Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Saturday, March 21, 2020

March musings

  It is three months into the year, and I have blogged once. Sorry to the one or two people who read and are interested in my blog.....

  The reason is most likely depression related. Even though I have been on two meds, one for depression and one for anxiety, they just don't seem to be working anymore. The other time it was close to this bad, I lost my interest in reading. This time around, I don't want to be around people, with the exception of family.... and by people, I mean groups of people, though I am pretty content to stay home and not be around anyone.  I even dislike going to church and being around so many people - don't look so horrified, unless you have been severely depressed, you wouldn't get it...... and I dread work days, even though I like my job.....it is just a constant barrage of people, and I'd rather be at home by myself. Maybe that explains hermits and recluses....maybe they are just severely depressed people who don't want to be around others. I think the depression was compounded by my last birthday when I was hit with so many negative emotions, and had the desire stronger than ever for a family of my own......an impossibly.

But enough about my emotions and mental state. I hope this blog doesn't go on too long, but it will be one with multiple subjects that I will most likely work on over a period of a few days. It all depends on what is on my mind.

***Man, this is long. No one is going to read it all :)

1) Politics

  I am trying more than ever to stay away from politics on social media. I may address it some on here. It is MY blog after all, and people read it at their own risk. I am extremely bothered more and more as the days go by at how political Christians have become, and how it takes precedence over God's Word in how Christians act and react. I have noticed it more since 2016, maybe because I have been on the outside looking in on conservative and Republican politics.

 I took a step last month I had been considering for a while. I un-registered to vote. I have previously been a strong proponent of voting, but I have my reasons for doing so. I may register again at some point, but it will be Independent if I do so. No one is ever going to infer or say that that the Republican Party owns my vote or that I must vote Republican if I am a registered Republican.

 Is it hypocritical of me to do this after being so emphatic about voting? Maybe, maybe not. We are allowed to change and evolve in our thinking and beliefs. If for years I was outspoken against women, saying they had no right to vote, no right to do anything but be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.....then I flipped on that thinking, would it be bad and hypocritical of me? No one would think so. (And that was a made up example...I don't think that).

  I have become so disgusted by the Republican party, so-called conservatism, and politics in general, that I want nothing to do with it. I know all of the arguments one could throw at me, but the truth of the matter is the Republican party keeps putting up worse and worse and more liberal candidates each election, and unless they do better than 2016, I can't see me ever voting for their candidates again. "But the Democrats will win." Yeah, they might.....but I didn't want the one who won in 2016 to win either. And maybe a liberal president would get the American Christians' attention back on God instead of politics if we needed to pray more about our nation and what we might face.

  It truly wasn't a careless decision to un-register to vote, but I do feel good about it. And who knows...maybe it will keep me out of jury duty. :)

  Something great would be if a 3rd party would actually have a chance. The two main parties are too corrupt and too much alike. We need a change.

 And a warning if you have read this far: #11 and #12 will be about Donald Trump.

2) I like a Justin Bieber song

  Yeah, I was shocked too. There is a song I heard a few times while on break in the coffee shop at work. They usually have country music playing in there. I liked it, and had no clue who sang it. I finally looked it up the other night and discovered it is a by a duo called Dan + Shay doing a trio number with none other than Justin Bieber. Wow. Who knew?! It is a pretty cool song, titled 10,000 Hours. I did find out Justin no longer sound like a girl when he sings. The first time I know of hearing a song by him a few years back, I thought it was a girl singing. Guess he is out of puberty now. :)

 Confession: I like some country music. I grew up in a church where it was considered wrong. I heard it preached against, but then I heard Southern Gospel preached against....The country music on my iTunes is wide and varied, a few songs by certain artists.

 Maybe I am wrong on my thinking, but I believe Christians should listen mostly to Christian music. If one is truly a Christian, aren't they going to want to listen to music about the one they serve? However, I don't believe secular music is wrong, depending on the lyrics and maybe other factors. Southern Gospel will always be my favorite genre', followed by some CCM, Praise and Worship, and country.

 I do believe one should not follow too closely or idolize any singer or group, no matter their belief system or lifestyle. For instance, I like a few songs by Tim McGraw, but he and his wife are brainless when it comes to the Second Amendment.

 Below is one of my all time favorite country songs: Live Like You Are Dying by Tim McGraw.

3) All things gay

  There doesn't seem to be much middle ground on views of gay issues. On one side you have the agenda to push all things gay everywhere and on everyone. They are even pushing it on kid's programs on TV and in movies. On the other hand, you have the evangelical Christians acting like it is the worst sin ever, and not having much love, if any, for gay people.

 Even some of the groups and people I follow on Facebook who are same-sex attracted Christians practicing Biblical sexuality lean too far the wrong way.

 Brief explanation of 3 main views in the Christian world of same-sex attracted individuals?

Ex-gay: Those who firmly believe it is wrong, and work at staying away from all things gay. Often they use programs and groups to help battle the attractions and desires.

Side A: they believe you can be a Christian and have sexual relations with the same sex...possibly within marriage - not positive about that - and believe in gay marriage. They embrace all things gay, while claiming to be Christians. They pretty much hate ex-gays.

Side B: They practice celibacy, and cling to terms like gay and queer like we conservatives cling to our guns. (Which reminds me, I haven't shot my pistol since Thanksgiving.....) Many, like the guys on the site Your Other Brothers, watch gay programming, and embrace pretty much anything gay except the sex. Some, if not all, approve of same sex relationships minus the sex, though a lot of them are willing to call Side A Christians and take offense at anyone daring to say Side A can't be Christians if they are having sex with the same gender. Believe me, I know. I have dared to say that and have been ripped apart by Side B people.

 Me? As I have no problem admitting, am attracted to other guys, a battle I have had for most of my life. I believe what the Bible says, and I also believe it is wrong for a Christian to use terms like gay and queer as identities if they are truly serving God....something I have debated many people on. I know of one young guy, one of the Your Other Brothers guys, who is a preacher and proudly calls himself queer. I may blog about that identity thing more some other time. (Calling yourself queer or gay, and clinging to everything gay except the sex surely doesn't fall in what the Bible says about laying aside the weights and sin that so easily takes a hold over us).

 My main focus was meant to be on how Christians should act. I took my three lovely nieces out for Mexican a couple of weeks ago (in the olden days when you could eat inside a restaurant) , and the subject somehow came up. I don't remember exactly how she worded it, but my youngest niece voiced that Christians need to be more careful what they say about gay people, and how they act about it. And she is so right. The answer is not to pay gay people on the back and tell them God is fine with their lifestyle and actions. That is only helping them to a an eternity in hell, but Christians need to stop acting like it is the worst sin ever, and that gay people have a contagious disease.

 I have related this story before on my blog, but I have something to add to it, so excuse the repeat if you have read it before: About 11-12 years ago, my Sunday School class was covering some main issues of our day. One was homosexuality, and it was brutal. I was still extremely in the closet about my SSA. There were two men who were especially vocal and un-Christian in what they said. One said he would rather have a murderer around his kids than have "one of those perverts" around them. If it happened now, I would probably stand up and say what I thought. Instead, I sat there fighting tears and the desire to walk out.

 Not too long after that, one of those men was caught viewing pornography on the computer of the Christian business he worked at. His wife still hasn't forgiven him, and it was rough on his kids. But it doesn't end there. A couple weeks ago - oh, this is what brought up the discussion with my nieces - I saw a friend suggestion for this man's oldest daughter who has walked away from God and the way she was raised. Her background picture is her kissing someone. I was curious if it was the same young man she had been dating a few years ago, so I looked better, and discovered it was another female and she is engaged to marry her.

 I feel bad for her and her family, and don't share that as a "haha on him" thing. The point I want to make is we truly need to do better in regards to what we say about gay people, and how we act. There are a lot of people who are SSA and hiding it from everyone - their parents, their siblings, their best friends......even their spouse. It is scary to tell people, and it is no wonder. It could be your child, your sibling, your parent, your spouse....your pastor. People don't choose to have the attractions, and the attractions and desires are not discriminatory or picky in who they hit.

 Think about it: If you have a nasty opinion of gay people, call them perverts, say they deserve AIDS, etc....do you think anyone is ever going to come to you with their struggle? Do you think it will strengthen your relationship if you are acting so horribly about what they are secretly struggling with? What if someone you love deeply is secretly struggling with it, and you talk hatefully about gay people around them?

  Since "outting" myself on this blog a few years ago, I haven't seen any repercussions or heard of any....but I am a loner. There really isn't anyone other than my nieces or nephews that I can call up and meet for lunch.....but then I always pay for theirs..... :)......and I usually talk to the same few people at church. I don't know who knows and who doesn't know, and am not close enough to enough people to notice any difference. Maybe a lot of people don't know. They would have to have personally been told by me, read my blog, figured it out, or been told by someone else. That brings up an interesting question....do the church gossips know?

 True story: I have had bigger repercussions and bad reactions for daring to speak out against and not vote for Donald Trump than for "coming out of the closet" as a guy with same-sex attractions.

  I'll close this already too long part with two stories, the first is one I have related before:

There was a young man who played guitar in the worship band for his church. He met with his pastor and confessed that he was attracted to other males and needed help and prayer. His pastor promised to pray for him, and they parted ways. At the next service at that church, the pastor told about it from the pulpit, turned to the horrified young man standing on the platform behind him, and told him to leave his church and never come back....... that "his kind" were not welcome there.

The other was related to me by my retired Christian friend who volunteers at the hospital 2 days a week:

 A few years back, his church was looking for a pastor and were considering a pastor from another state. The church got a letter from some individual warning them not to consider this pastor. He had a gay son, and the son and his gay friends occasionally came to the church the pastor was currently at. 

Horrors! Sinners going to church!

 Sadly, that scared enough members to reject that pastor. I wonder what Jesus would have done and what He would say about gay people going to church? What would your church say about gay people attending there?

4) Valentine's Day

   Valentine's Day, or Singles Awareness Day, is just another day for me. I did have something special happen this year. My 6 nieces and nephews went together and bought me some of my favorite snacks, and my youngest niece and her boyfriend delivered them that evening after they ate out and got engaged...then visited with me for a while without telling me. They figured I would tell it before they told anyone else. Valid point :)

 I am really happy for them. He is a great guy for her. A September wedding is planned.

