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

Thursday, November 29, 2018

November notions, take 3

  One more day in November, then November 2018 will be history, and December will be here.... then we will blink and it will be 2019. It doesn't seem that long ago that everyone was freaking out about 2000....and here we are almost 19 years later.

 I had the urge to blog, so here is my latest mix of "stuff". I actually started it last night, so I had to change a few time references.

1) The mouse

  I still have a mouse. Ugh. There is a kind of trap a Facebook friend suggested recently, but I can't find the post where he put the link. I have had one for a few months now. The first one took at least a month to catch, but this one is proving to be more difficult to catch. I have a lot of my pans and other stuff where it can't get to them. My silverware and other utensils are in plastic containers. I thought that I had the dishes in my dish drainer covered well enough, but found evidence this morning that I did not....so I had to wash all of those dishes a second time.

 I put out 2 new glue traps and stuck half a miniature chocolate bar in the middle of each. No luck today, but it seems to wander at night. Here is hoping. There is one trap in the kitchen, and the other in the living room.

 My sister had one and caught it immediately. Why I don't have that luck is beyond me, but it is really frustrating.

 The dishes that would be in my dish drainer are in a plastic tote with a couple of dish towels at the bottom. Yeah, I could dry them and put them away, but who wants to actually dry dishes? That is what the dish drainer is for....

2) The battery

  Yesterday wasn't so great. I had to have my car jumped at work a few weeks ago. I had Autozone check my battery, and they said it was at 66%, which is OK. They also said the alternator was OK. I went to leave work last night, and the car wouldn't start. I got it jumped and headed for Autozone, and they did not have a batter for my car. I checked Advance Autoparts, and the ones they had were up around $190.

 I headed for home and went to O'Reilly's near me. The battery was $155, plus tax.....an expense I sure don't need. They figure it is the age of the battery. My car is a 2010, and seemed to have the original batter on it. The one dude at O'Reilly's said most batteries that come with the car last around 5 years.

 I was hungry, so I walked next door to McDonalds. I didn't really want it, but it was close to 7 pm and I was hungry. I ordered a 10 piece nugget and a fry... and got the wrong order. I was eating my fries at the auto parts store and discovered there were no nuggets, but a quarter pounder that had mayo on it....yuk. I gave it do the dude who put my battery in. I came home and didn't want to take much time to get supper, so I heated leftovers that have a lot of carbs... and didn't care. I was already an hour later getting home than normal.

 When my order was handed to me, I wasn't really paying attention. I did wonder about them giving me a free pie for my wait, since I didn't think it was that long. :)

3) Chik fil a

 I was reading a news article today that told of a university that did a survey to see what restaurant the students wanted on campus. Chil fil a was the choice by a large majority. However, the university won't allow it because the restaurant chain does not reflect their values.......or lack of, more aptly put.

 It is insane how so many liberals hate Chik fil a and boycott them because of the owner's stance on marriage. If I avoided every store and restaurant that reflected my values, I wouldn't have many options.

 I loved the first comment I read on the story:  "I am a proud homosexual male, but I'll tell you what ... nothing comes between me and God's chicken.  Edit: the *only* thing that comes between me and God's chicken are Sundays. Lol. In that case I've been known to stock up on Saturday."

 So evidently not all gay people are boycotting the restaurant.

 Recently, the CEO of Twitter was raged against because he dared to eat there. There are other insane instances of the hate towards Chik fil a, but it sure doesn't seem to be hurting their business one iota. Whatever an iota is.

 These idiots are just depriving themselves of some great chicken.

4) Funny Facebook comment

 Evidently not everyone who is friends with me on Facebook or in the real world knows my deep, dark secret. Just to be goofy, I posted this on Facebook:

"Baby, if it's that cold outside; I wouldn't have come to see you in the first place. #Christmassongsihate"

I got this reply: "you just have not met that special women that understands and loves you"
I replied: "if you think that, you don't know me very well" (smiley face)
Their reply:  "just trying to encourage, I did wonder if there was one women that perfect"
Yeah, that is exactly it. I can't find a woman perfect enough. :)

5) Justin Lee, and "side A Christians"

 I discussed this a bit a while back, but it is really bothering me. In a nutshell, Side A Christians are those gay/SSA people who believe God is fine with a sexual relationship between 2 people of the same sex, and believe God is OK with gay marriage. Side B tends to cling to their gay identity, but go with the Biblical view of sexuality.

 Here is what bothers me: A lot, possible most or all, Side B Christians have no problem with calling the Side A people "Christians." I reviewed and have talked about David Bennett's book a lot, but that is one issue I had with his book...that he gave any credence to Side A's Christianity.

 But how can anyone twisting what the Bible says about sexuality, and having a relationship with the same sex be a Christian? I asked that on a post by Bennett, and it did not go over too well.

 Justin Lee is one of the most outspoken "Side A" people. I asked how many people are he and others like him going to deceive and help go to hell by spreading their very wrong views and beliefs?

 Yeah, I personally have SSA, but I also firmly believe the Bible forbids sex between 2 people of the same gender, and you cannot be a Christian and do that.

 And maybe I am wrong on this: I fear that if the "Side B" crowd continues to give credence to the so-called Christianity of "Side A", it may cause them to drift to that side eventually. It has happened already with some.

 The thing is, if you can believe people are Christians who are doing what you are trying not to do, how long before you decide it is OK for you also? Am I wrong on my thinking? And am I the only one with those concerns?

6) The book

 There is an author I really like who has written 2 books. He is a police officer, and is a Christian. The two books he wrote are awesome, clean, and curse free. He recommended a book by an author I think he said was a friend. Here is the description:

Based on personal experiences by the Wall Street Journal and Amazon #1 bestselling military thriller author Jeffrey Wilson, War Torn is an inspirational novel that details a young man's crisis of faith after a tour of combat duty in Afghanistan turns tragic. 

Jake is a solid American, a young husband, a good friend, and a patriotic member of the National Guard. While his family and Christian values define who he is, he has never fully understood the passion for faith that his wife, Rachel, and his best friend and fellow soldier, Cal, seem to share. But when Jake and Cal are deployed with their unit to Afghanistan, Jake depends heavily on the quiet but powerful faith of his best friend and embraces, finally, a relationship with God. Despite the horrors he experiences in war and the pain of his separation from Rachel, Jake has found his way for the first time—until a crippling loss shakes his newfound faith to the core and makes him question where God is in his struggles, or if God even exists at all. 

Can a loving wife’s faith carry a broken man through the most difficult challenge of his life? Can a committed pastor put his own struggles and doubts aside to help heal a wounded marriage? Like so many combat veterans, Jake must find his way back to his family even after returning from Afghanistan, and learn to find God in the fog of war that follows him home. 

 I bought the book, and finished reading it this evening. Unfortunately, it has a lot of bad language..even the f-word said by a Christian, and even by the pastor cursing in his prayer. It is weird to read a book that has so much Christian content and Christian message, but have bad language spread throughout the book. I guess the author is a Christian, but he evidently has no problem with vulgarity. (But then Trump supporters don't seem to either.....) :)

 Cursing aside, it was an awesome book that gave a realistic look at what our soldiers face on the field, and what it is like to come home messed up from what they have seen and done. The story is at least part autobiographical.

7) Winter In the Aire

  My best friend and I rag on each other about our music tastes. We have very different tastes, and it is rare that we like the same singer or CD.

 But it has happened.

 David Arhuletta finishes second on American Idol in 2008. He released a Christmas CD two years later that I like. He was like five years at that time. (He was actually around 20, but looked like a kid). Eight years later, he has released another Christmas CD, Christmas In The Aire. Eight of the twelve songs are classics, and four are new. And my best friend and I both like the CD. A lot. I recommend it.

 Maybe my friend's music tastes are improving.....

