Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Band of Brothers" marathon

Nate signed up for a free Amazon Prime trial, and we've been sampling some of the Instant Videos available on there.

I watched a couple of seasons of "Sex and the City" until I realized I just couldn't take any more of the smut and lack of content that the show really is. You don't especially notice how bad it is until you sit through episode after episode.

However, it has been nice to be able to watch "Band of Brothers" for once. I've seen the first couple of episodes several times, but I guess I haven't really gotten that far in the series until now. Nate and I watched several installments last night, and the show really makes you think.

"Band of Brothers" makes you think about where this world is headed. Honestly, with everything that is happening abroad right now, it's very similar to the start of World War I and World War II. We a group of people in the Middle East that are convinced that everyone should be like them, and they're willing to die for the cause and to take others out with them. How long before we step in? How long do we tolerate this insolence and lack of respect for human life? How long until World War III?

And if we end up in World War III, what is this generation compared to that generation of brave men. If we have another world war, who will be able to fight for us? A few of the boys that were fighting in World War II weren't able to make it through --- they were soft mentally, emotionally and physically and couldn't take that awful world. The majority of these young men though were tough. The didn't want to be there fighting, but they endured the cold and the terrible sights, and they kept going.

We are raising generations of soft boys --- not allowing any fights, not letting anyone lose in sports competitions but praising participation, letting them sit inside and play video games. These boys often aren't ready for adulthood, let alone fighting in a soul-ravaging war.

I like "Band of Brothers," because it tells the story of an important moment in history and the important men that were there. I love hearing and cherishing the stories of people who have learned lessons in life. I have talked before about the importance of gathering stories and listening to our elders. So often, when people get to "old age" or enter care facilities, they are seen as unimportant. We don't visit them, we don't think they have anything left to offer, we don't see their needs. What they often need is to be validated, to be understood, to be listened to. The older generation has seen plenty in life, from hard times to good times. They have plenty to say, and plenty valuable at that.

I can't say I don't spend a lot of time watching shows that are completely useless, but "Band of Brothers" isn't that. It has a story, it has lessons, it has a purpose. It's worthwhile.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

He made us perfectly

One of my sweet dance students told me she hated high school. The older students were mean and unwelcoming, and she didn't feel like she could be herself because people would look at her weird.

It about broke my heart.

But I remember those days. I remember so vividly how it feels to not be comfortable with who you are, to try to act differently and to be the person you're expected to be. Because at that point in your life, you don't know exactly who you are and who you will become. You're willing to try on different masks and costumes to see what feels right.

However, as I've gotten older, I realize that I knew who I was all along. I just wasn't sure it was who I was supposed to be.

Yesterday, we had a wonderful baby shower for my best friend at my house. And getting my best college friends back together, it all seemed right. We have two new mamas, one new mama-to-be, one foster mama and a dog-mama (me). As I sat listening to them talk about God and giving advice on the future, it just showed that we are all exactly where God wants us, and when we're true to ourselves we're doing just what we should be.

I wrote a little while ago about how I feel OK with my decision to not always be the talker. And as I went around and set up for the shower and packaged food for people to take home and cleaned up, I know that I'm the one who was gifted to be behind the scenes. I'm the one who doesn't need to talk but needs to serve. I'm the one who doesn't need to be noticed but needs to give.

In high school and college I tried to put myself out there more. I tried to be a social butterfly and to grab more attention and more friends. It didn't seem to fit, and it didn't really work. I found my best friend and my core ladies, and that's all I need. I don't need to have 500 friends, I just need close ones.

God has gifted us all with different abilities. They are innate. They aren't like anyone else's. We just need to be true to who we were created to be by God. He made us perfectly.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

DSW has wonderful customer service

Treating people well always works out.

Especially in the commercial sense.

So I ordered a pair of shoes online from DSW, and I was debating on purchasing a regular or a wide calf version of these boots. I didn't want ones that were tight all the way up my leg, because tight boots then tight pants never seems to look good to me.

Since I was going for a riding boot style, I went for the wide style.

I got them last week, and they were too wide. Poo.

The post office closed in two minutes, so I grabbed the box, hopped in the car with Nate and took off. I addressed the box to the address on the invoice inside and sent it off.