 And they made my day and made me feel very loved by their gift and card.

5) Praying for Pelosi

  Of all the American politicians in my lifetime, Nancy Pelosi wins my award for the worst......even over Obama. Scary she is two steps from the presidency. She stands against everything Christians believe, and is for everything we oppose and for things bad for our country.

 But here is a question for you, especially if you are a Trump supporter who likes to say we are supposed to pray for him: Do you pray for her? Do you love her? Believe you me, I have heard so many times how I should pray for Trump, but do those same people pray for Pelosi and others like her? After all the same Bible they are quoting saying to pray for Trump also says to pray for your enemies.

 That is something we are all pretty much guilty of: picking and choosing what parts of the Bible to use and emphasize. Politics plays into that. In my not so humble opinion, it is a cancer that is infecting the church and Christianity. It has canceled out the loving people and being peacemakers parts of the Bible, and become an emphasis on praying for a politician.

 I'll admit it. I don't pray for Pelosi. I have prayed for Trump, but he is still president, so that prayer didn't get answered. Kidding. Kind of.

  And why is it OK for we Christians to attack Democrats with a D by their name, and say whatever we want to? If it is wrong to say certain things about some politicians, then why is it OK to say them about others?

 I have considered making a list of the Scriptures we toss aside when politics invades....like turn the other cheek, be peacemakers, be tender and forgiving to each other.....but I am afraid it would be too long of a list. Whether conservative, Trump supporter, #nevertrump, liberal, or whatever.......too many Christians don't act like Christians when politics invades the scene.

6) Anthony Schmidt

 A page popped up on Facebook this evening as a suggestion to like. I checked it out, and was impressed. Anthony Schmidt is a 12 year old autistic boy who photographs toy cars and makes them look life-sized. It is really cool.

His page is: https://www.facebook.com/anthonyryanschmidt/

There is also a kickstarter page that has some of his stuff: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/anthonyschmidt/small-cars-big-inspiration?fbclid=IwAR012XfPgxYbGvjr6_cZd-2nwBzG5PaORYosZ6gQDHNyq6UHQW_5Kh0KGZk

*7) The flag and the 3 Hebrew children

  OK, this is kind of political too, but not about politicians. I read a statement a few weeks ago that has stuck with me. I can't remember where I read it, but this is the gist of it: "The same people cheering for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego for refusing to bow to the golden stature are the same people outraged when people won't stand for or pledge to the flag."

 I'll be blunt. Colin Keppernick is a spoiled overpaid athlete who is also an idiot. I wish my bank account reflected how oppressed he is. I was bothered by his actions, and annoyed when Nike made him a spokesman. It didn't affect me, since I have boycotted Nike all of my life because I am not paying that kind of money for a shoe.

 But here is a question: from all I have seen of him - and the last I knew, he was pursuing Islam - the guy is not a Christian, so he is not headed for Heaven. If you are reading this, I assume you are first of all desperate for reading material, and that you are a Christian. So Christian, I have a question for you. Which bothers you more: the fact that he has dissed our flag and country, or the fact that he is most likely headed for an eternity in hell.(gotta add the most likely so I am not accused of judging!)

 Sadly, I would wager that the average American Christian hasn't given much or any thought to his spiritual condition, or cares much about it, if any.

 And by the way, I am not comparing standing for the flag and pledging to bowing to a statue. Though even patriotism can become an idol. What I AM saying is perhaps we Christians shouldn't be so easily offended by people refusing to stand and pledge to our flag....or so easily offended in general.  Even if we don't agree with their reasons, it is their right just as the 3 Hebrew kids had reasons for not bowing to the statue.

 I love our flag and am very patriotic. In fact, my bedroom is decorated in Americana/patriotic themes.

 Ever wonder what you would have done if you were in the 3 Hebrew kids' shoes? I think some of us would bow and rationalize it. "I'll bow and pretend I am bowing to the statute, but inside I will be bowing to and praying to the true God." "I'll repent later." "Surely God doesn't expect me to risk my life over this! He'll understand if I bow." "I'll offend the king if I don't bow, and Christians aren't supposed to offend." I could see me doing that. Or not. It hasn't been easy taking a stand opposite my family and so many in my church in regards to politics. Who knows.

 What matters is that we take a stand for God and right today.

 The day may come in America when Christians don't have rights and freedoms. The freedoms are dwindling and usually lose when they come up against liberals. The day may come when we don't want to stand for and pledge to the flag, so maybe we shouldn't be so dogmatic about the issue. (I say that, but I'll probably be ticked the next time someone refuses to do it........)

8) New drink (to me)

  My 2 favorite drinks are diet caffeine free Coke and diet Gold Peak Tea. I am not a huge pop drinker. It is my drink of choice when I have pizza and some other foods, but I don't go and get a can out of the fridge when I am thirsty. I drink a lot of the tea and water.

 One of the things in my snack basket from the nieces and nephews was a box of the Crystal Light packets you mix with a bottled water. The flavor is raspberry lemonade. I liked it so much that I bought the size you add to 2 quarts of water. I also got cherry limeade to try. It is pretty good too. I may try to drink more of that drink as it would save me money on all the tea I buy. I go through a lot of it, and usually have at least 4 64-oz bottles of it on hand, 2 of them in the fridge.

9) The vacation

 The last week of February, I took a week's vacation. Since the 5 days I requested were book-ended  by two weekends off, that turned into 9 days off in a row. It was awesome. I went to Sugarcreek, Ohio on Monday and Tuesday, and took advantage of the package deal the Dutch Hose Inn there does during their slower times.

 The rest of the time, I spent most of at home. (Maybe I could be a recluse...) I really like how I have my place fixed up. Even though I never have company, I enjoy it. And I am not what some consider typical bachelors to be like. I keep the place clean and mostly clutter free. Once in a while, the dining room table gets away from me. And I hate to dust. Dishes in the sink bug me, so unless I am soaking something, they don't stay there very long before being washed. The dish drainer is a different matter. Dishes put there to dry can stay there several days, and I often pull dishes from there to use instead of from the cupboards.

 I did do some housework on my vacation, but outside of church and my 2 day trip, I pretty much stayed home away from everyone.

 Speaking of company, my two oldest nieces have not been to my new place yet (moved here in August). They are bad with directions, and don't know how to get here. I need to fix that.

 Back to the trip: I enjoyed my free breakfast and late lunch, plus all the other free stuff. I did a lot of shopping, and bought several more books. Yeah, like I don't have enough.

9) Corona virus

  When people first started talking about the Cornona virus, I thought it was a joke that had to do with the beer. Then I found out it was a real thing.

 I am not saying we shouldn't be careful, but every couple of years there is a new disease that everyone freaks out about, and maybe a few people die from......but it never amounts to much. It is just a bunch of hysteria. More people die in the U.S. from the flu than from Corona, Ebola, etc.

 Since I started working at the hospital 7 years ago in June, I have become germophoic. I constantly sanitize, and always use a paper towel to open the bathroom doors. Why do so many people not wash their hands after using the bathroom?! It is nasty! I even see it at church, then those people shake hands with at least the pastor who shakes hands with everyone in the church. Maybe we need hand sanitizer stations in the church.......

Seriously, the media blows these things out of proportion, and everyone panics. We had boxes of masks at the hospital in different locations for people - there is a hand sanitizer stand with 2 boxes of masks in the lobby where I work - but they had to remove them all. People were taking them home. I came in one morning, and there had been a full box and at least half of another out. The half or so box was gone - box and all - and the full box was empty. There is no way they got emptied out by normal use after I left at 5 pm.

 I don't need to relate everything that is going on  - the TP shortage, etc...if you are paying attention, you know. It is like our country has gone insane. Thankfully, I tend to overstock on that important paper product, and should have enough to last me for quite a while. I was amazed when I was at Walmart today.

I am even getting emails from restaurants telling what they are doing to take precautions.

 Personally, I think it will all blow over in a few weeks. I could be wrong. We will see. I did have a lady preacher tell me yesterday that her prophetess friend prophesied a cure would be found on March 27. This was after I offered  her a mask from my secret stash after explaining we can't have them out since people are taking too many. She proved my point by saying "I'm taking a few"...and took 4."

 Sadly, those who should be trusting God seem to be panicking with everyone else.

***Things have obviousy gotten much worse since I wrote this - one hazard of working on a blog post over a period of a couple of weeks. I did finally manage to find ground hamburger and sausage.

 And if you haven't watched this, you should. It is only a few seconds past a minute long.

10) Division in politics

  It does bother me how much politics has divided us. Obama divided this country like it hadn't been in many years, and then Trump came along and hasn't done anything to make it better, and went a step further by dividing Christians and conservatives. That is one reason I am trying to back off, but it really isn't fair that people who oppose him are expected to be silent, while Trump supporters bash whoever they want.

 I think politicians thrive on dividing America, Trump included. (If that wasn't the case, he would never have called we conservatives who oppose him "human scum".) The politicians in the two main parties are not that different anymore, but they sure succeed in getting their supporters fighting with each other. It doesn't help that politicians care more about their agenda and pleasing those who support them the most with $$.

 It is just sad that Christians aren't any different or better about how we act in regards to politics than those who do not profess to Christianity, and too many people in the church circles I have been raised in don't act any better than the world when it comes to politics.

  Maybe social media makes it worse. I am a conservative, so I remember opposing the Clintons and mostly liking Bush. The internet and social media was all expanding when he was president. I remember there being  "Kill Bush" Facebook groups, and reporting them with no luck. Then I get Facebook jail for saying no Muslim should be in any American government office. True story.

 I don't know what the answer is. Evidently it isn't God, since God's people aren't any different than the world. And the first part of that was sarcastic. I know God is the answer to any problem.

 Maybe I just need to start doing my part, but it is so frustrating being in the place I am: being conservative and Christian, but not supporting the man so many others do. I may address my frustrations at the end of this post.

***I am seriously backing off after this on Trump. Not because my opinions of him have changed for the better, and not because I believe I have no right. I am just really tired of him and of the attitudes that I have no right to speak out against him.