 A song off David's first CD that is a favorite is Pat a Pan. I heard the song years ago by Mannheim Steamroller, and didn't know it had words until I heard it by David Archuletta. The words go fast, and there is no way I could sing the whole thing.


Guillo, prends ton tambourin,
Toi, prends ta flute, Robin
Au son de ces instruments
Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan
Au son de ces instruments
Je dirai Noel, gaiement.

Willie, bring your little drum.
Robin, get your fife, and come,
And be merry while you play.

Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan
We will listen as you play
For the joy for Christmas day.

When the men of olden days
Gave the King of Kings their praise
They had pipes on which to play.

Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan
They had drums on which to play.
For the joy of Christmas day.

God and man became today,
More in tune than fife and drum,
So be merry while you play.

Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan
Come be merry while you play
On this joyous Christmas day.

While the angels wing
To the newborn King,
I will sing for the blessed Babe
On this joyous Christmas day.

God and man became today,
More in tune than fife and drum,
So be merry while you play.

Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan
Come be merry while you play
On this joyous Christmas day.

While the angels wing
To the newborn King,
I will sing for the blessed Babe
On this joyous Christmas day.

Tu-re-lu-re-lu-ra-le. Come and hear them patapan.
Bring your little drum.
Robin, get your fife and come.
Tu-re-lu-re-lu-ra-le. Come and hear them patapan.
Men of olden days
Gave the King of Kings their praise.
On this joyous Christmas.
Bring your little drum.
Robin, get your fife and come.
Come be merry.
Men of olden days
Gave the King of Kings their praise.
On this joyous Christmas.
Bring your little drum.
Robin, get your fife and come.
Come be merry.
Men of olden days
Gave the King of Kings their praise.
On this joyous Christmas

8) Had it been Obama....

**Do not read this section if you can't handle Mr Trump being criticized.

 On the heels of the most criticized president by conservatives, we suddenly have a man who seemingly can do no wrong, and who his supporters and voters don't want criticized. I am an equal opportunity guy, and dislike both men and criticize both.

 I have a lot of issues with Trump, but one that really bothers me about people in my party is their silence when Trump does or says  something stupid or something Obama was rightly criticized for.

 Example: He was talking about raising the gas tax 10 cents....and there was silence among conservatives.

 There have been other things, like funding Planned Parenthood, nominating the first gay ambassador, etc.

 The newest "had it been Obama" regards guns. I remember when Obama was trying to ban bump stocks. My fellow Republicans were all up in arms....no pun intended. Trump is trying to do the same thing, and no one is saying anything. When Trump was running, I was told over and over that if Hillary won, we'd lose our guns. This is the second attack on gun rights by Trump, and he is going unchallenged....because it is Trump. It would be ironic if after all the warnings about Hillary, that Mr Trump is the one who deals a blow to our gun rights.

 When he was running for president, Trump said he could shoot someone on the streets of Manhatten and not lose any votes.....his words. One has to wonder if there is anything he could do that would earn criticism and an outcry among his supporters. I still feel he is destroying conservatism, and I am not the only one who feels that way.

 A friend who shares my views said that if Trump suddenly announced he was gay and married a man, many of  his evangelical supporters would suddenly be OK with gay marriage. It does seem to be that bad.

 If Trump supporters held him to the same standards we have held other politicians to, I might be able to stomach this presidency a little.

9) Mary Did You Know (MDYK)

 MDYK is one of my favorite new Christmas songs. The first time I heard it, it was sung by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd, and it remains my favorite recording of the song. Most likely it is because the first version I heard.

 The coolest version I heard was at a Gaither Homecoming Concert. Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene sang it. Mark wrote the words, and Buddy wrote the music. It was a moment.

 I read a while back that a lot of Catholics don't like the song. They take issue with the line "this child that you delivered will soon deliver you." They believe Mary was sinless.....she was not... so she did not need deliverance in their eyes.

10) Angel tree

  Every year I find myself wishing I could do the Angel Tree. It is a program where underprivileged kids write what they want for Christmas. You take an angel with their list on it, and buy and wrap what they want. I am afraid I'll get one with a bunch of stuff I can't afford.

 Country singer Jimmy Wayne was an Angel Tree recipient when he was a kid. He wrote a song and book about it, and the book was made into a movie. It is a rather moving account, and it is amazing where he came from.

11) The youngest nephew

 The youngest of my nieces and nephews, Nathan, will be turning 12 on December 3. They aren't so little anymore. This little rascal has declared that he doesn't want any gift bags, but wants his gifts wrapped. I always give them money for their birthdays, and am tempted to wrap his money... in a few boxes.

12) Job

 I really like my current job, and it is the best one I have ever had. I still live for my days off. I enjoy sleeping in and not having to wear a tie and blazer all day. Well, I wear pants, shirt, and shoes too....

 Before I did this job, I was the greeter in the Emergency Room. I liked it, but there was a lot of drama and complaints about wait times and other issues. I don't think I ever received so many compliments about my work as when I did that job. I would never tell the people who currently do that job, but I still have E.R. nurses and supervisors tell me they miss me over there and that I need to come back.

 At this point, I wouldn't want to. I work 4 10 hour days, and they work 3 12's. I don't work holidays, and they do.

13) Eating right

  I am getting into the groove of eating better. I like chicken and salads, so I eat a lot of both. Sweets are so much easier to avoid though than breads, pastas, potatoes, etc. The thing that I think is weird is that some vegetables are high in carbs. You'd think veggies would be good for you no matter what they are.

 The gross ones are good for you: asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage....and green beans. The latter aren't a favorite, but I eat them. Cream of mushroom soup is the best way to eat them. :)

14) Key Lime Pie

 Speaking of eating right, there is a key lime pie recipe my family makes that isn't too bad for you. And it is easy. You just take a lime jello - we use sugar free - make it with 1/4 cup of water, mix it with 2 lime yogurts and an 8 oz whipped topping. Put in a graham cracker pie crust, and refrigerate. We put whipped topping on top of it too. It is so good and so simple. I may make one tomorrow. :)

 Other flavors can be made also. Just buy a flavor of jello and the same flavor of yogurts.

15) A vegetarian world

 I wonder if vegetarians ever think of what the world would be like if everyone was like them. There would be no reason to raise animals on a farm, because they wouldn't be eaten. There would be no reason to keep cows, chickens, pigs, etc around. They would just run wild and probably have their numbers diminish.

 I could never be a vegetarian. I love meat too much. There is a nurse in my doctor's office who is one. She is super nice and isn't offensive about it, but has made statements like no animal has to die for her to eat, and she won't eat something that had a face. I love meat, so I am fine with that. :)

16) Transgender

 The transgender thing is getting beyond insane. I feel bad for those who feel they aren't the gender they are, but the solution is not to attempt a sex change. This is an unpopular stance, but you cannot change your gender. Oh, you can mutilate your body and take hormones and all that, but you will always be the gender you were born. It is sad it is so supported and encouraged. Statistics show those who attempt a change have much more likelihood of suicide than those who do not. It is also true that many regret the attempted change.

 I read an article where the author made the point that instead of trying to change the outside to mirror what they feel inside, the reverse should be worked on: work to make the inside match what is outside.

 What is saddest is that kids are encouraged to do this. I read a news story today where a mother wants her little boy to be a girl, and a court ruled the father cannot tell him he is a boy and cannot discourage the attempts to make him a girl. There needs to be a law passed that you must be 18 to do that.

 People need to stand up to this stuff. There are several cases where men claiming to be women are beating women in women's competitions, and have even hurt women. These women need to take a stand and refuse to compete against a man claiming to be a woman. Yeah, they'd get a lot of flak for it, but it is just getting insane.

