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

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.

Monday, November 18, 2019

November stuff(ing)

  This is my third blog post this month, though the first one was started in October. Hopefully, I won't drag this one out so long. And I actually did a normal blog post on one subject. That is pretty rare for me these days. Most of my posts are multiple subjects, like this one.

 I am starting this post Saturday evening, November 9. And I have no idea when I will finish it, or where it will go.

1) The bear in the trunk

  I ended my previous multiple subject post talking about the trunk in my living room. I decided to display it open, and had put one of my nautical pillows in it, but felt it needed something else. I showed the picture to the lady from my doctor's office who has given me so many patriotic/Americana decor. Her suggestion was an Americana teddy bear. Problem is, I don't have one. But I do have a white teddy bear. Now, you may be thinking "what is a guy my age doing with a teddy bear?" More on that later.....

 So I took her suggestion, and really liked how it turned out. Today, I started decorating for Christmas. Yeah, I am one of "those" people. I am planning on putting my tree where the trunk is, and was going to put it in the basement for now.......but I gave it a Christmas look, and I like the look so well, I think I can fit it in  the dining room.

 Now back to the bear. First off, keep in mind that I am not a normal guy. I don't get into sports, hunting, and all that "manly stuff." I'm not even attracted to the right gender. But I am no sissy. And besides, who says teddy bears are only for kids and females? If a woman can watch football and rave about how wonderful the Steelers are doing, then can't I have a teddy bear?

 Then there is the fact I didn't buy it. A few years ago, I did a blog post titled "I don't want to be normal." In that post, I discussed not being a normal man, and being OK with that. I listed some ways, and among them was this statement: "I have stuffed animals........for decor. Except a teddy bear - everyone needs one of them (who said it isn't normal for adult men to have a teddy bear anyway?)...a stuffed Toad from the Mario games (gift from my nieces), stuffed Angry Birds (gifts from my nieces and nephews.....)"

  A very special lady from my church died back in April at the age of 59. It was sudden and unexpected. Becky Hartley exemplified love and Christianity in a way that all too few do. She was like a mother to the whole church, and to many outside of the church. She was among the first handful of people I told about my same-sex attractions, and she often checked up on me, telling me more than once she didn't want me to fall through the cracks as a lone single guy at church.

 Why am I talking about this wonderful Christian lady? She read that blog post, and decided that I needed a teddy bear. I had to work this one Sunday, and when I came home, my mom handed me a gift bag. Becky Hartley had bought me a teddy bear, because she decided this single guy needed one. I will most likely think of her every time I look at it. And now, it has a prominent place sitting in my trunk, now part of a Christmas display. I had planned on putting the trunk in the basement to make room for the tree, but that isn't happening now. I need to re-think where the tree will fit in.

 If more Christians were like her, this world would be a much better place.

2) Asking Jesus into your heart

  It never ceases to amaze me the things that people make into a big deal. How people ask Jesus to save them is one of those things. I have read and heard many people take on this issue. They criticize the use of the "sinner's prayer", the "asking Jesus into your heart", and other methods. I have read what people have written, and comments others have made in response, and I have come to my own conclusions. I think my conclusions make sense, but then I wouldn't share them if I thought otherwise. :)

  Jesus is so eager to forgive us and save us, that I cannot imagine Him being picky about how we do it or what words we say.

 In the story of the prodigal son, the father in the story represents God. He was watching for his son to come back, and went running to meet him. He didn't stand and wait til his son said the proper words or groveled long enough, he embraced him and welcomed him home.

 Brennan Manning in The Ragamuffiin Gospel put it this way:

While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). I am moved that the [prodigal son's] father didn’t cross-examine the boy, bully him, lecture him on ingratitude, or insist on any high motivation. He was so overjoyed at the sight of his son that he ignored all the canons of prudence and parental discretion and simply welcomed him home. The father took him back just as he was . . . We don’t have to sift our hearts and analyze our intentions before returning home. Abba just wants us to show up . . . we don’t have to be perfect or even very good before God will accept us . . . Even if we come back because we couldn’t make it on our own, God will welcome us. He will seek no explanations about our sudden appearance. He is glad we are there . . . [He will say, like the prodigal's father,] “Hush, child. I don’t need to know where you’ve been or what you’ve been up to.”

