Excuses, Excuses… Are We Ashamed of Our Children?

green teeth nateA long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away, when I “only” had two children, I did things called “play dates.”

My first two children were (and are) sweet and quiet and compliant children, while my young mama friend’s play date son was a firecracker of a little boy… (a wonderful temperament I would soon discover with my third.  Wink, wink.)  He had the energy of a category 5 hurricane contained within a soda bottle, with the cap slightly open… bursting out unpredictably.  I was then, as I am now, the kind of parent who’s not likely to meddle in another parent’s child raising techniques.  I don’t parent other people’s kids, I don’t give condescending looks, I don’t give unsolicited advice… mainly because I HATE it when others have done it with me.  Sidenote: if you have one or two kids, it’s “adorable” when you give me unsolicited parenting advice with my 9.  I might smile, I might be silent, but inside I have a bit of advice of my own that most likely involves several swear words and is certainly not charitable.  But I digress…

So back to this new mama… There I was, not saying anything, being cordial, being supportive, loving on my own little ones, and she breaks out with this gem: “Oh, um, my son has ODD.  So that explains his behavior.”  My response was, “Huh?  What’s ODD?”  “Oh, it’s Oppositional Defiance Disorder.  He simply doesn’t follow rules or listen to me.  Oh well.  It’s tough being a mother of someone with this kind of disability.”

I was stunned.  The child was around three years old, he simply was high-spirited and strong-willed, and his parents were new at this (so they hadn’t figured out time-outs or any kind of leadership or discipline yet.).  And she felt she needed to make an excuse for him…  Even when I hadn’t said something like, “Why is your son’s head spinning around like a possessed child?”  Nope, he was her child, so I felt he was her business.  Unless a parent’s child is hurting mine, I believe it is their prerogative if they’re OK with their child punching them in the face or biting them in the arm.  I might not invite them over to play with my kids anymore, as I don’t enjoy watching kids beat up their parents, or anybody, but in the end, they are the ones who have to live with their parenting, as I have to live with mine.

Fast forward to myself, several years later, when we discovered that our son had Aspergers Syndrome.  I found MYSELF saying things like, “Oh, he has Asperger’s, so that’s why we have to not let him watch this intense movie, or that’s why he’s crying at the age of 10 over spilled legos, or that’s why he just stomped off and slammed the door.”  Sure, I’ve seen the condescending “wow” looks from other parents who either don’t have this particular challenge, or perhaps have different ones that are even worse, but overlook them for their own children.  I always felt I needed to “explain” his behavior, as if his personality and unique challenges were something to make an excuse for.

Turns out, I was embarrassed.  And not just with him.  I’ve also “explained” that so-and-so is in her “terrible threes”, or so-and-so is strong-willed, or so-and-so is hormonal, or so-and-so is shy, or so-and-so was a preemie so that explains why she looks teeny for her age… and the list goes on….

And why would I be embarrassed by my own beloved children?

The answer is simple: pride.

MY pride.  Which is ridiculous.  Because if I were to define myself by all my disabilities and flaws and shortcomings, I would be leaving out who I actually am: a Princess Daughter of the King, worthy of Love, infused with far more gifts than flaws, a person loved by God and given a unique mission that only I, out of the entire universe, can accomplish…. the same as each of my children.

When my Loving Father looks at me, as well as my loved ones, I doubt they see, “Oh, that’s a person with OCD, ADHD, prone to anxiety and depression at times, foot-in-mouth syndrome (FIMS? ;) ), earthy, legally blind, etc etc etc…..  No, I think they see me by my name.  Which is how we should all see each other.

I have been blessed to know parents whose child has an obvious condition or disability, where I have never heard one “excuse” or “explanation” from them unless asked, or unless relevant, or unless they are sharing a true struggle with a close friend.  This is an inspiration to me.