 I have felt for a while that pedophilia would be legalized here some day. It is legal to murder babies in the womb, it is legal to try to change a child's gender, gay marriage is legal, there is a push to normalize incest, and there is already a small push to normalize pedophilia. I am 100% convinced that liberals in general do not care about kids, and the same party to push and legalize all of the above will some day push to legalize pedophilia. If you are paying attention, it isn't that much of a stretch.

 I hope I am wrong, but we are sliding down a slippery slope at an alarming rate of speed.

17) Giving Tuesday

 This past Tuesday was Giving Tuesday. I will close this post with a tweet from Twitter by a guy I follow, Ben Finger. I thought it was good:

It's #givingtuesday and my hope is that you all may consider giving your table. During the holidays celebrate one another: the friend, the family, the neighbor, the coworker, and the stranger. The gift of loving hospitality is one of the most precious gifts we may ever give.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

November notions, take 2

  I actually did two blog posts in a row recently that were one subject posts, and I have another in the back of my mind I am thinking about. Maybe there is hope for me yet.

 This was started 6 days ago, but then I had a few crazy days and didn't have much chance to work on it.

 Anyway, what has been going on and what has been on my mind lately:

1) Decorating

 I mentioned in my last post of this kind that I may decorate for Christmas. I did. I was off Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, got a little bored after house cleaning, and dragged out my Christmas stuff and dove in. I put most of my Christmas decorations in the living room, since I spend most of my waking hours there. I took down all of my pictures, except one, and put away all my regular decor.

 I did something different this year. This is the first time I have decorated my tree without any of the traditional Christmas ornament balls. I put a lot of red trucks on it, a few superheroes...including my favorite, Captain America, and other stuff. I like how it turned out. I would like to put a couple of lighthouses on it, but am having trouble finding any that aren't expensive.

2) Niece's blog

 My oldest niece had started a blog a while back that she didn't keep up with. She just wrote a post that is really good, though I still hate winter and snow myself.... and she got more comments than I ever get. I'll have to find out her secret. Check it out: Why I Stopped Hating Snow.

3) Dan Crenshaw

 Dan Crenshaw is a new guy on the political field. He is a former Navy Seal who lost an eye in an IED attack. He is a Texan who ran for the House in this last election, and won. He has class, he is nice looking....even with a patch, and is already impressing people. Saturday Night Live made fun of his eye patch, and he handled that awesomely.

 People are already thinking about a 2024 run for president by him. I say 2020. I have long felt we should elect former military to be president. It seems ludicrous to me that we have guys in charge of our military who have never served....or worse, were draft dodgers like 2 in my lifetime.

4) Electrical issues

 I lost power in half of my house Saturday....the half that has the furnace and water pump on.... and I was having company for the first time in a year. I already had the food prepared, so I warned my friends to dress warm. I had a nice time visiting with them.

 The electric company showed up around 10, and said it was on my end. On Sunday afternoon, landlord's brother tried to fix it, but it needed an electrician. A guy from my church is one, and came Monday.

 I came home Monday evening to discover it was not fixed. So I spent Monday evening at my parents' and we shut off the power completely, fearing it could cause damage to the furnace and other things since it kept trying to come on, go dim, then go off.

 Tuesday not much happened with the power. I spent another night at my parents'..the 4th in a row.

 Wednesday they tracked it down to an underground wire. My dad dug it up and ran a temporary line above ground. I have been back in my own house since Wednesday evening.

 One plus: I had to take all of my frozen stuff and most refrigerator stuff out, so both freezers got defrosted, cleaned out, and the refrigerator also got cleaned out.

 A second plus: I needed a new thermostat. The one I had was battery operated, and the batteries would occasionally stop making contact, and it would quit working. I woke up one morning and it was 59 degrees in my house. I came home another time to find it had stopped and it was cold in my place.

 When my landlord's brother was going to get parts the other day, I mentioned the problem, so he bought and installed a new one. It works great.

5) Thanksgiving turns to greed

 It is sad that after the day set aside to be thankful, Americans turn into greedy monsters the next day fighting and trampling to get good deals or the hottest new toy or electronic device.

 I do shop on Black Friday, but later in the morning. There is no way I am getting up in the middle of the night for a good deal.

6) Clothing

 I have way too many clothes. Granted, I have 2 sizes of everything. I had been wearing only 2X shirts, and had a ton of XL shirts in storage totes. Now I am getting into a lot of the XL, which gives me a lot of shirts that fit me. I have been in 38" waist pants, and had a lot of 36" waist pants in storage totes. I am getting into a few 36" pants, but am mostly still in 38"s.

 I had lived with my parents for a while, and thought I had moved everything. I was wrong. My mom told me today that I had about 8 shirts upstairs in the spare bedroom closet. It was more than 8. I didn't count them, but I am guessing closer to 20, plus 2 blazers, and a pair of pants that will fit me. I took the shirts home this afternoon and was going to try them all on, but my plans changed and I was holding a flashlight while my electric was being worked on.

 If you get this next thing, give yourself points. I made this reference at work and got blank looks, and also from my family: I am the Imelda Marcos of shirts.

7) Pre-Thanksgiving party

 Since my oldest sister and her gang had to go to her in-laws this Thanksgiving, our whole family got together Wednesday evening for a pre-Thanksgiving party. My youngest niece's boyfriend also came. We had veggies and dip, chips and dip, a couple of cheese balls, a cheese and salami tray (courtesy of me), crackers, little sausages wrapped in croissant, a sweet cheese ball my little sister makes that goes well with Teddy Grahams or graham crackers, and 2 kinds of pie. We had a lot of fun, as we always do.

8) Thanksgiving day

 My youngest sister and her husband live in Canton, so they came Wednesday planning on spending the night. I went down around 10, and we ate around noon. It was an awesome meal, and I did not watch carbs....unless you count me watching them as I ate.

 My mom makes the most awesome stuffing and stuffs the turkey with it, and there was no way I was going to miss that.

 The scale was bouncing between 214 and 215 Wednesday morning- it couldn't seem to decide. I weighed myself this morning, and it said 216, so Thanksgiving and supper out at Steak and Shake last night didn't seem to hurt much.

 I did NOT check my sugar though after Thanksgiving day.

9) Black Friday shopping

 I don' think stores should start the Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving Day, but I was afraid they's sell out of everything. I went in around 9, and didn't get much. I was interested in their DVDs, and did get a few of them, including Spiderman Homecoming for $1.96. It was funny... I could not find the DVDs, so I finally asked an employee. They were in the dairy department in front of the cheese. Now why didn't I think to look there?? :)

  My parents and middle niece were going to Beaver, PA to shop yesterday, which is where I work. I went along, and did get a Christmas gift. I also got a Mario Karts ornament.

10) Lights

 I started putting lights in my windows last night. It can be a bother plugging them in and unplugging them every night. so I bought several timers last year and hooked them up. I don't have one for every window. The 2 living room windows are plugged into the same timer, the 3 dining room windows into the same, the 2 in my bedroom and library are plugged into the same one in each room. I don't have one in the kitchen, I just plug it in and unplug it.

 There is also one for my porch. I put a cheap tree out there last night, and plugged it in with the porch lights into a timer.

 I was going to put that tree out today, but it has been raining all day, so that can wait.

11) Gay identity

  I am friends with a lot of guys who have same-sex attractions, and in a few groups for people with SSA. It bothers me how many Christians with SSA cling to their gay identity and use the term gay and gay Christian so easily.

 Their reasons are varied. One is to show the church how many of us there are in the church dealing with this very tough issue, often on our own and feeling ostracized and left out of everything. (I don't feel ostracized, but many do.) Plus, many had shame about this struggle for so long, it is freeing to openly admit it and discuss it. Yet... and I am not trying to judge... it seems like many are almost proud of it, and don't want to just be part of the church, but to stand out as special people with special needs. That may sound judgmental, and I may be wrong...but that is how some come across.