11) Donald Trump (You were warned)

 Yeah, you knew I'd get to him at some point. Read no further if you are one who thinks he should not be criticized. By the way, my favorite cousin said I am too focused on Trump. It is hard not to be when my Facebook feed looks like praise and worship time of Trump. Seriously, how many pro-Trump posts do people need a day? And did people not notice all of my anti-Obama posts I did for 8 years....back when freedom of speech applied to me? :)

  I am 100% serious when I say this: I am concerned about the Trump mania by so many Christians. The things this man is guilty of and the way he acts, you would think Christians would want nothing to do with him, but many praise and defend him like he is their religion.

 Back during the 2016 election, I read an interesting comment. I don't remember who it was, but he said if you were going to vote for Trump in the election, you should do it weeping and sorrowing that your voting choice had to be a man like him.

 And let's get the Christian stuff out of the way here. Trump's supposed conversion came right at election time when he needed the Christian vote. James Dobson announced the conversion. Trump didn't even do that. If he still had had a D by his name, the same people believing his conversion would be as skeptical of it as I am. And if you believe he is one, than you should also accept Hillary's and Obama's claims of being a Christian.

 The problem is that if a politician does enough that Christians in America agree with, then they translate that to his being a Christian and chosen by God. Political issues define a politician's spiritual state.

 But anyway, let's recap:
a) Long time liberal, long time supporter of liberals and their causes, including the Clintons.

b) Committed adultery on at least 2 of his wives

c) Bragged about grabbing women by their genitals in vulgar terms. Something that is sexual assault, by the way

d) Paid of a prostitute

e) Even now, is vulgar

f) Current wife was in lesbian porn

g) Fought the Tea Party

h) Said that Hillary would make a great president

i) Defended Bill Clinton during the sexual accusations, and attacked the women.

j) Defended Hillary during Benghazi

k) has done gun control measures, and talked about doing more

l) Has his kids in White House positions, something that would be decried were it anyone else

m) Acts like an immature brat on Twitter, and attacks people for daring to criticize him

n) Promised to further gay rights

o) appeared at a LGBQT for Trump rally holding their flag.

p) supported transgenders using whatever bathroom they wanted

q) strip clubs in his casinos

r) draft dodger

   And I could come up with enough to go beyond Z if I thought longer.  My point is, there is nothing about this man that should have Christians so enthralled with him. I could not do it, but I understand people voting for him over Hillary....though I wanted neither.....but I cannot understand the daily over the top posts praising and defending him. For way too many Christians, defending him is more important than how they treat we who dare speak up.

 Not all Trump voters and supporters are alike, but the Trump support movement has been compared to a cult, and there are some similarities. Consider this: Not only will the average Trump supporter refuse to criticize him - and he has done things that should be criticized - they try to stop others from criticizing him. There is an unhealthy loyalty to the man. At best, some will say "he isn't a good man, but....."

I have a  friend - or I guess former friend now - from work who is a Christian, but has an unhealthy idolization of Trump. My atheist buddy from work commented about how often she posts about him, and said you'd think that is who she worships. His words. Anyway, she posted the following on Wednesday. I know it was bad, but I commented "Go ahead". And she did. It is pretty bad if a Christian doesn't want anyone for friends who dares say something negative about a politician and doesn't stand for her post.

  It is sad that supporting him has become equal to being conservative, and sadder still that supporting him has become synonymous with evangelical Christianity. Trump is NOT a good man, and it truly is alarming to me how over the top loyal so many Christians even in my own church are. It seems the worse he acts, the madder he makes Democrats....the more Christians love him.

  And this will be a strong statement and rather incendiary: but I understand the atheist friends of a friend of mine: they said after the way Christians defended his moral flaws and supported him in 2016, they never want to hear another Christian talk about morals. They have a point. If a Christian tosses aside all of his immoral stuff, then they do have no right to moral outrage. A Facebook friend of mine did a daring post a while back. He said that one thing gay presidential candidate Pete Buettig did was get Trump supporters caring about morals again.

  Lastly: I am not saying it IS a cult, nor that all who vote for him are over the top loyal. And I will add this: the more people have tried to silence me - some even ordering me to stop criticizing him - the more I dislike him and despise politics and the Republican Party. I am weary of this attitude that he should not be criticized. That is not American, that is not free speech, and it is not Christian. It all truly has shaken my faith, and shaken the beliefs my church has.

 Vote for him if you must. Support what you consider right that he does......but don't defend everything he says and does. Don't idolize him, and stop trying to shut down those of us who bring up legitimate criticisms and concerns.

12) Why I dislike Trump so much (remember...you were warned)

  I know a lot of people don't understand why I dislike the man so much.....well, I don't understand how anyone can like him very much, so we are even :)

 So, I thought I would try to put it into words for anyone interested in knowing why. I will say this up front: my dislike has been fanned as much by his supporters as by him.

His morals:

  If Trump supporters and voters are honest, Trump is not a nice man, nor a good man. The Christian right has spent the last several years before Trump all up in arms about morals. How many politicians have we stood back outraged over their immoral discretions: Gary Hart, the Kennedys, Bill Clinton, and more.

 Then comes along Trump: serial adulterer who they say bragged about it, has strip clubs in his casinos (I thought for sure that would sink his Christian support), vulgar (just recently use the f-word, so that hasn't changed), bragged about sexually assaulting women), and did and said other questionable things.

 Suddenly, morals in a politician weren't important. Beating Hillary was more important than what we stood for and against for years.

 I'll be honest. I've done things I wished I hadn't....but I wasn't running for president, and these are many of the same people who still act like being gay is the worst sin ever, while they embrace the likes of Trump. The double standard disgusted me, and the push by so many religious leaders for people to vote for him and ignore their conscience and long held principles knocked my faith for a loop.

The lies and false accusations

 To be anti Trump after the 2016 primaries made you a pariah. The truth didn't matter anymore, and Christians suddenly were OK with false accusations and untrue statements:

"If you are not for Trump, you are for Hillary"
"If you aren't for Trump, you are for Hillary and for baby killing"
"A 3rd party vote is a vote for Hillary" huh?!
"If you don't vote for Trump, you are a Pharisee"

 It didn't matter if you honestly felt you could not as a Christian vote for him, other Christians were determined to guilt or scare you into going against your convictions and conscience... even people in my own church.

 Don't believe in wearing ties? They understand that and won't try to change your mind.
Don't believe in drinking coffee? No worries.
Don't believe you should vote for Trump? You Pharisee! You must vote for him.!
(And yes, I know people who don't believe they should wear ties or drink coffee).

Untrue posts

 This is different from above. There are a lot of Trump supporters who will post anything that makes him look good, whether or not it is true. And yes, I have a couple of examples.

1) We can say Merry Christmas again since Trump is president. Newsflash: we were allowed to say Merry Christmas under Obama. It was never outlawed.

2) He is the best president ever! Even if I liked the man, I would find this statement untrue. I personally believe he is one of the worst when all is taken into consideration, but that is me. But take into consideration all of the presidents before him....come on, it just takes a little bit of thinking to know it isn't true.

3) He is the most pro-life president we ever have had. He still has not de-funded Planned Parenthood, and he signed a bill funding them. How can anyone say that with a straight face?

4) The Bible is his favorite book. Uh, no it isn't. The man did nothing remotely Christian until he needed the Christian vote, and has done nothing to warrant such a wild notion.

  Those are a few right off the top of my head, but there have been many stories and posts that are simply not true. I know...when Obama was president, I loved to share stories that showed how bad he was, but I found a lot that were not true after researching a bit. That might be something we all should do before so quickly sharing news stories.

The Biblical comparisons

 Trump has been compared to Bible characters such as David, Queen Esther, Sampson, and others. His impeachment trial was compared to the trial of Jesus. It is rather nauseating if you don't like the man.

Multiple Facebook posts

 Maybe it is wrong of me, but I am un-following a lot of people on Facebook who post constantly praising and defending Trump, or attacking anyone who dares oppose him. A while back, I counted the posts of a couple people. I went past 30 posts on both before I got to one that wasn't about him. Some of these people post dozens of pro-Trump posts a week...then they are upset if I do one against him a few times a month. Go figure. It is a true statement that was mocked that a lot of people praise Trump more on social media than they praise God.

 Here's the thing: I have people wanting me to shut up with my criticisms of him, yet they are posting constantly in support of him while bashing the politicians they don't like....are you starting to understand my frustration?

 I am not saying people shouldn't post post about him....but how many posts in a day and week are necessary? I was tempted to pick some celebrity and post as often about them as so many do about Trump to prove a point, but it would go over their heads, I am sure.

Snowflakes reporting

 Back around the election, one of my Facebook "friends" was reporting to my sister and brother in law who were not on Facebook about what I was saying about Trump on Facebook. It caused problems in my family, and if I knew who it was, I would most likely block them.

 More recently, one of my best friends at work (who is not on social media) told me that coworkers who are on Facebook are always calling her to complain about what I said about Trump. Really?! Are we in grade school?

Silence of his wrongs

 I wish I had kept a list of things, but maybe it is good that I didn't. There have been so many things Trump and his family have done that if it was someone with a D by their name, his supporters would be outraged....but since it is Trump, they are not only silent, they are outraged when someone points the wrong out. Go figure. Shoot the messenger. Though I can't remember a lot of them, I do remember a few:

Gun control: All Obama had to do was mention gun control, and we conservatives went nuts. Trump actually enacted some and wanted to do more, and there was silence. I brought them up to my former friend I mentioned previously. She defended him - of course - and asked if it directly affected me.

Ivanka: Trump's daughter has a lot of the same ideas as Hillary - and there are people wanting a Trump family presidency for the next several years....but yet conservatives don't care. Just this week, it came out that she was doing White House business on private servers just like Hillary did. But she is a Trump, so it doesn't matter.

 There are other Trumps working in the White House, all lifelong liberals too... and were it a president with a D by his name, conservatives would care about the nepotism.

Golfing: When Obama was president, it was a big issue how much he golfed. Trump has done it more, and cost the country far more than his supposed not taking a salary would cost.

Praising dictators: his relationship with and praise of the North Korea dictator amazed even me. The guy has had his own people killed. He isn't a good guy.

Twitter: The man acts like an immature brat on Twitter, attacking anyone who gave him a butt hurt.....but it seems the worse he acts, the more his supporters love him.