And, excuses don’t stop with parents diagnosing their children with every “condition” on the planet.  Our society is ashamed of many classes of people.  People tend to be defined by their disability (and some people even define THEMSELVES by their disability.)  Why is a person called “a Down’s Syndrome person”?  Why aren’t they simply called by their name?

Why do people define themselves by Bipolar, or depression, or their addiction, or their insecurities?  You know, I’ve stopped letting people off the hook.  I’m not going to grant you special permission to beat up your wife, or your kids, or neglect yourself or your family, or not seek healing/treatment, or not seek work (if you CAN work), or be a jerk, or wallow in despair… you know why?  Because I’m most likely just as disabled as you are, if not more.  And I’m not letting MYSELF off the hook anymore either.

Yes, support groups and specified treatments are effective realities.  Denying any struggle carries its own set of consequences (as I’ve addressed in previous blogs.)  I absolutely love and welcome when people share their burdens with me.  It opens a door and builds a bridge and allows us to walk together on this tough journey called life.

But excuses?  No.  Not for ourselves, and certainly not for our children.  Excuses imply “throwing in the towel”, defeat, shame…

We each have a name.  And we are loved.  Whether people understand our unique challenges or not.

Wishing you a Blessed Advent Season,

shalimamma

P.S. The picture at the top is my wonderful… high-spirited, with many gifts… son, my number three.  :)

Is the Glass Half Empty, or Half Full? The New American “Religion”…

Pitcher of Red Beverage“Whatever you did, you’ve been officially labeled a disturber of the peace.” -Frodo to Gandalf, Fellowship of the Ring

 

“Bruce: Hello, how ’bout you, mate? What’s your problem?

Marlin: Me? I don’t have a problem.

Bruce: Ohh, okay. DENIAL!!!!”  -Finding Nemo

 

“Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’…” -John 18:38

 

“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!” -A Few Good Men

 

I have been toiling over my thoughts behind this article for some time now… mainly because this subject been rolling around in my head for years.  Actually, for decades.

I was one of those kids who started off caring deeply, in a world that is largely apathetic.  I am blessed to have come from a family who also cares deeply, intensely, about the most important aspects of life… but there are times when this “blessing” as far as my outlook has felt more like a curse.  In the past, I have envied those who could be numb when all kinds of horror surrounded them, or mostly blind so that they don’t even have to be numb.  These people can only see the nose in front of their face (if that), and are only really concerned by topics like getting faster internet service, or whether it’s going to be rainy the next day, or how much money is in their little bank account.

There are also those who are not naturally numb or indifferent, but choose to be blind and numb through drugs or other substances.  They just can’t handle the depth of feeling anymore, so they shut it off.  My hunch has always been that those who turn to drugs probably “feel deeper” than most, and don’t know what to do with this intensity… so they shut it off, whether it be with street or prescription drugs.  I get it.  Because I’ve been there.

But there is another phenomenon floating around and spreading these days that has me more concerned than those who would promote heroin use.  Because most people agree that heroin use isn’t a good idea.  We all kind of know that.  Even the addicts know it.

There is a new drug in town.  A deadly one.  And actually, I’m not so sure it’s new.  But it’s gaining in popularity with leaps and bounds.

I call it “False Optimism.”  Which equates ultimately to “Denial.”

Allow me to explain….  Most of us have heard the “glass half-full OR half-empty” question… if you answer half full, you are an “optimist.”  If you answer half empty, you are a “pessimist”.  But I have a third answer to this question:  BOTH answers are true.  The glass is half empty AND half full.  And if you deny either one of those, you are not living in the fullness of truth.  The glass can’t be half empty without it being half full.  It is not one or the other.  It is BOTH.

The phenomenon that is spreading (with the help of ‘health and wealth folks’ like Joel Osteen) is that the glass is only half full.  And that’s all you need to know.  Just focus.  Focus on the full.  Ignore the empty.  And you’ll be good as gold.  You may even acquire more gold.  Who knows.