 Even gay Christian.....what comes first in that label? Gay. Shouldn't the Christian identity come first?

 Many who are celibate and use the term gay and even queer are very dogmatic and defensive about it, to the point of being very close-minded and intolerant of those who do not see it exactly their way. I try to keep an open mind, but I have concerns. For one, if a guy has SSA and identifies so closely with gay people, is there not a greater danger of them falling for the gay theology than those who distance themselves from the gay identity?

 And yes, when one has SSA, it is pretty much on your mind constantly, so it isn't something you just block out of your mind.

12) Long weekend

 I am on the 3rd of 4 days off in a row, and it has been awesome. I won't want to back to work on Monday, though I have Tuesday off. I can break myself back into work slowly.

13) Commercialized Christmas

 It is true that Christmas has been commercialized too much, and brings out the greed in too many people. I had a Facebook friend post about it, and he said he has Christian friends who don't even celebrate it because of  that.

 Under all the commercialization, Santa, greed, etc, the reason of Christmas is that God sent His only Son as a baby, a baby that would grow up and die for the sins of the world. A Christian should not stop celebrating Christmas because of other people and the commercialization. No, they should celebrate it in their own way......they way they think it should be celebrated and observed. Why let other people influence how or if you celebrate it? That seems a bit foolish to me, pardon my bluntness.

 I enjoy this time of year. I love to buy gifts for my family members, and enjoy watching them open them. I like the lights, the way most people are friendly and charitable this time of year.

 I like the music. I have way more many Christmas CDs than I need, but I enjoy it. My favorites are ones that focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I am not a fan of Santa, or letting kids believe in him. I do have a few songs about Santa on my playlist....I love Hey Santa by Carly and Wendy Wilson...but I don't like Santa very well, and do not decorate with Santa. I hate the Santa at the manger thing, and would never tell my kids Santa was real if I had kids. I would not want a fat guy in a red suit to get the credit for what I bought and wrapped.

 If you truly believe Jesus is the reason for the season, celebrate that. Don't back off like a scrooge because you don't like what it has become.

  There are two blog posts I did a few years back that go along with this. I am linking to them below:

Keeping Christmas 

Keeping Christ in Christmas

14) the mouse

  All these weeks later, and I have not caught it. My sister discovered they had one and caught it within 2 days. Life is definitely not fair.

15) The pizza solution

 I have given up on the idea of low carb or carb free pizza crust. Here is the thing: you cannot cut carbs out completely. In fact, the dietitian I saw told me I should have some to start my day, and explained why....

 Anyway, it isn't about cutting them out completely anyway. diabetics can have carbs. We just need to limit them.

 My solution: Walmart has 2 2-inch pizza crust in a bag that are really good. I put my own sauce and toppings on it, bake it, and only eat it. Since the pizza is only 8 inches, I don't have some left to tempt me to eat more than I should. I haven't bought pizza out lately, but plan on ordering an 8 inch when I do.

 So far, it is working out. Today, I had a pizza for lunch, and did chicken stir fry for supper.

16) My favorite Christmas decoration

  My very favorite Christmas decoration would be my nativity set. The figures are from Ames way back in 98, and the stable I bought elsewhere.

 After that, my next favorite would be the red truck I bought last year. It is metal and has flashing lights on the Christmas tree. But then I really like the old  red truck look.

 I am missing one decoration I wish I could find. Back in January, I had to move out for about 6 weeks until a new furnace was purchased and put in. Since the house was going to be without heat, I got a snow globe out of my Christmas stuff and took with me. I have no idea what I did with it when I moved back in. I did not put it back in with the other Christmas decor, so I am at a loss to where it is. It will probably surface after Christmas.

17) The dumb side of Facebook

 I don't mean to be rude, but dumb is the most polite word I could come up with for something that bugs me: the posts and memes that try to get you to "like" or share a post. Things like "Can this elderly lady who is 100 get any likes?" "My dad said if this post gets 5000 likes he will quit smoking". "I bet this puppy won't get any likes." "Like and share if you love Jesus", and so forth. Any post like that is guarantees to not be liked or shared by yours truly.

 Admittedly, I am pretty cynical, but part of me wonders if these posts originate from people desperate for attention and for people to like and share their posts.

18) Yeah, about Trump....

 I still get grief for daring to criticize this president, so some readers of my blog won't like this. I had a few Christian Facebook friends post this who like Trump. I seriously consider it to be a very sad statement . I am not a fan of Rush Limbaugh, and he is not always right, even though the big egotist seems to think so.....so I hope this is not true of everyone who voted for Trump, but it does seem to be true of many:

The parts that bother me? "They elected him knowing who he is. And in many cases, they admire who he is."

 A Christian should take some issue with who he is and some of the things he says and does.

One of many things that bother me, is there are ways he acts, things he says, etc that your average evangelical Christian would not do, and feel it was wrong.....but many cheer and like the same things in Trump. If it is wrong for us to do, it is wrong for him and should not be admired or cheered.

19) Pleasing God

 What would our lives look like if we lived to please only God and not others? Oh, I know Christians supposedly do that, but a lot of what we do is affected by the desire to please others.

  Since I already mentioned Trump, I'll use him for an example. I still feel it would have been wrong for me to vote for him, and for some reasons that may not apply to others. I got a lot of grief, nasty remarks, and what I consider to be lies from even people in my church. I could have caved and voted for him and made all of those people happy, but I honestly felt I could not vote for him, and a vote for him would be hypocritical of me and go against my conscience.

  It is easy for us to make what God wants us to do just like what we want to do, or what others expect of us. I am not saying we need to ask God what outfit we should wear tomorrow, but do we truly seek His approval and desire on things in our lives, or do we just go with what is expected of us?

 I'll give another example: the Amish. Now imagine a young Amish guy truly finds God - not all do - and comes to the belief that he doesn't need to live without a car, electric, etc.... and that he might actually be able to do more for God if he embraces some of the modern things the Amish avoid. Should he just keep living the way he was raised to keep people happy, even though he now believes he does not have to live that way, and possibly should not?

  How many people have been held back from doing what God wants them to do because family didn't want them to go to that Bible college, or be a missionary, or a pastor, or attend that church.

 Too many of us fear what people will think of us if we do that, say that, go there, etc. Believe me, I have faced that. It was a really big step for me to admit to the struggle I had done my best to keep a secret for so much of my life. I am sure there are people who don't want to hear anything about it. I am sure there are those who look down on me for having these attractions and desires. There may even be people who avoid me because of it....not that I am aware of it.

 But the positives outweigh whatever people may think of me. A secret struggle has less of a hold on you when you drag it into the light. I am now free to talk about it, and thus help others in some small way.

 If I had continued to keep quiet out of fear and of a desire to have people like me, I would still be struggling in secret, and would never have the chance to encourage others who have this very difficult struggle.

 And no, I don't have a handle on pleasing God over people  in all areas of my life.

20) The last thing

 I really don't have anything else on my mind, but figure I'd make it an even 20. Now I am going to go back to reading my 169th book for the year.

Sunday, November 18, 2018


***This post is going to be mostly about guys, though it can apply to females also.

 I am friends with several other people on Facebook who are same-sex attracted. Some I have met at conferences, some add me because we are in a group for SSA people, and a few have added me after reading my blog. Some are open about their struggles, and some have only told a few people, and some haven't told anyone other than myself.

  One friend who is very much in the closet with his struggles, messaged me yesterday with this:

"I'm not sure if you can identify with me on this issue of touch as a single uninvolved man. I can go weeks without any sort of physical contact. Maybe a handshake at work...even that's rare."

  Touch is important. I read of an experiment conducted once on babies. I can't remember why their mothers were not present, but they discovered babies that were held often blossomed, were happy, and active. Babies that were not held were listless, unhappy, fussy, and did not progress as fast as those that were held.

