important things to sort out first.

Today I will try to keep it short and sweet.

I was pondering this thought earlier (thank you, Bill Johnson, for sparking it), that we enslave ourselves out of fear. We’re afraid our kids will crack their heads open on the playground, so we put in that rubber bark stuff, and take out the metal monkey bars. We’re afraid they’ll be abducted by strangers, so we don’t let them walk home from school alone, and we teach them early to be afraid, rather than to be fearless.

How many laws have been pushed out of fear? Not considering the potential long term consequences, the unknown impact? Politicians and the media play upon our fear, and we let them.

In contrast, the word of God says that “perfect love casts out fear.” I remember having a conversation with a much valued friend, who is not a believer, and we were talking about those who fought in the war for independence. He made a comment regarding the Christians at that time, that they fought because it didn’t matter if they died. They believed so strongly that they would be joining a glorious hereafter, that they may as well fight to make the world they lived in more free. The cost was more than worth it. My friend had great respect for those men, certainly more than he has for modern day Christians.

What would it look like if we lived lives devoid of fear? What if death couldn’t scare us?

No disrespect to the lovely atheists I know in the liberty movement (whatever that is these days), but I honestly feel that there is no rallying cry for freedom without a true understanding of it, which I believe will only come to a larger number of people through some kind of great awakening. Over the past few years I have been reminded over and over, through various circumstances, that Jesus is still the answer to all the questions. Knowing the God who made us, simply changes everything. And yes, I know there are plenty of Christians out there who disagree with me on things, but I would ask them as well as myself on the regular; which voices are you really listening to?

Freedom is scary, but always worth it.

Action Speaks Louder Than Words

birds

In my last couple of blog entries, I mentioned, or at least alluded to the power and/or responsibility of the individual. I think a lot about that these days, and about what might be asked of me.

Of late I’ve re-evaluated decisions I’ve made over the past few months.  A couple of things stood out. Oh, they would probably be considered really small to anyone else, but they impacted me because those were the times when I chose to disregard the quiet voice of my conscience. And, there were consequences, even if no one felt them but me.

Being a person of faith, I directly equate that little voice with the divine. Regardless of what you believe, however, we all have that voice inside, and sometimes it is just a whisper.  Following it sometimes means not doing something I want in the moment, or, potentially having to do something I find uncomfortable. In any case, let’s face it, we all give it the cold shoulder sometimes. On the aforementioned occasions, that is just what I did. I’ve been here before, of course, and I’ve learned that once I ignore my conscience, it becomes easier to do it every time thereafter, until sometimes, in certain areas, I have completely blocked it out.

I’ve been asking myself how this might affect me in the long run, when it comes to the really tough decisions.

Last week there was this interview with retired army General Wesley Clark, in which he showed support for internment camps for radicalized Americans. This certainly isn’t the first time the topic has arisen of late, the way having been paved by the 2012 NDAA. Increasingly, those who fail to follow the mainstream, supporters of limited government, Constitutionalists, among others, are being labeled as radical. So you have to ask yourself, who is going to decide what radicalized means, exactly?

This is only an example of what I’m talking about, but I know a lot of people who fall under these categories. So what happens when the government comes nosing around about people – even ones I don’t like? Do I keep writing when writing gets you in trouble? Or, with the increasing problem of police brutality, what happens if I witness something? Will I stand there? Would I put myself on the line? It’s easy to say yes, not having faced such things. But, have I conditioned myself to only do the things that I don’t find uncomfortable? Or, Have I conditioned myself to do what is right, even the little things, regardless of personal cost.

I try to remind myself that the things I do when no one is looking, matter. Not because I care what most people think, but because I am always conditioning my own self to be something. The question is what? Who do I want to be, and how do I make that a reality, rather than just words on a page? Words may have power, but actions are where the rubber meets the road.