  Then we have the thief on the cross. Luke 23:

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him,[a] saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

  It doesn't appear it took much for him to be saved and to gain eternal life.

 So pray the sinner's prayer, ask Jesus into your heart.....whatever words or method we use, I believe Jesus is waiting to forgive us and that there are no right or wrong ways to ask Him to do it.

3) A True Family Christmas 

  I buy at least a few new Christmas CDs every year.....which might explain why I have so many Christmas CDs. It looks like I will only be buying one new one this year, and it is the new one by the Collingsworth Family: A True Family Christmas.

 The last few years I have done a blog post with a brief review of each new Christmas CD I have bought. Since that is only one this year, I will do it here.

 First, a listing of the songs:

Christmas Spirit Medley
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow
Sleigh Ride (piano)
We Do Christmas Like We Mean It 
Home For Christmas Medley
Another Christmas Closer 
I Call Him Lord
Carol Of The Bells (piano)
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
Isn't That Why He Came
Mary Did You Know
The Story Of The First Christmas

  I was a bit disappointed in their first Christmas CD, Feels Like Christmas (2012). This CD is definitely better, and the song selection is better.

1) Christmas Spirit Medley: The Spirit of the Season, Caroling Caroling, and We Need A Little Christmas. This medley starts out the recording. They do it very well, and it is a great way to start out the CD.

2) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: a song that has been sung by many artists, and Phillip Jr does a great job. I always thought he should be featured more than he is, and he is featured more on this CD. One of my pet peeves has been the amount of Christian authors who sing the line "if the fates allows." There are a few who substitute "if the Lord allows", and kudos to the Collingsworths for doing that.

3) Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow: not one of my favorites, but they do a great job on it

4) Sleighride: This is instrumental piano. I would have liked more instrumentation with it, but it is a great solo piano version....with one exception. There are a few times when she does something that makes it sound like she is making mistakes, but obviously is supposed to sound like that.

5) We Do Christmas Like We Mean It: The only definite "no" on the CD. It just doesn't fit at all with their style, and I skip it every time. Every time. What were they thinking?

6) Home for Christmas Medley: The best track on the CD. They do an awesome job on "There's No Christmas Like a Home Christmas" and "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays." A very pleasing medley.

7) Another Christmas Closer: A new song that is somewhat a sad song, but is a nice addition to the CD.

8) I Call Him Lord: They do a great job on this one. It isn't technically a Christmas song, but goes well on a Christmas CD. My only complaint: it is too similar to the most recent arrangements of this song by Mark Lowery and the Whisnants.

9) Carol of the Bells: Awesome instrumental version with other orchestration.

10) I Heard the Bells: My only complaint: They skipped the last verse. They do roll out a great performance on the song though, with different family members doing a solo on the first 3 verses, then coming together for a rousing finish on the fourth verse. They own the fourth verse.

11) Isn't That Why He Came? This is a new song, and is a close second to my favorite track (Home for Christmas Medley). It is just a great song with great lyrics.

12) Mary Did You Know? Yeah, everybody and their brother has recorded this. Phillip Jr solos this, and I felt it could have used more orchestration and that the family should have joined in before the very end. That isn't to say it is bad. He does a great job on it.

13) The Story Of The First Christmas: This is over 11 minutes, and is a medley with narration between the songs. I like it, but I usually find  recitations or narration gets old after you listen to it so many times, so that is likely to happen.

 The CD comes in at an hour and 1 minute, longer than most CDs out there. And worth getting. And the song I don't like is also on YouTube, but I am not putting it on here. Because I don't like it. :)

4) Christmas shopping

  I actually started my Christmas shopping later than normal this year, but got a lot done last week on Lakeside Collections' website. They have some pretty cool stuff, and had an offer if you bought at least 6 items, you got 15% off, and free shipping. I put together a pretty good sized order, buying for all of my family members along with the 2 nephew wannabes' (that would be the boyfriends of 2 of my nieces) :)

 There were two of the same item that I was afraid would not make it intact, but they did. And most of what I ordered is boxed, which makes it great for wrapping. Something I am not too great at.

5) Christmas decorating

 I did start already. I can't help it....I am excited to decorate my new place. I did decide not to do lights in all of my windows. My back windows won't be seen by many people, since they just look out on a few neighbors behind me, so I am going to concentrate on the front and side windows, and my second window in my bedroom that is in the back....just to make my room uniform.