  Jesus was not shy about touching people, and He even touched the untouchable. Lepers were avoided and were not allowed around areas where people lived. It was a highly contagious disease that there was no cure for, yet Jesus touched lepers to heal them. It was likely the first time in a long time that anyone had touched them. He knew that, and that may be why He touched them. He could have healed them with a word. He had healed others that way, yet He touched the lepers.

  He touched the blind man. He even made clay and put it on his eyes. I imagine blind people were looked down on in those times. They couldn't work, and many begged for money.

 And there are many other times recorded that Jesus touched people to heal them, and most likely a lot of people He healed by touch that is not recorded in the Bible.

  Touch can mean a lot. It may sound weird, but it is a good feeling when another guy pats me on the back or shoulder. Just this morning, our song leader was walking back the aisle, and said "hi Marcus", and slugged me lightly on the arm. It is just a good feeling, and one many may not understand.

 Men especially can be starved for physical touch. Our society has so gayed down America, that guys are afraid to do anything that could be misconstrued as gay. If two girls are walking with linked arms or an arm around the other's shoulder, no one blinks. If two guys were to do that..... well, it would be different.

  In his book, A Bigger World Yet: Faith, Brotherhood, and Same-sex needs, Tim Timmerman discussed what it is like in other countries and societies. In some places, it is not unusual for two heterosexual guys to sit with knees touching as they talk and fellowship. They are much more likely to hug and walk with their arms around each other than here in America. Here in America, it isn't very common for heterosexual males to have much physical contact.

 Also in the book, Timmerman told of how men with SSA had their temptations, insecurities, and sexual desire for other men lessen a lot when experiencing physical intimacy with heterosexual guys....such as full on body hugs lasting at least 20 seconds.

   I don't want to turn every post into a discussion about same-sex attractions, but there is something to be said for the desire for male intimacy in guys with SSA. Most, such my friend who inspired this post, are starving for physical touch and male camaraderie, but don't get much, if any, because of this world we live in where any touch between men can be misconstrued as gay.

  Thankfully, I do have people in my life who hug me. Many of those who give me hugs are female, and that is OK. I enjoy hugs from anyone, but especially from my nieces and nephews.

  There is a man who volunteers at the hospital 2 days a week out in the lobby where I work. He is a  round 65-66, and is a great Christian man. I needed my car jumped Thursday, so I texted him and asked if he could come and do it when I was done for the day. He lives close, and so it was not a problem. After the car was running, I thanked him, and he stuck out his hand to shake my hand..as he often does. As I shook, he pulled me close for a quick hug, and it felt great to get  hug from this guy I admire and have confidence in.

  We need more of that. Not everyone is comfortable with hugging. I get that. Plus, not everyone is comfortable with hugs. A touch on the shoulder, a pat on the back, a slight punch to the shoulder, a fist bump....it shows people you care about them, and it can mean a lot to people who don't experience much physical touch.

  And on the humorous side, there are improper times and ways to touch. I experienced that twice 2 weeks ago within a couple of days:

1) I was in Walmart looking at glue traps for mice. This random women in her 60's flung her arm around me, yanked me to her, and said "you aren't going to superglue a cat to the road are you?" She let go, and read my bewildered and horrified look to mean I had no clue what she was talking about. That was only part of my being horrified and bewildered. She explained that some guy had super-glued a kitten to the road. I said no, that I was just going to catch mice.

2) I was at work standing in the lobby beside Ben, a young volunteer 22 years old. There was a woman standing across from me who is a frequent visitor, and who I think is a french fry short of a Happy Meal. She was staring at me, and then she marched over to me, and goes "I just gotta know!" She grabbed one side of my blazer and yanked it to the side, then repeated the action with the other side. Then "I was just wondering if you were carrying a taser or gun." Uh,, maybe she could have just asked me.... After she walked away, Ben, laughing, goes "you should have seen the look on your face...". Yeah.

  In this day of #metoo, sexual harassment, false sexual harassment claims, and all that...one has to be careful about touching people. I very, very rarely initiate a hug with a woman. If I hugged one who didn't want it, I am not sure the "I am not attracted to woman" defense would work. There are a couple of older volunteer ladies who are in their 80's that aren't able to volunteer.When they come in to visit or for testing, I always go and hug them.....it really helped on Friday when the one told me I was a shadow of my former self,  and asked if I was losing weight. I definitely hugged her!  But most women... nope. They must initiate it. There is a female PCA who works in the ER and is exactly 6 days older than I am. She expects a hug when she sees me, and often walks up and says she needs a hug.

   I ran across this, and I have read similar statements before:

"A hug is probably the simplest-yet-most-powerful way to connect with anyone, be it someone we deeply love or a complete stranger. It epitomizes true give and take where both parties support one another. A warm, compassionate embrace is powerful—one that can heal, make you feel secure, transform lives, and help overcome toughest challenges.

What’s more, a hug can give us the strength to fight diseases, even life-threatening ones. Research proves hugs help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. Several studies suggest that hugging can help reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

At times, all it takes is one hug to transform an individual. A selfish person can change into a caring, others-focused person. A hateful person can transform into a loving and considerate friend. Amazing, isn’t it? Never underestimate the power of a hug." (taken from this website)

 There are a lot of lonely and hurting people in this world. You work with them. You attend church with them. They are in your family. They are your neighbor, the cashier at Walmart, your mailman, etc. No, you can't go around hugging everyone, but sometimes you can sense who might be open to it..or at least a touch on the shoulder with a kind word.

 I've been there. I have been lonely, at the end of my rope, feeling no one cared...even God. Rarely did anyone step up and offer encouragement and/or a touch of caring.

 And that can be anyone. We may never know the difference a touch, hug, or kind word can make i someone's day or even their life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Love them like Jesus

 You most likely have never heard of Antonio Rocquemore . I had never heard of him until yesterday. He is now making news for what he did in the church he pastors. He called out a man in his congregation during the church service who was cross dressing, and told him cross dressers are not allowed in his church, and asked him to leave.

  I don't get cross dressing. I have been dealing with being attracted to the same sex for years, but I never wanted to dress like a woman. Sure, I have struggled to feel like a real man all of my life. I am not attracted to women, I hate sports and am no good at them, I am not interested in sports. Yet I never wished I was a woman nor felt like one..nor did I want to dress like one. I already felt less of a man, why on earth would I have wanted to make that worse and more obvious by dressing like a woman?

 Some guys want to do that though. This man may not even be gay or transgender. I have read there are heterosexual men who like to cross dress.

  Back to this incident.My first reaction when I read the story was one of sadness with a bit of indignation. Do I approve of cross dressing? Absolutely not. I believe men should dress like men and look like men. Women should dress like women and look like women.....and I won't go into how that looks. If people cannot tell at first glance if a person is a man or woman, that is wrong. The Bible spells it out pretty clearly that men and women were created to be different, and should look different.

 So if a cross dresser showed up at my church, I'd be slightly uncomfortable. I admit it. Most people at church would be. Many would be uncomfortable if an obviously gay person came.

 But does that excuse this pastor, or excuse the rest of us from doing what is right? What this pastor did was disgraceful. One of my first thoughts was this man will likely never come to God because of that. Would you? If you were sitting in church and the pastor called you out and said your kind wasn't welcome there, would you want to go back to church? Would you want to be around Christians or be interested in the God they serve?

   I have related a similar story on my blog before that happened some years back. A young man was on the worship team at his church and he had same-sex attractions. He went to his pastor to talk about it, and his pastor seemed understanding and said he'd pray for him. At the next service, this disgrace of a pastor related what the young man had told him, turned to where he was standing on the platform, and told him to leave....his kind was not welcome there.