Double standards

Yeah, I have covered some, but it bears repeating: There are so many double standards with Trump that it is beyond ridiculous. There really isn't anything wrong for a president to do. It just matters what party he represents as to who will condemn it. There are things Obama did that conservatives criticized, but are OK with Trump doing, and there are things Obama did that liberals were OK with, but hate when Trump does it.

 Even in areas like Epstein. Conservatives love to connect Bill Clinton with Epstein and try the guilt by association angle, Sean Hannity especially. But yet Trump was good buddies with him too.....but that is hushed up.

The attempted censorship of criticism

 I guess the most frustrating thing for me is the attempts of people to silence criticisms of Trump. There seems to be an all too prevalent idea that criticism of anyone else is fine, but for some reason this very imperfect and corrupt billionaire should not be criticized. I honestly don't know if there is anything the man could do that would cause any of his supporters to criticize him. He did say he could shoot people on 5th ave in Manhattan and not lose any voters....it is scary that none of his voters seemed to take offense to that, and it is one time he did seem to tell the truth.

 In countries where there are dictators, criticism of that leader is not tolerated. Are we headed that way with Trump? Don't scoff if you are among those who won't criticize him or put up with criticism of him or his policies.

The over the top loyalty and defense

  When Trump is opposed or criticized, there are a lot of his supporters who immediately go on the attack. Defending him is more important than how they act or treat anyone. Loving your neighbor and other things like that don't matter.....defend Trump and shut that person up who dared speak up against him.

The over the top stuff

 This gets its own mention. I already talked about the comparisons to heroes of the Bible, but there have been other insane statements. There was the Trump/Pence thing where the trumpets in Revelation were compared to them.

 Over and over, we are told God chose him. So did God choose Obama too? Just because a certain amount of Americans like a president does not mean God chose him any more than presidents they don't like.

 And then there is the really wild stuff. Granted, it is like a really extreme fringe of Trump supporters, but they ARE Trump supporters.

 First, there is Jim Bakker saying if you don't like Trump, you aren't saved. But then one of my mom's cousins told me if I wasn't on Trump's side, I am not on God's.

 More recently is the Colberts, who I was not familiar with... and wish I still wasn't. On the Jim Bakker Show, they said if you oppose Trump, God will curse you, your children, and your children's children. Guess it is good I have no kids..... (Link here: https://deadstate.org/christian-activist-god-will-curse-the-children-and-grandchildren-of-people-who-opposed-trump/?fbclid=IwAR396_vnazaqUtXBbK9lYLVdW7H6SPGHaVZWO3RF8iFrwOquSa24LYHpqds)

  And there have been others.

The whitewashed political past

  People crack me up when they go on about how Trump isn't a politician and is going to drain the swamp, and other crazy talk like that.

 The facts:
Trump donated to liberals and their causes for years. He has been involved in politics for years. He helped fill that swamp with his money.

He was friends with the Clintons for years. He defended Bill during the sex accusations and Hillary during Benghazi. He attacked the women that accused Bill. He said Hillary would make a great president.

 The man did so much for liberals, but that is whitewashed and hushed up.

The gay issue

 I have thought a lot about this stuff, and I think another reason the Trump version of Christianity frustrates me so much, is because of my struggle. It really isn't easy being attracted to the same sex and believing what the Bible says. And I know how so many evangelical Christians feel about it. I know if I had ever truly came out as gay and lived that lifestyle openly, how Christians would react....yet so many Christians who are horrified by that sin have totally embraced Trump with all of his moral failures.

The push-back

 I criticized Obama freely for 8 years with upsetting only a few people. I even warned a coworker at the time who loved him that she might not want me to accept her friend request, but she said she could handle my criticisms of him. Spoiler alert: she couldn't. What pushed her over the edge was my reply to something she said that I think was election night 2012: "If you all think you can do better than him, why don't you run?!" Me: "Anyone could do better than him." :)

 Anyway, too many Trump supporters have this manic urge to defend him no matter what they have to do or say, and with no thought to how their words can affect the other person. Too many of the people in my life care more about protecting and defending the man they voted for than they care for me. Or at least their actions and reactions would make one assume.

 I was bullied a lot in school. The more I have seen Trump in action and how he treats people, the more of a bully he is in my eyes. And yet there are so many Christians protecting the bully on the playground and acting like he is some Savior.

 And THAT also bothers me. The man is a filthy rich politician. Yet he is the only one standing between us and socialism, ruin, etc. I think he has proven that too many Christians' faith is in the wrong things and people.

My faith

  I'll end with this: Everything added up to do with the 2016 election, Trump, and the actions and reactions of so many Christians even in my own church really damaged my faith. Shouldn't we be better than this? Shouldn't Christians act differently than the world in all areas......even politics?

 I don't know why it all affected me so much. I do know during the election time, I was really discouraged. Struggling with same-sex attractions is lonely and more difficult than anyone can ever imagine who has not been there themselves. Are there worse things? Yes, there are....but this is MY struggle, my cross.

 Trump came along, and the more I learned about him the more disgusted I was that he seemed to be winning the nomination...and then he won it. Some of the people who had fought him the hardest suddenly became the worst at attacking we who were not on the "Trump train." Four years later, I am still convinced I did the right thing by voting 3rd party...but I wish I had been silent. As I took a lot of heat from God's people, and saw how so many suddenly didn't care about the morals of a politician and other things we used to care about, it did damage my faith. I have always been more vulnerable than anyone knows, and I took it very badly, especially when those closest to me tried to silence me and would not understand my need to take a stand.

 I have been angry and bitter, and have been tempted a lot in the last 4 years to walk away from God and the church, and have been tempted more than ever to embrace these attractions and sexual desires that have plagued and hounded me for so long. I lost faith in Christianity, in the Republican party, in conservatism, in the church in general, and specifically the holiness church. Anyone who is very political at all and responds in any less than loving way to those they disagree with cannot honestly say they are being like Jesus, obeying his commands, and loving people as He said. Harsh? Maybe...but it is the truth. And yes, I include myself in that. It has all made me very angry and bitter, and the more people have tried to silence me and put me down as they praise and defend a corrupt billionaire politician, the worse it has gotten.

 I don't like who and what I have become.....largely because of politics. Granted, I have never liked much about me anyway..if anything.

 A revelation hit me a few weeks ago that I have been thinking on that includes a few thoughts:
God is not a Republican or Democrat. He isn't political.

I  may be human scum to Donald Trump, but not to Jesus.

God doesn't trash any politician and then expect people to not trash one he loves.....for He loves everyone and does not trash them. Even Pelosi.

God understands why I couldn't vote for DT. He isn't mad or angry at me for it.

  Maybe it is a good thing to lose one's faith in the things I listed. It has made me realize how much I need to change, and that no one is perfect and everyone is likely to let you down at some point. Even the church. But God? He never lets you down, and is always there. He is where our faith needs to be, not in political parties, political viewpoints, or even in a church.

  It IS sad that we let politics divide us....but I don't think the answer is for those you disagree with to be silent. We all have the right to our politician opinions and to voice them, but too many of us can't handle having our politics or politician disagreed with or criticized.

Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers. I am not sure it is possible to be political and be a peacemaker, or to love people as Jesus commanded.....so maybe we would all be better off backing off.

 We are supposed to be living and preparing for another world. America is not our eternal home, but I fear we almost tend to live like it is.

 Me? I am going to work harder at doing my part. That may mean un-following people whose social media posts are 99% political. (not much of an exaggeration)

 There is so much good we can use social media for. It is sad that so many Christians use it for politics.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

An extra day

  Ever wish you had an extra day? If so, what would you do with it? Catch up on laundry and housework? Read? Binge on Netflix?

  Well, guess what.... you do have an extra day. We all do. This is leap year, a year when an extra day is tacked onto the month we are in, February. It is also the year that women are supposedly allowed to ask men out, instead of the way it has been done traditionally. That actually happened to me 3 leap years ago. I have no idea if it was because of leap year, but a young lady at least 10 years younger - possibly more like 13 - asked me out on a date. She even knew my issues and why I was single, and was still interested in me. Did I mention she was blind? Just kidding....but it was a surprise. And I said no, because I knew it would never work out.

  Four years ago, I penned (typed?) a similar blog about having an extra day. I decided then to do what I am going to do with my extra day this year. Seriously, if we have an extra day, shouldn't we do something different or special? Granted, the extra day is the 29th, and I will be doing something special on the 24th. And the 25th.

  The Amish part of Ohio is about an hour from me. Well, since I moved, it may be a little further. There is an inn there called the Dutch Host Inn that has what they call package deals during their slower times. The idea is to draw more people in than they would normally have. My one sister and her husband had done it a few times, and my parents also had done it. I looked it up, and the prices were for couples. So, I called and asked if one person could do it, and not only could they....the inn knocked $10 off for one person. So I made the reservation, went, and had a jolly time.

 The prices are different, depending on when in the week you go. Monday and Tuesday are $94.95. $84.95 for me :) - Thursday and Saturday are $104.95, and Friday is $114.95. The price includes one night's stay at the inn, plus a bunch of free stuff. I have done it a few times now, and I try to get there on Monday morning around 9:00. I check in, and get my packet of coupons  for places all over the area, covering different towns.

 This year, this package inclcludes:

 Breakfast at your choice of 3 different restaurants

Supper (or dinner for you odd people) at your choice of 3 different restaurants

A pound of cheese

A pound of ham off the bone

A loaf of bread

2 fry pies

1/2 gallon of apple cider

9 oz jar of jam or jelly

A bottle of BBQ sauce or seasoning

9 oz jar of Christmas jam

1 pound bag of brownie mix

a pair of socks

2 large sleeves of flavored popcorn

a personalized bookmark or pen

2 leather coasters

2 engraved wooden coasters

a kitchen utensil

a jar of mustard (yuk)

a ball candle

20% off purchase at a Christian bookstore

20% off purchase at Collectors Decanters and Steins (doubt I'll use it, though I did get a couple of magnets there once)

  Each of those items is from a different business. I have added up approximate totals, and it comes to more than what I pay for the room. Some things, I know what they cost. The BBQ sauce is $7.99. The two meals come close to $30. It is well worth it.