To clarify, it is good to focus on God’s blessings and on joy and hope, etc…  Goodness knows, I need to focus on the reality of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty for my own survival.  But He allowed us to be on this earth to see the CONTRAST of His goodness as compared to the “work of the enemy” in this world, and this contrast should inspire us to gear up for battle, to fight the half-empty glass that the world offers, to get engaged, to do good, to love, and to stand up for the weak who are being persecuted, harmed, and even killed.  If we only focus on half of the truth, we are missing out, and we run the danger of being easily deceived.  If anyone tells you that the glass is only half empty, they will lead you down a road of depression and despair, and an addiction to melancholy wailing and bitterness galore.  If anyone tells you that the glass is only half full, they are lying to you, and they are usually selling something, whether you’d like to admit it or not.  This kind of false optimism usually involves the “glazing over of eyes” and the “drinking of Kool-Aid” and can end up pitting you against loved ones who actually care deeply for you, or who can see the peddling salesman a mile off… whether they are selling a way of thinking or a product of some sort, it usually results in you handing over your mind, your heart, your money, your family, and eventually all of your ‘extra’ time.  And you won’t see it if you are focusing on a fake glass of water that is half full but not half empty.  Actually, your eyes may be crossed, behind those rose-colored glasses.  Let’s hope no one’s getting truly harmed while you are staring at that glass, trying to make yourself believe…

I say that last sentence because I’ve actually seen equal harmful lasting consequences from the “silver-lining crowd” as I have from the ‘drag your chin on the ground and scowl at people” crowd.  I’ve seen people “smile and wave” while their lives are literally falling apart (a tragic example is that of Robin Williams recently), and I’ve seen “down in the dumps” folks that drive every last charitable person away.  Neither way works, and neither way leads to truth.

I’ve seen it over and over again, and I have experienced it several times first-hand.  Only, it seems (praise God) that my eyes couldn’t stay glazed for too long, or down in the dumps for too long.  Eventually, I become a “disturber of the peace” by asking questions.  I’m not content with depression (or a life-sentence of mental illness with no desire for healing), whether from myself or those I hang around, and I’m not content with glazed eyes that are oblivious to reality and obviously fake with a big huge mote around their heart (and intellect, sometimes) and a big huge shiny-toothed sparkly smile.  Pulease.  I’m trying to stifle laughter and tears at the same time here.

And, I have discovered that the only people who can handle my questions are either humble (or trying to be, as I feebly try), or desperate for truth as I am, or both.  If people have glazed eyes or they have something to hide, and you are a Truth Seeker, they will fear you.  They may even hate you, and slander you.  If you are one of these, like me, you are a small percentage of the world.  The majority of people are conflict-avoiders, or fakers who could win an Emmy for their red carpet performance, or people who truly don’t care, so long as their rent is paid and their convenience and comfort aren’t challenged.  But you, the one who cares, who hungers, who knows there’s more to life than just the humdrum mundane cacophony of endless chores and the “next paycheck”… YOU are the one who will change the world.  You CAN tip the scales.  Because you SEE.  You are SOBER.  You are not so drunk with “All Is Well” that you are unable to fight in the battle when necessary. You are ready, with a positive, and realistic attitude, based in Truth.

The Truth is that there is no Empty Tomb without a crucifixion.  The truth is that there are really living breathing people, children, being persecuted and massacred.  The truth is that passionate amoral people are attempting to take over the world, and they are making unfortunate headway.

And the TRUTH, if we are awake and ready, is that the ultimate victory is God’s, and God’s alone.  THIS is true optimism, and true joy.  I just want to be in HIS army, and not the one who fiddles while the world burns down.

Love and blessings…

shalimamma

 

What Does It Mean to… Keep it Real?

imageSo, I’ve been tossing THIS mediation around for a looooooooong time… Mainly because my ‘keepin’ it real’ theory kept changing.