 I cannot imagine the devastation. Not only was he "outted" in front of his whole church, he was ordered to leave and not come back because he was attracted to other guys. When I think of that story, I wonder what happened to that poor guy. Did he stick with God, or did that drive him from God into living the gay lifestyle. Why didn't anyone stick up for him?

  We are dealing with things today that churches haven't had to deal with for years. Most churches are not equipped. My church is poorly equipped to deal with gay people, transgender, cross dressing, etc. I know it. Thankfully I have not experienced anything at church since slowly outting myself a few years ago. I doubt the whole church knows, but maybe they do. Gossip is one of the accepted sins in the church, and we do have a few. If they got hold of the juicy tidbit that I am attracted to guys, they would spread it gleefully.

   But no one knows how to deal with it. My interactions with church people outside of church amount to Facebook, so I don't know if anyone avoids me because of my SSA......but no one ever talks to me about it or asks questions. Most likely it is because no one understands it and don't know what to say.

  The sad truth remains that our churches and pastors are not equipped to deal with this stuff. What would you do if a gay couple walked into your church holding hands? What would you do if a transgender person came and wanted to use the opposite bathroom they should use? What if a cross dresser walked in?

 God said we are to love, and that we do not know Him if we don't. He didn't give exceptions. There are no exceptions with Him. He loves everyone, and has commanded the same of us. OK, maybe politicians are the exception. Just kidding, but we act like it is. :)

  My brother-in-law pastors a church in Canton, OH that is fairly small in attendance...40's, I think. They had a young guy coming for a while, who may still be, who would dress as a woman. They weren't sure how to handle it, but they made him welcome and did not order him to leave.

 The whole LGBTQ thing is messy. I believe there are things we should stand firm on and not cave in. There is a movement determined to force everyone to totally accept every sinful and bizarre behaviors. We cannot compromise, yet we must also love.

  Let me open a window into what it is like to be SSA. I am not going to list everything, but what fits with this blog post. Many gay people struggle to believe God loves them. We tend to be more vulnerable, immature, easily hurt, many have father issues and have a difficult time picturing God as a loving father. Many don't feel they belong anywhere. Many are lonely...maybe most. Many long for a loving physical touch. Many fear rejection and feel they have been rejected all of their lives.

  I have heard many people say it, and I believe it. The gay community isn't about sex. Yeah, gay people are going to have sex with people of the same sex if they are not serving God. But that isn't what the gay community is all about. It is community, belonging, having friends, being around others like them without fearing judgement.

 Then these hurting people come into a church. A lot of them already fear the church. The reaction they get may determine where they spend eternity.

 Love is not approval of one's behavior. That is something we need to truly get. God loves everyone, but does not approve of everything we do.

  This pastor was totally in the wrong. Yeah, it can be messy dealing with the stuff we have today, but that is what the early church was like. There is nothing new under the sun. Read the books of Corinthians. Paul had to deal with some pretty bad stuff in the early church, and I doubt he mentioned everything.

   Something else I have discussed on my blog before is some of the hateful comments I heard at my church regarding gay people. That has been a while...close to 10 years. It has been a topic of discussion in my Sunday School class more recently, and the comments were very compassionate and Christian. It may have helped that several knew they had someone there who has SSA.

  But that should be the norm. No, we don't have to accept these things as OK and normal, but we can love people. Christians should be able to be friends with a gay person, but how many could do that?

 The church needs to be better equipped for these things, but we don't need equipped to love. That should come naturally for any true Christian.

Monday, November 12, 2018

November notions

   Common to popular belief among people who know me, I do not say everything on my mind. If I did, the Secret Service would have been at my door ages ago, and no one would like me. OK, that last one is an exaggeration. Maybe.

   It is difficult for me these days to write an actual blog post on one topic or idea. I think depression has interfered some in that. That is the main reason I do so many posts that have multiple topics in. If I am reading a blog post, I am not sure which kind I would prefer. I guess both have their advantages. It may be easier to get bored and lose interest when it is one continual post on one subject.

 This, however, is going to be a Chex Mix kind of blog post. I wonder how many carbs are in Chex Mix.....

1) Winter

 Winter has arrived in Ohio....and in PA. I had to work Saturday, and stepped outside around 5 am to see if the car needed warmed up. That was definitely an affirmative. The grass and my car were covered with snow, and the wind was gusting which made the 29 degrees feel much colder.

 I had a lot of slick roads, and when I reached PA, saw two accidents. The second involved two vehicles, and both were flipped upside down. That side of the 4 lane was shut down. I did make it safely to work, but was quickly reminded of why I don't like winter.

 And I'll admit I get frustrated with people who cheer on the snow. I am one who worries a lot about bad roads, and am scared to drive on bad roads. I miss summer already

 Unfortunately, this was a day at the other hospital, which is another 25 minutes or so. The one perk: it has a parking garage. Beaver hospital does not.

2) Make up

  I have always disliked make up on women. None of the women in my family wear it, and I know many women who do not. Maybe it is partly because I am not attracted to women, but I see so many women who just bring out the yuk factor. Lips unnaturally bright and red. Eyelids colored, which leaves the raccoon look. Cheeks an unnatural pink color. Fake eyelashes.

 Women are supposedly the fairer sex....so why do so many of them think they need make up to improve on how God made them? Meanwhile, we who are not the fairer sex do not need make up to make us look better. Maybe WE are the fairer sex. :)

3) Losing the House

  Republicans are just as good at spin as Democrats are. Losing the House is a really bad thing, and having Nancy Pelosi in charge is even worse. I have seen many people try to paint it as good thing, and many are posting a meme pointing out how many more House seats were lost under other presidents. It doesn't matter. We lost the House in this election, and it is not a good thing no matter who tries to downplay it or spin it.

And that is all I am saying about the evils of politics. Well, kind of. Up next:

4) Politics and the Gospel

  I posted this on Facebook yesterday, and it did not get much response. I assume most people thought it was a dig at a certain politician and his supporters, but it was not:

 What if we were as quick to share the Gospel as we are to share our political opinions? What if we tried as hard to win people to Jesus as we do to our politician and political views?

  I have been just as guilty in the past, so I am not setting myself up as some paragon of virtue in this area. It is alarming how much politics has taken over the church and Christians. I am not saying we shouldn't be involved at all. I am not saying not to vote. I am saying we need to shape up.

 When it is more important to try to convince someone to vote like you, than how  you might be making that person feel, you have a problem. When it is more important to win a political argument than to win souls to Jesus, you have a problem.

  It is important to elect politicians who share our values and who are not going to destroy the morality of our country more than has already happened, or destroy the freedoms we still possess. But when that becomes so important that we cease to love people and treat them as Jesus would, we have lost sight of what we should be. Hint: Jesus would not badger people to vote a certain way, or for someone  they feel they cannot vote for.

  Jesus spent His earthly ministry doing just that: ministry. From what we read in the Gospels, He seems to have avoided politics. The Jews were under the rather cruel rule of Rome, but when asked if the Jews should pay taxes to their oppressors, Jesus replied to give to Caeser what belongs to him, but to give to God what belongs to God.

 We are giving too much to Caeser. No, not money....though yeah, we are. It is depressing to see how much comes out of my paycheck and goes to the government. More importantly, we are giving too much time, effort, anger, and importance to Caeser. And most likely other things that didn't come to my mind.

 Think of how much time we spend on politics. We read news stories about it. We watch news about it. We post on social media about it. Some people post endlessly about it. We pray about it. We argue about it. We pressure people to vote for "our guy." We try to shame and guilt people into voting how we want them to vote. On, and on, and on and on, and......it is politics, politics, politics.

 By the time this election came, I was totally sick of politics. And I thought it was over for a while. How wrong I was. People are still going on and on about it. It is like a drug that we are overdosing on and have no desire to get free from.