 Most of my decorating is in the living room. I took down some of my nautical decor on the walls and other places, and put Christmas decorations up in their place. I have a pencil tree that I am putting in front of the hall window.

 I wanted to decorate the porch, but am not seeing a way. There is no corner to stop a tree from blowing over, and the cement posts have no way to keep lights on. If I had a park type bench, I would put it out and decorate it like my parents' do.

 I love the red truck Christmas decor, and bought a couple of new things for this year. They were part of the big Lakeside Collections order.

6) John Crist

  It is sad when something bad comes out on a public Christian figure. Crist is a Christian comedian. It seems he is guilty of sexual harassment and manipulation accusations coming against him, and his confession to engaging in what he terms as reckless behavior that “violated [his] own Christian beliefs, convictions and values. Article here.

 I am not going to throw stones, but it should be a warning to all Christians how easy it is to get tripped up in the wrong things.

7) Christmas decorating 2

 Today is November 14, and the second of two days off in a row. Since I am excited to decorate my new place.....factored in with the fact that I like to decorate early for Christmas...I did a lot of decorating on my days off. Hey, it is just me, and I enjoy looking at Christmas decorations. One of my favorite things: to lie on the couch in my living room with nothing but the Christmas tree lights and any other Christmas lights on as I listen to Christmas music.

 I did work my tree in close to the front window. I have a padded bench/shoe keeper that I moved out of the living room for now. I decided the trunk needs to stay where it is. I was wanting a Christmas runner for on the black stand in my living room, and found one at the Corner Store for $3.49. I debated about it for a few minutes. It is a montage of several Christmas things: candy canes, gifts, snowmen, stockings, etc.....and Santa. I don't decorate with Santa. But I decided I liked the runner enough to overlook Mr. Try to take Christmas away from Jesus. Kind of kidding on that name.

  Anyway, I think the runner looks pretty cool. As for Santa, I am pretty anti-Santa. I have a few Santa songs I listen to.  My favorite is "Hey Santa" by Carly and Wendy Wilson. Don't buy the CD. The rest of the CD is blah at best.

 I put up and decorated two Christmas trees this year. Two years ago, I bought a pencil tree with boring clear lights. My intent was to do like my mom, and decorate it for different seasons and holidays. That didn't happen. I tried to sell it, but didn't succeed, so I put it in the upstairs hall by the window, and decorated it for Christmas. Part of the lights don't work, so I unplugged them and put colored ones on it.

 Speaking of trees, last year my youngest niece told me it looked like I threw my ornaments on my tree. I told her if she says that this year, she is going to come over and redecorate it. :)

 In addition to the other decorations in the living room, I put a string of blue lights on each side of  the big doorway between the living room and dining room.

 The bookshelf I decorated may have books on it next year, so who knows what I'll do with what is on it this year. I took some of my nautical decor off the walls to make room for Christmas. I am happy with how it all turned out.

8) How would Jesus vote?

  Ever think about stuff like that? I do. I actually find myself wondering if Jesus would even vote. I mentioned this in a previous post, but the only time I remember of Jesus getting close to politics, is when the religious leaders tried to trap Him by asking if they should pay taxes to Caesar. He of course got out of their attempted trap as He always did.

 It is so easy for us to say who we should or should not vote for as Christians. In a comment on a Facebook friend's post, a man commented "voting 3rd Party is that last thing we should do as Christians". I don't comment on every stupid remark I see on social media, or I would wear my fingers out, but I did challenge him to back that up with Scripture, knowing he cannot.

 I know it is about considered heresy to say this, but there is nothing in the Bible to indicate we should or should not vote. I am not saying we shouldn't, but I will say this: we would be better off to sit at home and not vote, then to act like politics has caused us to act these last few years. I do blame Donald Trump for a lot of it, but that doesn't remove the guilt from the rest of us. Just today, I had someone from the same church background as I am block me on Facebook because I am anti-Trump. And they are not the first.

 If politics is going to cause us to argue, make false accusations, try to guilt or scare people into voting like us, cause us to block people and act un-Christ-like, we would be better off to avoid politics and voting and live under the rule of the worst kind of people on earth. Sound like a far out comment? Not really.

 The Bible says nothing about voting. It says nothing about America. But you know what it does say? It has a lot to say about how we treat others. Thanks to politics, we don't do too well in that area.