What’s real? Or in the words of Pontius Pilate, what is truth?

Well, naturally, I always thought that shalimamma’s outlook was the real one.  Of course, right?  My outlook and way of thinking has been the measure with which all my perceptions have been compared… Until one day, it occurred to me that the world wasn’t shalimamma-centric.  Oops.

It appears there are other people (lots of ‘em), and they all have a myriad of completely different experiences, perspectives, wisdom (or lack thereof), mental challenges, personalities, temperaments…. And all of us see through our own eyes.  And what we see we believe to be true and right as far as our thinking….

Until we step outside our own brains and watch ourselves. Let me tell you, this is not easy to do (and requires that we are still sane, which sometimes I’m not even sure about THAT!)

Some time ago, I had a questionable relationship experience.  For the first time in my life, I lost some friends unexpainably.  At first I stomped and raged, and declared, ‘they MUST be wrong!’  In many ways they were, actually.  But I only realized that when I stepped outside myself and saw that in many ways I was wrong (or lacking in prudence) myself.  I literally trained myself to pretend I was floating above myself and observing my actions.  Now, I try (emphasis on TRY) to do that whenever I’m about to write something online, or share a deep opinion… How might others perceive this?  What are the motives in my heart?  Are they driven by envy or competition or depression?  Why do I ‘need’ to express what I am saying?  Why am I acting this way?

This has opened my eyes (embarrassingly, sometimes) to how I look.  As in, whoa, if I were the other person, I would think I am two years old.  Other times, when I am able to harness my brain (and mouth), I think, boy am I ever glad I rethought about my reaction… And other times, I have felt at peace with expressing something on my heart, even if it was difficult for others to hear.

In other words, I started to think in terms of ‘what’s reality… to the other person?’  How can I be compassionate, even if their way of thinking is absolutely opposite of mine?

Now, this isn’t some sort of encouragement for relativism.  (Different subject altogether).  It’s about how we react to others, which I am, of course, still working on.  ‘What I see’ is not necessarily what or how the other person sees, or even their language.  This revelation has been shocking to me at times… To realize that what I saw as ‘reality’, sometimes that everything was doom and gloom, may have only been the lenses I was seeing through, and not the lenses of others who may be on cloud nine.

Many times I have also felt, perhaps with misguided compassion, that I needed to jump into the same ditch with those that are suffering, since I am deeply empathetic.  I remember times when I was alone in my suffering, and I never want anyone else to feel that way… But largely, even among those closest to me, this hasn’t served either of us if the other party wasn’t asking for consolation from me.  In fact, I have discovered a phenomenon where some people need to keep a rainbow and unicorn view (whether it’s what they really see, or whether it’s denial) in order to cope with their life.  We all have coping mechanisms, and who am I to try to tear that down in order to prematurely show them ‘the reality’ of their situation, which is most of the time only MY perceived reality?  What if letting down their guard and seeing a figurative concentration camp in their life causes them to despair?  Who am I to shove my opinion into their gates?

What I have learned (as I overcame codependency several years ago) is to let them live in their world, even if they choose to suffer because of life choices and are not open to change or advice at this time… but to be there for them if and when they need me.  This, I believe, is charity, as opposed to believing my way of seeing things is the absolute truth.  Now, I say ‘my way of seeing things’… which leads me to a big disclaimer: This excludes absolute truths, which are not my opinion, but God’s.  It is an act of mercy to ‘instruct the ignorant’ when it comes to grave moral acts, or lifestyle choices that threaten my family or my children… With those types of grave issues, I am not compelled to remain silent or in denial because of the lenses of absolute truth.  Some people remain silent about absolutely everything, and that is their choice. But I do believe we truly are our ‘brother’s keeper’ when they are in danger, both in their physical life, and even in their spiritual well being.