 Whether we want to admit it or not, we have made politics into an idol. What if we did  do what I asked at the beginning of this post?

 The 2016 election has truly affected me in ways no one truly knows or would understand. It has changed my views on politics and voting, and it has awakened me to the fact that it has been too important to me. We need to be informed, but what if we spent as much time in the Bible and in prayer as we do on politics? Imagine what we could accomplish for God.

5) Loving people

  I John 4:7-8 says this:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (8) Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.

 Do we truly love? If we do, we don't do it well or enough. It is easy to love likable people. It is usually easy to like people like us. But what about those who are not like us? What about:

Gay people
Nancy Pelosi :)
People of the opposite political party as you
Channing Tatum (OK, not so difficult. I am kidding. Kind of.)
People from other religions as us
Dan Savage (very vicious dude who is gay and hates Christians) (and I do mean vicious)

  It isn't so easy to love some people. We let our prejudices, our ideals, and our fears rule who we love and how much we love. Is it easy to love some ISIS guy? No. It seems impossible. Yet when Jesus was hanging on the cross, He asked His Father to forgive those who were involved in His crucifixion. He loved them.

  There is something certain people like to tell me and others they feel the Bible tells us to do. I haven't done it, but I have been tempted to tell them when they truly love me like Jesus, and do everything else we have stopped doing, then I will listen to them. Those are things like being kind to one another, being peacemakers, being humble, truly denying ourselves, etc.

 If we truly loved people, it would make an immense difference in how we treat them 365 days a year, and 366 days in leap year. Nothing would stop us.

6) Temptation

  I have been doing very well in watching what I eat lately. I have dropped 13 pounds in 4 weeks, and got my sugar levels down. When I saw my doctor 3 weeks ago, he said my A1C numbers meant my sugar was up around 180. I tested it the other night, and it was 107.....which is really good at the end of the day. It is one thing to have a low read at the beginning of the day before you have eaten anything. It is another thing when you have had your 2 or 3 meals for the day.

  It isn't easy though. There is a Mennonite Sub and deli shop I drive by coming and going to work. Their subs are amazing. I doubt I will ever eat Subway again after having their subs. However, there is a ton of bread in their subs, and bread is terrible for diabetics. A nurse told me that I could eat a couple of Snickers bars, and my sugar would go up and come back down fairly fast. Eating very much bread causes it to go up and stay up. And that is an actual picture above of one of their subs.

  I was on my way home from work one night this week, and man did I want a sub. Badly. I did something one should not do when so tempted. I stopped and got some cheese and beef sticks, which I really enjoyed. But man, did I want a sub.

  And then I was on my way to work Saturday, and passed a Burger King near the hospital. I love their breakfast sandwiches, and they were on sale 2 for $4. I was again very tempted, but managed to keep driving. And drooling.

  Since I hit 13 pounds lost today, I rewarded myself with General Tso's chicken and fried rice for supper. And man, was it good.

 I was up around 240 at one point. I had dropped some, gained some, lost some.....and wasn't keepign track. I had a doctor's appointment in May, and another in October. I lost 4 pounds in that time period without trying. I weighed 228 four weeks ago at that appointment. Today the scale said 215. Well, 215.4. I don't count the number after the decimal.

 My goal is 190, maybe 185. We will see. So that is 20 or 25 pounds to go.

7) How to judge carbs

 I have discovered the easiest way to know what is high in carbs: just figure if I really like something.....it is high in carbs. If I don't like something, it is really low....such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, fungus.....

 Seriously, it is almost like that. There are a few exceptions. I was pleasantly surprised to discover cheese isn't too bad for diabetics. And I love cheese.

 Mashed potatoes and gravy: bad
Stuffing: really bad
Rice: pretty bad
Pasta: really bad
Pizza: bad

 See where I am going with that? I used to naively think diabetics had to just avoid sweets. How wrong I was. And surprisingly, sweets are easier to cut back on and avoid than the things mentioned above.

8) My low carb pizza

  There are a lot of recipes for low carb pizza crusts on line. I decided to try one. It called for almond flour, so I headed to Walmart to buy it and the other ingredients. The flour was over $13, and it was not even 5 pounds. Coconut flour was $3-something for the same amount. I Googled low carb pizza crusts with coconut flour, and found one that was supposedly good.

 I had also found a low carb pizza sauce recipe, and bought what I needed for it. The next day, I made the sauce, carefully following the directions: saute the onion and garlic in 2 Tb of olive oil. (I kind of followed directions. I added green pepper and sauted it also) (is sauted even a word??). After the sauteing was done, I added the spices and tomato paste. I then put that in a slow cooker with the crushed tomatoes.

 Verdict: the crust was different. I only had about 4 bites, and threw it away..after rescuing the pepperoni on top. It called for 1 1/2 cups of Mozzarella cheese, and what a waste. I'll never make it again. And now I have a bag of coconut flour I have no idea what I will do with.

 The sauce: it was very good. I am used to smooth sauce, but this was chunky, probably because I didn't dice the peppers, onion, and garlic well enough. There was some left over, which I plan to use, and I may make it again.

 I decided instead of trying another low-carb pizza crust made from weird flour, I will just eat regular pizza. The key is to not cut carbs out of my diet completely, but to cut back. If I am really good the rest of the day, a couple pieces of normal pizza is not going to hurt me.

  To help with the portion size for now, I bought a 2 pack of pizza crusts tonight that are 8 inches in diameter. I may have one for lunch tomorrow with a salad, and be good for supper...roast a chicken and have it with some veggies.

9) Eating right

 Here is how I have been eating the last few weeks:

Breakfast: I am not much of a breakfast eater, but it is recommended to eat breakfast.  On work mornings, I don't want to spend much time making it either. I have been eating boiled eggs for the last couple of weeks, broken up by bananas a few mornings. I obviously need to find more than boiled eggs and bananas. I may even eat some pop-tarts. The dietitian I saw said I should have some carbs in the morning for some reason I don't remember.

Lunch: I usually go low carb. If I am working, it has been nuts and popcorn. If I am home, it is usually a salad or some leftovers that are low carb, such as my turkey vegetable soup I made. And yeah, I know the salt isn't so good in the nuts and popcorn.....though I did just buy some unsalted mixed nuts.

Supper: I still don't go overboard, but supper is the meal when I am not as good. That is the time I would have pasta or pizza, chicken and rice, and other things higher in carbs.

 There are exceptions. Occasionally I get my carbs at lunch and go lighter at supper. Example: When I work Fridays at Beaver Hospital, I like to get the coffee shop special of the day, which is a walking taco and a drink, though I break taco rules and eat it sitting down. :)  Since it has Doritos in it, it isn't very low in carbs. So for supper Friday night, I had a salad and leftover turkey vegetable soup.

  Fortunately, I really like salads. And I can change it up some by adding chicken.
And also fortunately, meat is low in carbs. I love meat. Chicken is pretty much the best or one of the best for you, and I do love chicken. If I had to become a vegetarian, I think I'd want to die.

  It is a bit depressing to realize this is not a temporary thing. This has to be my normal. I do remind myself it could be worse. There are a lot of people with cancer or other worse diseases who would gladly trade it in for diabetes.

 But I still don't have to like it.

10) Trusting God

 OK, a bit more about politics, though this applies to other things too. There is something I have had on my mind since seeing all the political posts telling people to vote for this person, how bad that person is, reminding people to vote, etc. Are we really trusting God? If we trusted God in everything, would be be doing all that? Sure, it may not hurt to remind people.......but daily, and in multiple posts a day? It would seem we American Christians put too much faith and hope in politicians, and not enough in God.

 In my opinion, and I believe it is Biblical to say this: if we truly trusted God, we would pray, and leave it in His hands....maybe mention what politician stands for, then shut up and trust God.