 I love the area, and am hoping the weather is nice enough that I can park and wander the streets of Berlin, my favorite town over there. There is a used bookstore in Millersburg, OH I discovered on my last trip over there, and I am planning on going there again.

 I always hit the majority of places Monday. You can't get in your room til 2, so I head back to the inn around that time. I relax, look over my treasures I have accumulated, then head for Mrs Yoders Kitchen in Mt Hope, and get their buffet......which has awesome fried chicken on it. I then head back to the inn and read and/or watch a movie.

 I get up Tuesday morning and hit the Dutch Valley Restaurant for their breakfast buffet. It is the closest of the 3 restaurants available for the free breakfast, visible from the inn. I then go out and hit the remaining places I haven't been to. The place offering the free fry pies is not open on Mondays, so I have to save it for Thursday.

  Maybe I am the only one who needs an extra day, a day to get away from it all. Life has been rough lately. My depression is worse than ever, and that is with medications. The way so many have acted towards me for daring to oppose a president with an R by his name has made it worse, along with the constant praise and defense of such a corrupt bully. No one may understand why and how, but the whole politics and Trump over Christianity and how people are treated has torpedoed my faith. People in my own church who won't shop on Sunday or watch TV, along with a lot of outward stuff, don't care about honesty and attack anyone who disagrees with DT...false accusations and attempts to squash freedoms of speech abound from those who are supposed to be like Jesus, but act far from it. I have no confidence in my church or its teachings anymore, and evangelical Christianity has been hijacked by politics and a corrupt billionaire. Christians defend and are OK with adultery, strip clubs, sexual assault, vulgarity, etc.....and even what Trump is guilty of but got acquitted for.....yet still rail against the sin I battle daily....and for what? False accusations and attacks on me and others for daring to hold a politician to the same standards they used to. Losing my faith in my church, its teachings, evangelical Christianity, and the Republican Party hasn't all been bad.....it has shown me that Jesus is all that matters. Being a true Christian isn't anything to do with my church, its teachings, American Christianity, conservatism, etc....it is about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So many Christians in my life have no idea what I am battling daily. If they knew, I hope they would change and stop the false accusations and lies......but the blind loyalty to a corrupt politician is an obsession so radical, that I fear nothing would change. I have true concerns about how obsessed so many Christians are with DT, to the point that defending him is more important than being like Jesus and how they treat people.

 Didn't mean to get political, but that stuff is taking a toll on me, and getting away from it is important and necessary.

 I need to get away from all that. Yeah, I have un-followed a lot of people and political pages......but I need a day for just me that I focus on having fun and mental health. I love the area over where I am going, and I love to shop. Hopefully my tax refund will have come by then, which will make it even better.

 February 24th can't come too soon.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

December stuff

   It is almost scary how fast time goes. It seems the year barely started, and here we are 10 days from Christmas. Are you ready for it? I pretty much am. I need to mail my cards out, and wrap a few gifts. Most of my gifts are wrapped.

 I am going to attempt to keep this post shorter than my last few, and actually do have a few things on my mind. I may even publish it the same day I start it...a small miracle, if that happens.

1) Protecting the children.

  A Facebook friend did a post...actually several.....where she was ranting about adults attacking kids, and how kids should be protected and be off limits.

 Her main focus seems to be Greta Thunberg. Greta is a 16 year old Swedish environmental activist on climate change. In my opinion, she screams at everyone telling us a bunch of climate change crap that is baloney, as most of what those people say. She has been getting attacked on social media, and people are claiming it is an injustice and that she should be left alone since she is a kid.

  Sarah Palin's kids were cruelly attacked back when she was truly conservative and relative, yet Obama's kids were hands off.

 Here is my take: Kids like Greta are out there on the public stage spewing their bogus ideas, telling the rest of us how we should live. If she doesn't want adults firing back, then she should shut up and wait til she is an adult to play with adults. And yeah, no one needs to be brutal, but she is just another crazed climate change nut, and if she is going to scream at adults with her crap, then she is fair game.

2) A president for all people

 I have noticed similarities between Trump and Obama, and another occurred to me this week. I was actually thinking about Reagan, then my mind went to George W Bush, and I realized a similarity between those two men.

   Reagan and Bush were both presidents to the whole country. Think about it. I don't remember either man attacking citizens of the other party. I don't think they even attacked politicians in the other country. Bush was hated by liberals, but he never fought back, and thus didn't further divide the country. (And as much as I dislike the Clintons, I don't think Bill attacked the voters.)

   Now onto Obama and Trump. Obama was the first black president, and he could have united our country....but he was very divisive. He attacked conservatives, whites, Christians, Republicans, and cops. He constantly attacked any politician who didn't kiss his butt, and in my opinion divided this country like it never was.

 Trump came along, and further divided the country......but he also attacks those in the party he claims to be part of who do not support him (that would be people like me).  And of course attacks liberals. He went a step further than Obama and divided conservatives and Christians.

 Obama nor Trump wanted to be president to everyone. They focus on making their supporters happy and accomplishing their agenda. Disagree with me? If they wanted to be president to all Americans and truly cared about all Americans, then neither would attack those who disagree with them and would work at not being so divisive.

 I wish we still elected men like Reagan president. A president for all people, not just those who agreed with him.

3) The glue incident

 For reasons that will be obvious, I am copying and pasting my Facebook status from yesterday:

 I was getting ready for bed Friday night and was about to shave, so I removed my shirt. (that information is important). For some stupid reason, I decided to do a quick handy man job....which did not end well because of further stupidity.

That stupidity ended in my stomach and both hands being covered in very hot glue. I immediately put my hands under cold water and dumped a glass of water on my stomach. I wasn't sure what to do. I feared the burns were serious, and there I stood in a pair of sweat pants with most of my stomach and my hands covered in the goo. I figured I should go to the hospital, but wasn't sure how to make that happen. I thought about calling my parents, but if I picked up my phone, that would have put a whole new meaning to "glued to my phone."

After panicking for a few minutes, I coated my hands in Vaseline and put sandwich baggies on my hands. I managed to pull an old t-shirt on, grab a jacket, my phone, and wallet and headed for the hospital I work at. I drove without my seat-belt, as I was trying not to have my t-shirt glued to my stomach.

I managed to get to the hospital without incident, and was seen quickly, though I was there a few hours. The burns aren't as bad as I feared, so no burn unit is necessary. They tried to get the glue off with mineral oil, but no luck. They finally sent me home after a tetanus shot and giving me cream for the burns.

The damages:
All of my fingertips are burned except my "pinkies"
My middle finger on my right hand is worst, and has a huge blister.
My left thumb comes in second pain-wise, and has a good sized blister...and fights for first place....it's throbbing at the moment.

Ring finger on my right also has a good sized blister.
Slight burns on my right hand.

Stomach: approximately a 6 by 6 area covered in glue, made all the more fun by me being a hairy guy. Parts of my stomach are very tender because of burns.

I bought nail polish remover with acetone, and have gotten some of the glue off my hands.....but it is no picnic peeling glue off burns.

It isn't very easy doing much...and I have typed this with my fingers that don't hurt as much.

I called one of my bosses last night (Friday)  and called off, as I had no idea what the night would hold. A coworker volunteered to go in for me tomorrow (Sunday) for me, so I don't have to be at work again til Tuesday.

It is painful, and I have no idea how I am going to get the glue off my hands and even more my stomach...one male nurse told me there is a less painful way to get a wax....but I am thankful the burns were not bad enough for a burn center, and that it didn't get my face.

And just trust me on this...it was a dumb mistake that caused a small bottle of gorilla glue to explode on me.

  Some of my fingertips are still painful and I still have blisters on a few. It is made more painful by my trying to peel glue from burned areas. I did work for over an hour on my stomach and managed to get all of the glue off...a 4 inch by 6 inch spot. And there was a lot. It wasn't just a few specks, it was solid, thick in the middle, and thinner on the edges. And yeah...it hurt.

 It is still difficult to do stuff that requires much dexterity...unscrewing lids, typing, doing buttons and zippers....etc. Another blister appeared on my right pointer finger, and I accidentally popped the one on my left thumb, and also the left middle finger....which I don't remember being there.

 My parents felt bad for me and brought me a pizza last night from one of my favorite places and played a game of Scrabble with me. Hopefully everything heals up well and fast.

 I AM very thankful that it wasn't worse, and that I didn't get my face.

4) Susan

  Even at this stage of my life, I struggle to believe people actually like me. Does one ever totally get over that kind of thinking? Some part of me knows there are people who genuinely like me. Another part of me struggle to believe that, and  yet another feels people will only like me if I line up to their wishes and expectations....like voting like they want me to vote.

  There is a urologist who comes into my doctor's office 2-3 times a week to see patients. He has a super nice nurse/receptionist who is in her early 60's. Since my doctor's office is in the hospital, I see her often. She is a person who genuinely seems to like me.  She found out at one point that I decorate my bedroom in patriotic/Americana decor, and started bringing me in all sorts of stuff: pillows, a metal star, a bear, and even a quilt. She gave me banana bread once and I got home made apple butter for Christmas from her last year. She asked me last week if I like pickles, so I am guessing she is going to give me some for Christmas.

 She came in last Wednesday carrying a small garbage bag, and set a Christmas pillow on my desk. I assumed she was giving it to me, but said "that's nice." She pulled another pillow out that had an old fashioned Santa on, and asked me which one I wanted. If you know me very well, you can guess which one I picked. :)

 And I repay her by helping her. She has back problems, and sometimes pulls up at the door because she has a lot to carry in. I go out and get her stuff, including her purse, and take it up to the office for her. A few months ago, she said "You are such a good guy, I don't understand why you aren't married." So yeah, I guess she likes me. :)

5) Merry Christmas vs happy holidays

  Every year there is a big hub bub about people saying happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas, and talk of a "war on Christmas." I have seen a lot of people mock the idea, and others insist there is a war.

 Whether or not you want to call it a war on Christmas or not, there has been a move to do away with using the word Christmas. There are schools that have banned it being called Christmas, and other examples of the push to do away with it being a religious holiday.

  Here are my thoughts:

No business should tell their employees they can't say Merry Christmas, nor should they force them to say it.