Outside of grave issues, however, most of my outlook is even based on my ‘mood of the day.’  And I am starting to reach outside that natural mood when it is gloomy, and still say I’m doing well.  Even when my hubby and I are at odds, when the kids have pushed me to my limits, when finances are strained, when relationships are challenging… I AM doing well.  I CAN be joyful.  Heck, others are doing this who have much greater challenges in life than I do… So why can’t I?  Because the absolute truth is what is real.  And the absolute truth is that no matter what happens on this earth, even if we are going through a tragic time, GOD IS GOOD.  OUTSIDE of ME.  INSIDE of me.  He is All Good, and He has already been victorious, even if I’m swimming in a river of mud.

And that, my friends, is keepin’ it real.

Love,

shalimamma

Moving Right Along….

imageRaise your hand if you’ve been AWOL in the world of blogging for an awful long time…

Wait, I’m talking about me.

Something about having our ninth baby and then moving to a new country cottage, all in the space of several months… Well, it all threw me for a loop, in much the same way as moving from the city of Colorado Springs to ‘Past the BoonDocks Out East to a Ranch’ did after the Big Change or Loss For Everyone in 2008.  I couldn’t even write much beyond Facebook statuses.  It wasn’t writer’s block… It was Life Block.  As in, what-the-heck-is-going-on-here block?!?!

In 2008, we found ourselves needing to move out of the city where we had enjoyed a successful career in mortgages and real estate, out to the country to where it seemed we were ‘being called’… And we made lemonade out of lemons, let me tell ya… We started ranching, and it was amazing.  We started with a small herd of dairy goats and a couple of sheep, and we ended up with a dairy, plenty of sheep for meat and wool, many chickens, horses and later horse training and riding skills, Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs that we loved and bred so that we could share the wealth with other farmers and dog lovers… And then accounting training, several new graduate degrees for my husband, a dairy share program, and a thriving goat milk soap business.  Add to that, we discovered a lovely little charter school in a nearby town where we became involved leadership-wise, and a lovely parish with a community that to this day are some of the most humble and loving people….

What started out as a literal disaster of financial loss (businesses, house, savings, assets…) turned into the most amazing gain.  80 acres of opportunity, a chance to build up muscles, beyond a hobby where people have a couple of chickens or two goats… Where we learned the hard way from scratch what it was to assist the birth of puppies at two in the morning, deliver a goat kid (or two or three) who were stuck in their struggling mother, to rescue a lamb who became entangled in fence (in a blizzard, in the middle of the night, because that’s the only time sheep will ever get into trouble :))… We learned how to ‘process’ (meaning butcher) animals on our ranch… Which was heartbreaking and new for me at first, a typical American who didn’t realize the price of that cellophaned item we so conveniently buy at the grocery store, or what is actually in the pasteurized milk jug…  We learned of the sacrifice of ranchers when we’re in a drought, and what hay costs, and that most ranchers and farmers are not subsidized by the government, meaning we live on a shoestring budget so that our animals can be healthy and happy… We saw lots of new life… and… lots of death.  Our children learned important lessons that can’t be taught in textbooks.  Not just the lost of a beloved pampered pet (as many people experience)… But the loss of baby animals who didn’t make it through the birth process, the loss of milk when a mother dried up because she miscarried, the loss of meat when a lamb died unexpectedly by a predator (before we had livestock guardian dogs)… We experienced things that are etched into my mind, to almost the same extent as a natural childbirth is etched into a mother’s (and father’s) mind… things that can’t really be explained unless you have experienced them, too.   Things that almost make me feel ‘grandmotherly’ when a fresh young couple say ‘We’re going to get two goats and start a farm!  Yeehaw!’  I can feel some sort of knowing wisdom behind my eyes that prompts me with ‘do I tell them?  Or let them experience this beginning on their own?’  I am mostly silent.  The same way we mothers of many are when a mother becomes pregnant with her first.  But inside, we are bursting with advice and the urge to share and relate…