Well, then I wondered about the address, since often there is a different return address. I had looked it up on my phone on the way to the post office, but there wasn't an address in the returns part of the FAQ page.

I kept looking and found a returns address, but you had to move from the mobile version of the website to the full site. And it was a different address.

I called customer service and the woman on the phone didn't even know the address that was on the top of the invoice, and she acted like it didn't exist.

Well, the shoes were delivered earlier this week but didn't show up on my account, so I called again. The person on the phone this time was very helpful, and after checking my tracking information couldn't figure out who had signed for my returns shoe box.

"We don't know where they are so we will just refund you the money."

Wow, that was it?

So, since they were extremely helpful, I purchased the shoes again, this time in the regular instead of the wide size, and I will tell people the wonderful experience I had. And I will certainly look for shoes from there again when I need them.

Customer service pays off.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

This is one messed up world

NoHatred. Cheating. Murder. Robbery. Assault. Scandal.

This world is one messed up world.

Starting in Genesis, we see sin enter the world quickly after its creation. This week's sermon was on sin entering the world.

In the Garden of Eden, the serpent tried to get Eve to focus on the one thing she couldn't have --- fruit from the Tree of Life. It's not much different for us today. Satan also told Eve that she wouldn't die if she ate of the forbidden fruit, same as he lies to us today about what is off-limits to us. 

Eve started to roll around what the serpent had told her and decided nothing would happen to her, so she ate the fruit and gave some to Adam. Adam was there the whole time and did nothing to stop what was going on. He was supposed to be the guardian of the garden, but he failed to do his job.

This is still common today --- men in the US tend to step back and let their wives lead and suffer for their own mistakes. But the man is supposed to lead. He is supposed to be the guardian of his home and his family, like Adam was supposed to be.

So right away, multiple sins have entered the world. It wasn't just the act of eating the forbidden fruit. It was also the failure of Adam to do the job God gave him. There was commission of sin and omission going on.

So what do Adam and Eve do next? They cover up their bodies. They feel guilty and hide, when they should have confessed. That's what we need to make sure we do, confess our sins instead of hide behind a cover. Because what is slightly ridiculous is we think we can ever get away with our sins anyway. God is everywhere and knows everything. He always knows what we've done anyway, so instead of suffering with guilt we might as well fess up and go on with our lives and learn from our mistakes.

We have to remember before we sin though that it's not all fun and games. There are consequences for our sins. Adam and Eve had to leave paradise and we forced to toil and struggle for livelihood. Eve had to go through painful childbirth, and she was cursed to desire to be leader of her home but her husband is really to be in charge. All their children, all the children of the world, have to deal with Satan on Earth.

But we do have hope in sin. It's not going to go away I n Earth, but it's not forever. Jesus came to Earth and died as the ultimate sacrifice for all our sins and rose again to beat death.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

To talk or not to talk

I have always been an introvert.

Working in the journalism industry taught me how to ask questions and become a conversationalist, and my current job has helped me to keep up those skills as I work with volunteers and the public. However, I have to force myself to be bubbly and talk. If I chose, I would very rarely actually talk to people unless they are very close to me.

I have pretty much always seen my quietness nature as a bad thing. People laugh at the way that I like to stay home and ask me if I'm mad because I'm quiet.

As I was catching up on my Bible reading this morning, I was working my way through several chapters of Proverbs. I must say that this book about wisdom seems to encourage me to be myself instead of forcing myself to talk.

Over and over in Proverbs, it states that wisdom is not talking and folly is talking. What you say can't be taken back, but what you can't be faulted for what you don't say.

"Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble." (Proverbs 21:23)

"The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool bring ruin near." (Proverbs 10:14)

"Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to run." (Proverbs 13:3)

Remember, when your mother told you "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all"? Well, it seems like she was taking that lesson from the book of Proverbs. If you want to be wise, make sure you say only those uplifting, important, thoughtful words. Don't just talk for the sake of talking.

I think my dad is the ultimate master of this. My dad is not a man of many words, but when he has something to say, you had better listen. If he sits down with the intent of speaking, he has something on his mind and it is not just a random thought, it is something he has spent the time pondering and that he believes is worthwhile. That is a model we should all strive after.