 During Jesus' earthly ministry, He was way too busy healing and loving people to be involved in politics. Wouldn't it be awesome if Christians today were the same? Oh, I am not saying not to vote...I am saying wouldn't it be awesome if we were so busy loving people and spreading the Gospel that we didn't have time for endless political posts and arguing? Wouldn't it be awesome if Christians spent as much time spreading their political views as they do spreading the Gospel? Wouldn't it be awesome if Christians worked as hard to win people to their Savior as they do on winning people to their politician and political viewpoints? This shouldn't seem like radical ideas, but they are. Because today's American Christians aren't like that. Politics has become equal and synonymous with our Christianity. The voting booth has become as important as our place of worship. The Constitution has become as important to us as the Bible, and I fear American Christians view things through its prism before the Bible.

 The devil can use anything to trip people up, to get their attention and energy off of God and spiritual things. We tend to warn against things like porn, drugs, gambling, sex, and other sins. But what if politics is a better and more useful tool for the devil? It causes division among God's people. It causes bad attitudes. It gets the focus of Christians, and definitely causes Christians to ignore or set aside what the Bible says about so much.

   We are so partisan as Christians. It is bad to criticize politician A, and you must pray for him. Yet it is fine to criticize harshly politician B and any others of the same politician persuasion. A Christian should not say anything bad about A, but feel free to say anything, no matter how bad, about B. It is bad if B does it, but OK if A does it. I honestly can't see Jesus badmouthing candidates of either party, can you?

 I am of course including myself in this, but I believe politics above anything else, has shown how unlike Jesus and how un-Christian we American Christians can be. Sadly, it doesn't look like that is going to change any time soon.

 In conversation a while back, I mentioned this to a friend, and I'll use you in this scenario: You are a Republican who loves Trump and has the same view of Hillary and other Democrats as most of we Republicans do. You have a friend who is not a Christian, and is a big Hillary supporter. She sees what you post about Hillary, calling her Killary, posting "lock her up", and the host of other many nasty Hillary posts that are out there. What do you think your chances are of ever winning her to Jesus?

 Maybe we would all be better off steering clear of so much political talk. It doesn't really do any good. All of the pro-Trump posts are not changing my mind. My anti-Trump posts are not going to change the minds of any of his supporters. And the same goes for Hillary posts.

 I'll close this part with this, as it fits here: A good friend of mine has a couple of atheist friends. They were horrified and disgusted at the support of Christians for Trump in light of.......well, you know. They said they never want to hear another Christian talk about morals after supporting and voting for Trump. And I only bring that up to say if so many people had not been so vocal about voting for him and why we should overlook so much, these atheists may not have known there was so much Christian support for him and so much of a push to overlook so much. But we Christians must let everyone know our political views......

9) A favorite Christmas song

  I love Christmas songs, and it is about impossible for me to pick one favorite. One of my all time top favorites would have to be Come On, Ring Those Bells by Evie Karlsson. I think  she is the first to have recorded that song, which she did in 1977 when she was still Evie Tornquist. (Wow, that recording is 42 years old!) It has not been recorded as much as songs like Mary, Did You Know?, but it has still been recorded several times, and I have yet to hear anyone do it as much justice as she did 42 years ago. I have been listening to her sing it for many years now, and it still remains close to the top of my favorite Christmas songs.

 Music is such an awesome part of our lives. Many people can hear a certain song, and are reminded of a certain time in their life and how they felt. There is a song by the Southern Gospel group the Nelons from their 1987 release that reminds me of a job I hated. Not sure why it is just that song, and not the whole album......but anyway, Come On Ring Those Bells by Evie remind me of good times and good things.

10) Chik fil a

  I am going to try to finish this post this evening, November 18.

  Chik fil a made the news today when they announced they were going to stop giving to organizations and businesses branded "anti-LGBQT". Story here. This is disappointing after the stance they have had for so long, and have been boycotted and bullied by the very intolerant left and even more intolerant LGBQT bullies.

 I can't see this not hurting them. Myself included, there are many conservatives and Christians who have supported them because of their stance and the boycotts. Their sandwiches ARE good, but they are also extremely expensive. Are the same people going to support them as much with this new stance?