But then, after all this experience over 6 years, we came to a fork in the road.  We needed to make a decision… And the decision needed to be compatible with my husband’s work over an hour away, and I longed to share my life with people.  Many ranchers way out east prefer the animals for their company.  I get that.  People can be weird and tough at times.  Goodness knows we’ve had our experiences with weirdness and the loss of friends for no good reason.  Many times, our dogs or goats seemed more reasonable.  But God didn’t say ‘love thy dog as thyself.’  There’s that whole ‘neighbor’ thing… And to be honest, while we have had our share of disillusionments with people, they are so few compared to the amazing people in our lives.  Literally, we are blessed abundantly with beautiful friends to such an extent, that I wish I had more time to spend with them!

So a decision had to be made… For our marriage, which was strained because of the constant distance from each other (we are the type that really do enjoy being with each other as much as possible, and he was so far away for so many years with work and education….), and for our involvement in community (even though we have dear friends from the Calhan community), we needed to choose.  We chose relationships over land and off-grid wealth and potential… That’s not to say we couldn’t still go that route, but we know the price.  Seriously, when I hear starry-eyed people say ‘we’re gunna live off-grid and raise livestock’, I have to restrain myself from saying ‘you have no idea the price of that…’  And yet, it’s a noble cause, and I encourage anyone called in that direction to take the leap, so long as their marriage is strong, and they are both in it together full-time.  Then maybe you can pull it off….

And so that leads us to now…. We came to love the freedom of having animals, however many we want or could support, without some agency saying “you can only have 5.2 chickens”… We got used to not having neighbors breathing down our necks … We got used to, and came to love, more freedom on land we own… And so here we are, in our new digs, still east of Colorado Springs, but not so far out that our main conversations are with horses or cattle.  We can still see the gorgeous starry night, untainted by city lights or the city glow, and at the same time, we are close to my husband’s work, which brought our family back together instantly.  We are still making goat milk soap and other products… We are still running Victory Ranch.

But a page has turned.

Yes, it was a tough page that turned, because I think it’s human nature to want to cling to something good, even if something better is up next.  It is tough to move away from friends who became like family, and from the simplicity of small-town people.  It was tough to move away from what became familiar even if it was tough.  But the page turned, and we are in a new era, even though we have forged some life-long beautiful relationships while we lived further out east.

The page turned, and before us is a fresh new page, that contains all of our history and experiences, and points to newness, excitement, and the continuing fulfillment of our family’s mission.   And what is our family’s mission?  Well, it contains quite a lot… But the short version is that we are called as a family to glorify God by serving the cause of life as well as living out Goodness, Beauty, and Truth… Together.

With that, LifeVictorious is still about being real, authentic, and celebrating victory through challenge, but the flavor here is also evolving, like our lives are.  As we move more into our family mission, we will be sharing with you our family businesses, and encouraging you to do the same in your families or individual lives… We will all be working to encourage each of our gifts as a family, and we will be spreading that mission to more than just us.  You can do it, too…. You can be victorious, especially in these tumultuous times we live within…

With love, and wishing you a Life Victorious,

shalimamma :)

Here are some new pictures from the new a Victory Ranch!  Enjoy!

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Sure as Hell?….

I ran across the phrase again today, I have uttered it so many times too, “Sure as Hell…” It struck me seeing the words in print…. why are we “Sure as Hell,” but not “sure as Heaven?” Are we so lost as a people, all we can be certain of is eternal separation from God, eternal loneliness, heart-break and a sense of loss? Are we so caught up in the negativity of the world around us that we can not see that there is more? I ask this because I am guilty too….

Too often I have given into anger and spoken rashly, harshly, when I should have been silent. Too many times I have not been able to enjoy the simple beauty around me, I can only see the war, the starvation and the grotesqueness around me mostly from my computer or TV screen. Seeing that phrase in a meme posted by a friend on Face Book… it caused me to pause… and struck me dumb.