Any business making money off of Christmas should not do away with the word "Christmas" in their ads, nor call their Christmas music "holiday music."

 As for me, I will say Merry Christmas, forever and always.

***And I am going to mention a pet peeve of mine: I hate, hate, hate to see "Xmas", but what I hate worse are Christians trying to excuse it by saying the "X" means Christ in Greek or some crap like that. Even if it is true, the people using "Xmas" do not have that in mind. So take your "Xmas" and explanation for it and lock it in a box to never be heard from again. :)

6) The CD dilemma 

 I have a lot of CDs. That is most of them in the pic above. There are more upstairs. The one on the right is all Christmas, except the bottom 2 1/2 shelves which are Christmas music DVDs and other Christmas DVDs. As you can see, they take up a fair amount of wall space.

  Here is my dilemma: I rarely listen to CDs when I am home. I have a lot of music on my computer....like 8450 songs. I have my stereo hooked up to my pc and play music on my pc through the stereo, so no reason for a CD. The exception is when I get a new CD.

 I used to carry several CDs in my car, but since the purchase of my Chevy Cruz 2 1/2 years ago, I have been able to listen to music from my iPod, so I rarely take CDs....except new ones.

 So here is the dilemma: is there any reason to take up 58 inches of wall space in my living room for what I rarely use? But what would I put there, and where would I put the CDs? I just measured, and the wider shelf would fit fine at the back of my bedroom closet. (I have a bookshelf already in the spare bedroom closet).

 As for the Christmas CDs.....since I only use them a couple of months out of the year, I could put them in plastic crates. The shelf they are on will hold mass market paperbacks. Moving the wider shelf would free up 33 inches.

 I may explore the idea after Christmas. If you are reading this, feel free to offer an opinion. :)

 And yeah...maybe I need to thin the herd down too.

7) Reading goal

 I did say I'd try to keep this shorter, so I'll end with an update on my reading goal. I had set a goal of 200 for 2019, and passed that up months ago.

 I am currently at 478 books.......and may attempt to hit 500. That is 22 books in 14 days. I may be able to do that. We will see. Remember, I don't have a life. :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Rants and ramblings

  Today is Wednesday, November 20. It is shortly after 10 pm, and I haven't done much since getting home from work around 5:20. Part of my evening was spent lying on my couch and listening to Christmas music by the lights of the Christmas tree and other Christmas lights in the room.

  To be honest, I haven't really felt like doing much. I am off tomorrow, so I am in no hurry to go to bed. I am actually a night owl, preferring to stay up late and sleep in, but when I start work at 6:30 am, I can't be staying up past midnight like I will be doing tonight.

  Blogging is something I finally decided I felt like doing, so here I am about to embark on another fascinating look into the mind of Mark Buzard (sarcasm intended). I have a few things on my mind, and it is possible and likely others will come up as I share my thoughts and invaluable (to me) opinions. :)

**I started this blog post on November 20, and just ended it on December 11....so this is 3 weeks of "stuff". And yeah, that means it is long. If you are one of the few who read my blog, pick and choose. If you read it all, you deserve a special award.

1) Styles

 A new tree skirt got me to thinking about styles. I have had a plain Jane green felt cheap tree skirt for years.....like at least 20. Since I put up two trees this year, I kind of needed two tree skirts. I love the old red truck decor and look, but I could only find them on line, and they are pricey. I checked at Walmart and found a different one that I liked for $19.98.....more than I wanted to pay, but I figured it is only the second one I have bought in my entire life, I might as well splurge a bit. As you can see above, it has a car pulling a small camper trailer, and there is a tree on the car. The message says "Oh, what fun!" It isn't the red truck, but it is me. It fits my style.

   I am glad we are all so different in our tastes and styles. What a boring life it would be if we were all the same. Is that something God worked out, that people would be different in things like that? What causes us to like certain things, and dislike others?

 I have long ago established that I am not your typical guy or bachelor, and why. My "bachelor pad" doesn't look like what one might expect in a bachelor pad. I am clean and fairly neat. My dining room and table are a slight disaster right now since Christmas gifts are scattered all over, but that is not the norm for me. I don't have empty pizza boxes lying around, nor do dishes pile up in my sink. I make my bed most days, complete with 5 decorative pillows.

 My style is my own:

I like to decorate with lighthouses and other nautical decor

I like books, so there are books and bookshelves all over

I like the red truck look, and love to decorate for Christmas.

My bedroom is patriotic/Americana

I don't throw towels on the bathroom floor.

I hang my clothes up, and throw ones I wore in the clothes basket

I hate to dust. (so is dust part of my style?)

I have two teddy bears and two snowmen as part of my Christmas decor.

My tree is absent of the typical glass ornaments (the last 2 years). It is covered with a montage of nautical stuff, lighthouses, superheroes, Mario, red trucks, lanterns, and different rustic type ornaments.

I prefer jeans, short sleeved button down shirts, and sandals.

I have a plain grey sofa and brown recliner in my living room, set off by a long black stand with storage.

I like Southern Gospel music and some country

  I have my own style, and you have yours. And isn't it amazing that God gave us all such different tastes, likes, and dislikes?

2) Frank Loesser, what were you thinking?!

  Do you know who Frank Loesser is? He wrote one of the worst Christmas songs to ever be written in 1944. I didn't realize the song was that old: "Baby It's Cold Outside." It has been recorded as a duet more times than the last two presidents have lied combined. I think the worst is Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart. Or was. The song has reached a new low.

  Last year, the political correct idiots attacked the song. Yeah, it is a horrible song....but they attacked it because of the "Me too" movement, and claimed it encouraged rape or some stupid stuff like that. So...singers Kelly Clarkson and John Legend decided to see how irrelevant they could make themselves become, and recorded more politically correct lyrics to it. Here's a thought: let's stop playing the song because it is an awful song.

 Political correctness is stupid. What next, banning God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen because it doesn't tell women to rest, or would the feminists be offended if it did tell them what to do.......

 **Ironically, the Fifty Shades of Grey movies and books don't seem to be offending the same crowd offended by a stupid song.

3) The invasion of politics 

 Ben Shaprio is a genius, and one of my favorite conservative writers. He wrote a great article today titled "How to disunite America." It was mostly about Chik fil a and the way the left has fought and bullied them. Here is part of it that I thought was really good:

"But there’s something even more troubling going on here. In a free country, of course we get to choose which businesses to patronize. But is it good for the culture for us to segregate our business based on examining the politics of those who own our companies? Do we really want a country where we shop based on political affiliation? Where every decision, every day, is rooted in partisanship?

America’s social fabric is already fraying. Politics has invaded everything from education to sports, from movies to fashion. Should politics now determine where we buy a chicken sandwich? A country that punishes restaurants because its founders don’t openly celebrate same-sex marriage is a country destined to bifurcate. And that’s pretty fowl."

  And he is right. It is sad how so much is influenced by politics and political correctness. My favorite superhero is Captain America. Chris Evans, long time Captain America actor, is retiring from the role, and will be replaced by a black guy. There are other TV roles that have had whites replaced by blacks, or men replaced by women... and characters suddenly becoming gay. And don't get me wrong....I have no problem with black people or black superheroes. I loved the Black Panther movie, which had a black superhero and mostly black cast. But why must we drag politics and political correctness into everything?

  I talked about Chik fil a caving to their longtime LGBQT bullies in my last post...which they seem to be backtracking on now....in my post, I was not at all telling people to stop eating there. My whole point was that the reason for their huge Christian and conservative support was because of the boycotts and because of their Biblical values, and if they caved to the LGBQT, the reasons for our support would cease to exist. No matter what, I wouldn't completely stop eating there. If I go to the one my nephew works at and he is with me when I pay, I get his employee discount. Pretty cool :)

  I believe the most important issue to Christians and anyone with a conscience is saving the unborn from being murdered in the womb. If I know a business or organization is funding the murder of innocent babies, that would be a business I would try to avoid.

 But how far should we take that? I would imagine almost every business out there is giving money to something we would oppose. Does it make sense to even try, and does it really help anything? Does it make our country more united, or more divided? And if we aren't consistent with everything else in our life, does it make any sense at all?

 The LGBQT mob has shown how horribly people can act when a business or people dare disagree with them. Do we want to be like that?

4) The trans apocalypse 

  The whole transgender thing is getting out of hand. There was a video shared of a boy trying to be a girl crowing that he can now go in the girl's bathroom and locker rooms at his school because the idiots on the school board voted that way. A girl from the school was in tears over the decision.

 There are constantly biological males becoming "trans" and participating in women's sports and beating the women.

 Why are't people rising up against this insanity? Where are the parents of the girls in these schools? Where are the feminists when these sports crap happen? Is everyone so afraid of the LGBQT crowd that they are going to lie down and let them do whatever they want unchallenged? Has the LGBQT mob grown too powerful?

 Here is the blunt truth: You cannot change your gender. Any attempt to do so is to go against God's design, and only increases the chances of suicide. Yes, I feel badly for those who struggle in this area, but they need help.....not encouragement in their delusion. And why on earth is everyone bowing and surrendering to a small group of people while saying "screw you!" to the majority? Why do the feelings and rights of those outside the LGBQT matter? Why are their rights always mowed under for the rights of the LGBQT?

  I am attracted to other guys, and have struggled in that area for years....so I get the feelings that a lot of gay people have, and how the church and Christians have hurt so many. But we have gone so far beyond tolerance and it not being our business what people do in their bedrooms. I believe 100% that the militant part of the LGBQT crowd wants to destroy Christianity, and want to completely silence any dissent or disagreement....and especially anyone daring to say it is wrong or sinful.

 The LGBQT crowd has screamed about intolerance for years, but they have become what they hate: intolerant. And bullies.

 Will anyone dare stand up against their agenda?

5) Which is better, to not love, or love and have the love lost?

  I spent years faking that I didn't want to get married, but it was just a cover so people wouldn't question or suspect why I have remained single. I have come to the point that I realize even married people and dating people can be lonely, and a relationship is no guarantee against loneliness. I have always been disgusted by divorce. Here are tons of people fortunate enough to be able to marry and have families, and they mess it up. Then there is me: desperately wishing I could have a family, but doomed to never have that.