11) Earrings

 OK ladies - and some guys - don't hate me for this. I have always found earrings to be rather silly. Why would anyone want to get holes punched in their ears to wear silly bangles and other fancy things?

 That aside, there is something that really bugs me. I hate to see earrings in small child. At least wait until the kid is old enough to decide if they want them. A coworker was in yesterday with her baby who will be 4 months old next week......and they already pierced her ears. 4 months! That should be considered child abuse. Seriously. It seems cruel and heartless to poke holes in the ears of a child too young to know what is going on.

 And what if they don't want their ears pierced when they are older?

12) Christmas decorating

  I am leaning towards decorating for Christmas soon. Last year, I had already decorated by early November...but it had been so long since I had been able to use my own decorations and been on my own, that I put them up early. I may do it on my next day off.

 I was thinking about not doing it at all, but that was when my depression was really bad. That has improved, most likely because of a new pill I am on.... so now I am getting in the mood to decorate.

  Last year, I put colored lights around the ceiling in my living room. I loved sitting in there with just those lights and the tree. I missed that after Christmas, so I got a couple strings of clear lights and put them up and usually just use those when I am in the living room, unless I am reading.

  I am a colored lights guy. You will never see white/clear ones on my tree. However.....I am not crazy about the idea of taking down the clear lights from my ceiling, putting up colored, then taking down the colored lights and putting up clear ones again. It sounds like a pain in the neck. It is a bother to do it, as there are some areas difficult to get to.... so I think I shall leave t he clear ones up for Christmas. The rest of the house will be in colored lights, the way God intended it to be. :)

13) Singles advantage

   Being single has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage comes in at holidays. If you are married, you have two sets of family to make happy.

 But guess what....I have only had to make one family happy at holidays all of my life. It is simpler... and I don't have a mother-in-law. :)

14) Thanksgiving

  Speaking of making 2 families happy, my sis that has my 3 nieces has to go to her in-laws every other year. This this the other year. I miss them when they can't be with us, but at least my nephews will be there. Oh, and their parents also. ;)

 And no....no carb counting on Thanksgiving. My mom makes the best home made stuffing, and I'd have to be unable to eat solid foods to skip that. It is my favorite thing at Thanksgiving.

  It is actually pathetic we need a special day to be thankful. I am sure many of us are thankful every day, but we so rarely express it. It is all too easy to focus on what is wrong in our lives than what is good....diabetes, high blood pressure, no hair (OK, that doesn't bother me anymore), same sex attractions, weight issues, depression, loneliness, high auto insurance, winter, snow, mice,  no kids.... and I could go on.

 But yet there are so many good things in life that we take for granted and overlook daily.

I have a good job

I have a great family who all gets along.....as long as I keep my mouth shut about Mr Trump....

I have 6 nieces and nephews I love a ton

I may have health issues, but I don't have cancer or some other horrible disease or disability

I don't have a mother-in-law. Kidding. Kind of.

There are 3 great seasons out of 4. Guess which one isn't great......

My best friend

 And there are many more.If we took the time to write them down, our blessings would far outnumber what is bad.

 It is also pathetic that the day after we spend being thankful, greed rules people on Black Friday.

15) The other healthy

   I do some deep thinking occasionally. I am not just made up of joking and having fun. I have been thinking about this eating healthy. I love...really love the foods that are high in carbs. It isn't easy cutting way back on those things, but I have to. If I don't want my sugar and triglycerides to get out of control, I must cut way back......and stay there.

   I mentioned earlier how tempted I was to chow down on a sub loaded with carbs, and breakfast sandwiches swimming in carbs. It isn't easy, but the benefits are already showing. I am losing weight, my sugar has dropped to levels that are not too bad. My clothes are fitting better, and I'll have clothes fit me again soon that haven't fit me in several years. Yeah, I kept a lot. I feel better about myself, and I feel better physically. But that all wouldn't be happening if I continued on like I had been doing.

  But what about the other healthy? The spiritual one. Being a Christian isn't an easy road, and there are many temptations and hindrances to trip us up and draw us away from God. There are things that are like carbs to diabetics that can be as damaging to us spiritually as carbs are to me physically.

 I'll give a couple of examples:

Game of Thrones. There seems to be a lot of Christians who love the show. I have never watched it, but have read a few articles by people on why Christians shouldn't. There is a lot of nudity and bad language mainly...yet I have seen Christians defend it. The show is so good, the plot and setting are so good, etc.

 But is it a show that will dull people spiritually and cause them to get more used to immorality, bad language, and other things we should try to avoid?

Queer Eye

 I mentioned this in a blog post a few months ago. There is a blog I used to follow that is written by several mostly young guys who all deal with same-sex attractions. They started posting some things I and others considered problematic, and several expressed concerns which were shot down. The guy in charge even did a post blasting concerns and criticisms. I was blocked from commenting, and I think others were also.

 The main post that caused the most concern and criticism was one by one of the youngest and newest guys. He discussed a show called Queer Eye and how funny and wonderful it is. Most - and I think all - of the other writers chimed in and agreed and disagreed with and shot down any concerns and criticisms.

  Here's the deal. Same sex attraction is a very heavy cross to bear. I won't go into all of the why's, or belabor the point......just trust me, it is more difficult than any heterosexual person can imagine. If I am wanting to live for God and not give into the temptations and desires that assail me, is it going to help me to watch a gay show? A friend of mine watched a trailer for the show on YouTube and told me that it was full of sexual innuendos and several jokes about male anatomy. And here you have these Christian guys who are SSA talking about how wonderful the show is.....on a blog being read by countless people with SSA.....some weaker than others.

   But no matter how strong a person is that is SSA, there is no way watching a gay TV show is not going to harm them in some way. My friend, also someone with SSA, said he would not be surprised to see those guys back living the gay lifestyle in a few years because of that, and some other stuff they post.

 How serious are we about this Christian walk? What are we doing, seeing, listening to, wearing, saying that is dulling our spiritual senses and causing us to be more accepting of the wickedness and immorality around us? It can be TV shows and movies, some kinds of books, music, politics, Facebook, sports....and it can be different for everyone.

 Physical health is important, but spiritual health is way more important, but not focused on as much as it should be.

16) Catching Christmas
 Yeah, this is kind of a book review...but I am highly recommending this new Christmas read.

Terri Blackstock is one of my favorite Christian suspense authors. She is one of the earliest Christian suspense authors when that genre' was just starting up. She came out with her first Christmas novel, and I missed the chance to review it. I bought it, and read it today.....and what an awesome book.

 Here is the book description:

As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current court case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is making his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure that she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

 As soon as I read the first paragraph, I knew I was going to like this book, and that it was going to be an amusing read. The book is first person, but switches between Sidney, the gorgeous granddaughter of the elderly lady..... and Finn, former gourmet chef turned cab driver.

The first paragraph:

 "I'm not a violent man, but I have a dozen reasons for pulling my cab over and throwing the chattering man in the backseat onto the curb. His cheesy Christmas outfit is one. His love affair with Uber is another."

  And no, he doesn't throw the guy out. This book was a hilarious and awesome read. I was reading it on my break at work and was laughing out loud...slightly to my embarrassment.

 So if you like a good Christmas story, read this one. Warning....you will laugh, cry, and laugh more. 

17) Thanksgiving 2

 I didn't realize next week was Thanksgiving until this morning. I was wondering what my schedule was for next week, and it hit me that next Thursday is Thanksgiving. Yikes.

 My Thanksgiving schedule is awesome this year. I am not sure how it happened, but I am thankful. I am off this weekend, work Monday at Beaver (my favorite hospital), Tuesday and Wednesday at the other hospital (groan), off Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, and the weekend....4 glorious days off in a row. Yeah, I am looking forward to it.