 Here's a few points I wanted to make:
 **And, yeah, I deal personally with the whole same-sex attractions/gay issue myself....but I believe giving in is wrong, and I believe what the Bible says about it. That said, onto my points:

a) The LGBQT crowd has raged about bullying and intolerance for years. And yes, both exist...but they have proven they excel better than anyone with their bullying and intolerance. They can't handle anyone disagreeing or saying they are wrong or sinning. They want 100% capitulation  and they want dissenters silence and shut down.

b) After years of boycotts and hate from the left and LGBQT, it seems counter productive to suddenly give into the bullies.

c) The organizations labeled "anti-LGBQT" are not necessarily so. One is the Salvation Army. They do a lot of good, but to make the bullies happy, Chik fil a is suddenly stopping donations to this wonderful organization. Here's the thing: anyone who dares disagree is anti-LGBQT. Don't agree with gay marriage? You are anti-LGBQT...and so forth. I fear it will get worse, until we are one day fined or jailed for daring to speak out against anything gay.

 (And don't sit on your laurels, Trump supporters. When he was running for president, he promised to further gay rights, was for genderless bathrooms, and appeared at a LGBQT for Trump rally with a rainbow flag saying "LGBQT for Trump." Don't think he'd take the part of Christians over the LGBQT mob.)

d) I have been reading a lot about the decision, and reading comments from both sides. There are already gay people saying things like "They are 15 years too late." "They waited 15 years, I am going to wait 15 years before I buy anything there." "I'm not eating there til they apologize and admit their wrongdoing." If Chik fil a thinks giving into the bullies will make them happy, that isn't necessarily true.

e) What is crazy, is all this hate came because the founder of Chik fil a said be believes in traditional marriage. Wow. Obama said the same before he became president, and they didn't hold it against him.

f) I do see this hurting them. I doubt there will be boycotts by Christians, but I can see these things happening:

A slow down of Christians and conservatives eating there.

Churches and Christian organizations pulling back from advertising them and using them for functions

Positive feedback from the Christian community.

  Chik fil a may have cooked their goose. And those going there don't want goose. They want chicken.

11) Thanksgiving

 Don't worry my "you're skipping Thanksgiving when you decorate early for Christmas" friends....I am still celebrating Thanksgiving, even with my early Christmas decorations up. I think it is great we set aside a time each year to focus on being thankful, but it is sad that we don't focus more on it the rest of the year. It is so easy to focus on the bad and what we don't have, while most of us are rich and have much compared to many in other areas of the world....even compared to some here in our own country. I am that way. Depression robs you of a lot, and that is one thing it robs you of: seeing what you have, and how good you truly have it.

 Other years, I have done 30 days of thankfulness for the month of November, but I really dropped the ball on that this year. So I shall do that here. It will be a good way to end this post that needs a stopping place.

 Every other year, my sister Vicki has to go to her in-laws, but this is a year that our whole gang will be together. My mom is worried we won't have enough stuffing, as it is a big hit. She still does it in the bird, and we haven't died yet.

 By the way, what is up with some people calling it "dressing"? You don't dress a turkey, though the one I pictured above IS kind of cute dressed up. You STUFF a turkey. And I challenge you to go to the store and buy Stove Top Dressing. You won't find it. I assure you. :)

12) 30 days of thankfulness crammed into one

As promised....

1) My family. We aren't perfect, but we love each other, get along great together, and have fun when we are together.

2) Salvation

3) A job I like

4) Days off (even if you like your job, days off are awesome!)

5) Books, and time to read them. And shelves to keep them on

6) The Bible.....and different translations/versions of it

7) My mom's fried chicken

8) Music

9) My new place that I love

10) Lighthouses

11) Christian suspense, and the authors who write it

12) Friends

13) Food

14) Paid holidays off

15) The internet. Yeah, there is a lot of bad about it, but it is very useful also

16) My nieces and nephews. Yeah, they are included in #1, but I am very thankful for them and that they want to hang out with me. That usually costs me paying for lunch..... :)

17) Writing. I do love to write. I just struggle with what to write about.

18) Warm weather, sandals, and cooler clothing

19) Family vacations

20) A good and dependable car

21) Second (and more) chances

22) Days without snow

23) Being able to walk so many places in town

24) Thrift stores and good deals

25) Christmas, and all it means

26) Chocolate

27) Good health. Mostly

28) My bed. (It is very comfortable)

29) Jeans

30) My sense of humor. A lot of people may think my jokes are not funny, but it helps me in my worst times of depression.