 Is it better to never love and be loved, then to have it and lose it? There is a man I don't personally know, but know of, and I also know a lot of his relatives. I don't believe he even had a serious relationship until he was in his late 30's. He married about a year ago at the age of 37, and lost his wife in a tragic car accident a week ago. Would he have been better off to have never dated and married than to be going through what he is going through now? Would those suffering the loss of a spouse through the evils of divorce be better off to have never dated and married?

 No one knows. Life is lonely, but I'll never have to deal with the loss of a special loved one in my life. Am I better off for it?

6) The danger of politics

  I have discussed on my blog before how I believe Christians are too political. I have been seeing some things that truly concern me, but it seems that anyone who voted for Trump and support him are completely oblivious. Being on the outside of my political party gives me a unique view on things I may not see if I toed the party line.

  It seems Donald Trump has become more than a president to many in the Republican Party. I don't say this to be rude or ignorant, but too many Christians act like Donald Trump is their savior, and not their president. There have been several referring to Trump as "the chosen one" lately. One lady shared that God was grooming Trump for years to be in the place he is in. Social media is flooded with what I have taken to call Trump apologetics. No man deserves the blind loyalty, constant praise and adulation, and over the top defense that he is getting from Christians. Too many are more vocal about praising him than they are God.....and God is the one they are supposed to be serving.

 And truth has ceased to matter. If a post makes Trump look good, or makes a Democrat look bad, Christians will share the daylights out of it and also "like" it. Example:

  A Christian shared this, and it was liked by others. But is it true? No, it is not. Obama was a horrid president, but he never banned saying Christmas. In fact, there are videos of him on YouTube saying "Merry Christmas", nor is Trump taking a stand the way the meme says he is. The meme is an outright lie, but since Trump is so loved by his supporters and it makes him look good, it will be shared a lot. There was one last year saying there were no Christmas trees in the White House while the Obamas were there, but now there are since Trump is there.....but that also is not true.

  Has politics so invaded Christianity that truth doesn't matter anymore? There were times I was going to share something about Obama, did some research, and found it wasn't true.....so I took it down. I think I may even have shared some things I took down after finding out they weren't true. No one is perfect, but Christians should be really careful in this area.

 Below is another eye roll meme:

    Now consider this logically. Trump was a liberal holding views opposite everything conservatives believed before 2016. Even if he truly changed all of his views (which I don't believe), do you really and seriously believe his kids also did? They couldn't even vote for him in the Republican primaries because they were registered Democrats....something I still find hilarious and awesome. They have been lifelong liberals. Ivanka has been trying to implement policies that are just like Hillary's. Her husband has all kinds of liberal ties and has his hands in some not so good and honest things. But some Trump supporters idolize Trump and his family so much that they don't even consider what kind of people they are or what their policies are....they are putting their hope and everything else that belongs to God in the Trump family. Barron Trump is like 13? No one has a clue to what his polices and values will be when he is old enough to be president. To want him (or his siblings) to be president because he is a Trump is complete idiocy, and is how the liberals act that we think are so horrible.  Besides, we do not have nor want a monarchy.

   Even the Make America Great Again slogan gets to me. Even if Trump isn't the godless corrupt arrogant narcissist I consider him to be, no man is going to make America great again. Only God and a return to Biblical values and principles will do that. I honestly don't believe a true Christian should be going around parroting that phrase or wearing the hat. It just shows that Trump has become an idol and/or god to many in the Republican Party. It is truly alarming to anyone who is paying attention at all.

 Here's another one below that bothers me. (OK, there are a lot of pro-Trump memes and posts that bother me). I don't comment on every Trump meme or post I see....I'd never be done - but I do on some, and I did on this. It was posted by a Christian friend who posts way more about Trump than God. My comment was "Shouldn't the best part of waking up be that God is in your heart and that you are a Christian?" We argue a lot about politics, so she is used to it. But seriously. You may think the meme is OK and I am being dumb about it, but am I? Should a Christian post the best part of waking up is something so earthly as having any person as their president, no matter what he is like?

  I could post more memes and give more examples of the over the top Trump mania, but I won't. Besides, I don't think it matters to many Christians who support Trump. It seems to me they are more comfortable and OK with having doubts about God and questioning God, than questioning Trump or expressing doubts about him. I don't call Trump the Republican messiah just to get a rise out of people. He truly has too high of a place of important in the lives and loyalties of Christians in the Republican Party. And I am not trying to be rude or ignorant. Trump supporters are unwilling and/or able to express any doubts or criticisms about and of him....yet I know of many Christians who have admitted to having doubts about God at different times in their lives.

  The way Christians acted towards me for not voting for Trump, for still opposing him, and the over the top adulation, etc they have towards him has truly caused my faith to take serious hits. Is this true Christianity: badgering people to vote like you, deleting or blocking them for daring to criticize your politician, filling your social media with praise and adulation of that politician while putting down anyone who dares disagree with him? Is politics and winning elections more important than how we treat people and make them feel? Is it being like Jesus to be this partisan and political? And does the average Christian even care?

  And yeah, I have my own faults and am not even close to perfect....I just hope and pray I never act with any person the way so many act with Trump. Obama and Trump have both shown how easily the anti-Christ will fool even Christians..especially if he comes across as a political savior.

7) Black Friday

  I went shopping at 2 pm on Black Friday with my youngest sister and her husband, my three nephews, youngest 2 nieces, and the youngest one's boyfriend. We met in Boardman, and I carpooled with the nieces and the boyfriend. My oldest niece and her boyfriend met us later for supper at Steak and Shake.

 We had a blast, and I bought an air fryer, something I have been interested in for a while. I used it a couple of times already, and like it.

8) The airfryer

  I have been interested in getting an air fryer for a while, and found a good deal on a 5.5 quart on Black Friday. Regular price: $120.00. Sale price: $49.99 with a $20 rebate, final cost: $29.99. I have only had it since Friday, but have used it 4-5 times already. I did chicken, pork chops, ham,  french fries, and potatoes in it.  I love it.

**OK, it is not December 7, and I have used it even more. I love it more and think it is going to be a serious relationship.

9) Will morals matter in 2020?

   A friend did a post today thanking Pete Buttigieg for making evangelicals care about morals again. I admit the post was in response to a comment I made on a political post about Pete. I commented with the popular slogan of 2016: "we aren't electing a pastor." I am not trying to be rude or ignorant, but I have wondered ever since the 2016 election what effect it will have on moral issues in the future. Can any Trump supporter truly oppose anything immoral in a political candidate without being a hypocrite and having a double standard?

  I mentioned it before, but two atheist friends of a friend of mine commented and said after seeing the way Christians defended and supported Trump, they don't want to hear a Christian bring up morals.

 I tend to compartmentalize Trump voters.

a) First you have the ones I believe need to repent: They are the ones responsible for picking the most liberal and most morally reprehensible candidate for the GOP nomination. They are responsible for giving us two evils to pick between on election day, unless you did as I did and voted third party.

b) Then there are the ones who voted for Trump in the main election because he was on the Republican ticket, and they feared his buddy Hillary winning.

c) Thirdly, there is the enthusiastic Trump supporter, who didn't necessarily support him before he won the nomination, but once he did, they became an instant Trump apologist.

d) Then there is the quiet Trump voter. They voted for him, but steer clear of politics on social media, and most likely off of it. My friend Avis is one of those. She devotes her social media to encouraging and uplifting posts. I only saw one political post from her that I remember, and that was a few months ago when Trump announced he had matchless wisdom. She called him out for that. Imagine if we were all like her and used our social media to glorify God and encourage others. What a novel thought.

e) Lastly, the Trump apologist. This one can encompass some of the others. This person constantly defends everything Trump does and says, and spends their time on social media praising him and putting down anyone who dares criticize him.

   I said all that to say I do not lump all Trump voters and supporters together. But let's refresh Trump's shortcomings that have been defended by way too many Christians in the Republican Party. And before I do, let me say there is no way the man is a Christian. The road is too narrow for the way he lives and the way he treats people...... and come on, a conversion right at election time, and James Dobson had to announce it instead of Trump himself?

a) His adulteries. He cheated on at least two of his wives, and I believe bragged about it.

b) Strip clubs in his casinos. I seriously thought this would be a deal breaker, but nope. It didn't matter to evangelical Christians.

c) He bragged about grabbing women by their genitals. Which is sexual assault in any book.

d) He paid off a prostitute.

e) He is vulgar

f) He is dishonest

g) He promised to further gay rights, was for genderless bathrooms, and appeared at a LGBQT rally for him where he held a flag "LGBQT for Trump."

h) His current wife cheated with him on his previous wife, and posed in lesbian pornography.

i) calling we #nevertrump conservatives "human scum". (Yeah, I had to put that in).

j) He was good buddies with Jeffrey Epstein. I only add that because so many like to point out Bill Clinton's friendship with him, yet ignore Trump's

   I could come up with more, but those are the highlights. Now look at those and imagine a politician with a D by their name was guilty of all of those. Can you honestly say Christians in my party would be silent about all that? Would they defend the candidate? Would they say "judge not!" "We aren't electing a pastor!", etc. You and I both know that all would be ammunition against a candidate with a D by their name. Conservatives are still bringing up what Bill Clinton did. Imagine if Hillary or Michelle Obama had done any porn, especially lesbian. Would my fellow conservatives be saying they are classy?

 So why is it all OK for Trump? Why is the indefensible defensible and OK for evangelicals? And how on earth can they bring the moral focus back when it comes to the other party? And why do Christians seem to love him more the worse he acts and the more he attacks people?

  I honestly can't see how any Trump supporter can come up with any moral reason to not vote for Pete. Policies? Yeah, though I take issue with a lot of Trump's policies too. My reasons for opposing him are many.

  And before you get your underwear in a twist, I am not calling all those who voted for and support Trump a hypocrite. All I am saying, is evangelicals who defend him and praise him so much, had better be careful what they call out the Democrats for. My party elected the most liberal and most morally reprehensible candidate to ever run on the GOP ticket. That will have repercussions in future elections.

    One more thing: It is amazing how many Christians fill their social media with Trump praise and defense. It is like every other post, or every post some days. I challenged one guy this evening to post more about Jesus than Trump. I doubt he will do it, for it is almost like a disease. They must praise and defend him. And seriously, a lot of them do praise Trump and defend him more than they do God. Isn't that cause for alarm or concern? It seems like too many Christians almost consider Trump to be a political savior. Only God is deserving of that much praise and adulation. A lot of churches, mine included, have times when people stand up and give a testimony of what God has been doing for them.....it seems there are way more testimonies by too many Christians on social media about what Trump is doing for them....more than they testify about God.

  Lastly, I'll let you in on a secret: I try not to argue on social media, and defense of Trump drives me crazy.....so when I do post the occasional Trump post or comment on a post about him, I don't read the responses, unless I do by accident.

 OK, now lastly for real: I do intensely dislike Trump,  the way he acts, and many of his policies. Now pick a politician you really dislike. I'll assume one I also do, Obama. Imagine you have several friends who are constantly defending him, praising him, and putting down anyone who criticizes him. Could you stay silent? Would you not be frustrated? Would it not cause you to dislike him all the more? Welcome to the world of a conservative who is anti-Trump.

10) Hermits have the right idea

   There are days I get why people want to be hermits. Yeah, there are days I get depressed because there is no one in my life outside of family that I can call or text and say "want to meet for lunch?" But then there are the days I am off and don't leave the house, don't interact with anyone.....and love it. If I didn't have to work, I would probably spend a lot of my time at home. And why not? I love my place, and have it decorated like I want......and I have my own personal library.

 It is possible that my depression plays into that. I also think a lot of days after I deal with people at work for 10 hours, I prefer to not be around people for a while. Like the t-shirt says "I used to be a people person, but then people ruined it".

11) Not perfect

  One thing I worry about when I do a "rant" about something or Trump, is people will look at me and think "he's not perfect!" Wow. What a revelation. I  had no clue I am not perfect! You would not believe the list of shortcomings I see in yours truly. There have been times I have been asked to list some things I like about myself. You know all I can come up with? I am punctual. I honestly can't come up with much of anything I like about myself. I'd never talk to anyone else=the way I talk to myself.

  And I have heard people say that is wrong, that you shouldn't put yourself down. Maybe that is true, but it doesn't stop me from telling myself what I think of myself......and it ain't pretty. So whatever you may be thinking of me because I dare criticize DT, it can't be as bad as I view myself.

 Could that be a barrier in one's relationship with God? If it is wrong to call someone else an idiot, failure, stupid, etc, is it wrong to call ourselves that? Is it in essence saying God didn't do a good job on us?

 None of us are worth of salvation and grace, but is there a danger of putting ourselves down too much?

12) What others think?

  What kind of lives would we lead if we didn't worry so much about what people thought of us? Well, for one thing, I'd probably be even more vocal about you know who.....

  And I don't mean this in a bad way. We can't selfishly live like we don't care what people think, but in a good way. I have been held back a lot in life by fears of what people would think of me.

  Maybe that is one reason Jesus said we must be like children to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Small children don't worry about what people think of them. At some point we lose that, and worry and fear what others think of us. It likely influences and interferes in our lives in ways we are not even aware of.

 It has to in some ways even affect our spiritual lives. We are afraid to speak up about certain topics. We are afraid to witness to others. We are afraid to be and do everything God wants of us.

13) Facebook jail

 I am in Facebook jail for 7 days. For the same thing as last time: I dared criticize the religion of peace. On a news story about Lizzy Warren wanting more gun control after the shooting yesterday by a Saudi Militant, I commented "we just need to ban Muslims." Immediate jail for 7 days by the tolerant Facebook. I can guarantee if it was Christianity, they would do nothing.

**Only 2 more days left til I am out on probation!

14) The brother's bond

(This is a bit long, and sounds like a book review....but it really isn't. Well, kind of maybe.....)

  My favorite genre' to read is mystery/suspense. Harlequin has a line of Christian novels they put out monthly: Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense. The first is just romance, and the second is suspense.....hence the word suspense in the label name. :)

   I have taken to reading more romance than I used to. Though I am single for life due to what I deal with, I am a romantic. It does hurt a bit reading about something I can never have, but such is life. I started reading some of the non-suspense novels they put out, especially the ones with kids and families, but read some others too. One author has become a favorite, Linda Goodnight. The first book I read by her was titled the Christmas Child, an awesome book about an orphaned little boy who brought a school teacher and a very damaged federal agent together to make a family. Great story.

  A few weeks ago, I was ordering on ebay from a seller who has a "buy 2 books, get one free" deal. In looking for a third book, I found one by the same author titled "A Season for Grace." It turned out to be the first in a trilogy titled "The Brother's Bond." Here is the series description in a nutshell:

Three brothers: Colin age 10, Drew age 8, and Ian age 5. Separated by the foster system. Colin stole food and did whatever he had to do to take care of the other two because of an absent drug addict mother and no father. For 23 years, he has been searching for his 2 brothers. He himself was in the system til he aged out, never being adopted, never having a family. Each book contains the word "Grace" in the title. God's grace definitely plays out in the books, but there is a double reason for the word: That is the last name of the boys before the youngest two had theirs changed.

 Book one, A Season for Grace,  is about Colin. Twenty three years later and now a police and SWAT member, he starts mentoring a troubled kid after being hounded by a pushy social worker (who he eventually falls for). He enlists her help in finding his two brothers in return for the mentoring. Towards the end of book one, he discovers his brother Drew died in a fire as a teen in a group home, and discovers the whereabouts of his youngest brother.

Book two, A Touch of Grace,  is about Ian, the youngest brother. He is a minister who runs a home for troubled youth and he spends his time trying to rescue other troubled kids. His older brother finds him about 3/4 of the way through the book, a shock to him since meningitis at the age of 5 had erased his memories and he had no idea he was adopted. The reunion between the two brothers was very emotional. Yeah, that means I cried. The book ends with the two brothers gathering at Ian's adopted mother's house with their fiancees. Ian's fiancee is a TV reporter who did a story about the two brothers. The very last page has her getting a call from her station saying someone called the station and was positive the other brother was not dead.

Book three, The Heart of Grace is about Drew, the brother thought to be dead. He is married, but demanding a divorce from his wife because he feels unworthy of her because of his past and fears her finding out, and also because she wants kids and he is terrified to have kids because of his past. An IED in Iraq where is he doing photo work injures him and forces him to go home to her while he recuperates. She sees the story about Ian and Colin. By this time, she knows some of Drew's story, especially that he had 2 brothers named Ian and Colin, who he told her died in a fire. The 2 brothers have the same identical key chain with the Scripture that her husband wears around his neck. She calls the news station and sets the reunion of all three brothers in motion, along with the final healing and salvation of her husband, along with the healing and saving of their marriage. And yeah, did I ever cry at that reunion too.

  The series was based on three brothers the author knew of who were separated by the foster system. She doesn't know what happened to them, but in her note at the end of book three said this: "Somewhere out there are three little boys who inspired this series. I hope and pray that they too, have found a happy ending."

  This series profoundly impacted me. It made me wish I could so something to help kids like those in the story. It made me wish I was like Ian, who did so much to help troubled youth and whose life revolved around his faith influencing everything he did....and made me wish a lot of things.

 Christian novels, especially romance ones, get a bad rap from many people......but this series is one that shows how much can be in even a romance novel.

**update: I emailed the author about the series, and commented it made me wish I could do more to help kids like that...though I have no idea how I could. She replied, which made my day:

Hi Mark,

This is the kind of email we authors love to get, especially considering how long ago I wrote those books. The Brothers Bond series is one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. I receive so many emails about it, and you might be interested to know, I hear from a number of male readers.  I count all of you a blessing.

I am humbled to know my words could inspire your desire  to "do more".  Frankly, the world needs more men willing to step up and make a difference, especially with young boys without strong male role models. My single adult daughter felt as you do and signed up for foster care, which resulted in her adopting a child last Christmas. She continues to foster other children. If fostering seems like too much, Big Brothers and Sisters are always in need of mentors, small churches need men to help with youth groups, and I'm sure there are other groups looking for men willing to make a difference in a young boy's life. God bless you for your compassionate heart.

Thank you so, so much for emailing. I am blessed.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Linda Goodnight

15) 2019 reading goal

 As I mentioned before, I long ago passed up my goal of 200 books for this year. I am currently at 474 books. If I read 26 more, I will hit 500.

 One problem this many books presents: every year, I make a top 20 best books of the year that I read. It is going to be extremely difficult to narrow the list down to 20 out of this many books. Plus, I am going to have to go through the list of books I read so I can remember which ones were the best.

16) That stage of life.....

  I probably shouldn't admit this on such a public forum, but I did something I never thought I would do. It is one of those "ugh, really!?" moments. I purchased a larger print Bible. Yeah, me.

 I have glasses, and really hate wearing them. I wear them when I drive....because I have to, since I couldn't pass the eye exam without them last time I renewed my driver's license. I also wear them in church so I can see the pastor better and read the attendance board. My eye problem is far off. I can read the average book without them, but most Bibles tend to have smaller print. I can still read the Bibles I have, but bought one with slightly larger print in my favorite version so I can read it easier. And oh - it is not King James. :)

 Christianbook.com had some great sales going on. The one I bought was normally $64.99, and I got it for $16.99. I also bought several Christmas gifts, which was the main purpose of my shopping on the site. That, and the free shipping on $35 + orders.

17) Gifts

  Speaking of gifts, I was off today and got most of my gift wrapping done. I started off on the floor, and was finding that a bit uncomfortable. I debated about the dining room table, for it had accumulated a lot of "stuff" in the last few weeks. I decided to clean it off, made easier by the fact that some of the "stuff" was things I needed to wrap. In the midst of my wrapping, I found one gift I had lost. I only have a few things left, including some gag gifts.

18) Mini vacation

  I work 4 10-hour days, and always have 3 days off each week. Next week will be even better than that. I work the weekend, Friday-Sunday, have off Monday, work Tuesday and Wednesday, and then I am off for the next 4 days....Thursday-Sunday. Yay me! I think the reason for that is I had some holiday time I was going to lose, so they tossed an extra day off to me and used holiday time. Unlike our vacation (paid time off) days, holiday hours will expire. I am looking forward to it. I don't have any plans, but I am still looking forward to it.