What if instead we changed the phrase… What if instead of cursing we said, “Well, Sure as Heaven, the sun’s gonna come out tomorrow..” or “Sure as Heaven, I’m alive and breathing today…” It sounds so funny and strange to mouth those words.. but in the end, isn’t Heaven where we all want to end up anyway?

This Lenten season, I decided to forgo my usual sacrifices. Chocolate is too easy to give up because I know that after Easter, I can go back to what I did before… this year instead of the “I won’t…” I am trying to replace a bad habit with an “I will…” My worst habit is the tendency to focus on the negative.. I invite negativity into my life almost as naturally as breathing…I’m not talking about the “think positive” mumbo jumbo or the rose-colored glasses way of being positive, but more, of trusting God to manage the world, and only trying to carry my own cross. (shouldn’t that be enough, really?). Jesus didn’t say, “Take up your cross, and your sister’s cross, and the one of your President….” He just said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” I have to do my part, bear up under the challenges I am given and give the rest over to God… it’s hard for a control freak like me…but..”Sure as Heaven, I’ll get there one day!”

Have a Blessed Lent!

From my Heart to Yours,
The Hiland Rose

Reason, not Dogma…..

I was running errands in the fog this morning and ended up behind a minivan a lot like mine…. The largest outward difference though, was one lonely bumper sticker on the back. It declared in big red letters, “Reason….” followed by black and smaller ones, “not dogma”…. to which, in my head, after a wry chuckle heard by my three-year old in the back seat was, “Ok, so if reason fails, then what?”

When it comes to humanity and it’s troubles and challenges, the first reaction is always to seek a practical solution, something soundly based in psychology, technology or biology… a solution that we can control as it were… when that fails, then what? All the worldly knowledge and medical technique on earth can not explain the disordered desires of a sinful heart… nor can it explain the miraculous recoveries, healings and survivals of the worst accidents, illnesses and conditions….After a while Reason fails, it fails in the face of a very simple question. One uttered by the lips of every preschooler with such regularity, a parent finds themselves running rapidly out of answers… three simple letters, “why?”

Any mother or father of a precocious and curious child understands what that’s like, you get frustrated because you answer with every reasonable, logical and learned response, only to still find another “why?” on the heels of the last. “Why” is the black hole of logic. It absorbs every logical answer and yet remains empty. Reason and Logic, hard science and intellect can only travel so far before being swallowed in “why?” “How?”, now, that question is easy to answer. “How?” always has a process, the solution is reached by following a logical path. ie: How did the Earth form? How come the sun is yellow? How did you get here? These answers are easy you don’t have to think too much (what answer you give that curious child could result in some awkward moments later though… trust me on that one)… Reason serves and there is no need to go further. “Why?”, on the other hand isn’t about process as much as it is about purpose. Why we are here, living this life, going about our routines is another matter entirely. Why does the sun warm the earth? Why is there an Earth at all? Pure Reason breaks down after a bit, it acknowledges that it is finite and “Why” asks a bigger question.

A response to the question of why someone is alive answered with only Reason would look something like this… You are here because your parents made love and chose to keep you and raise you. But why? Well they love you. Why? Because there is this biological bonding hormone that makes them want to take care of their offspring to ensure the population of the earth continues. But why?, that sounds… boring, why are there humans in the first place? Reason can give answers to how humans allegedly evolved from lower life forms, but when asked why the process of evolution had to make humans instead of leaving us as apes….or turning us into flying things or sending us back to the ocean like some birds? well, you see, Reason can only dance around the edge of “why” but never really satisfy it.

Here enters Dogma, Faith and Hope. You see, Dogma is the teaching of truths understood through Faith. Why are you here? well, a loving God created you, you are his child and he longs for you to be with him. Your purpose is to be, to love God and your neighbor. Why, because if God is love, and he loves you, he also loves your neighbor, hence you should love your neighbor… (logical no?) Love of neighbor then means that all humans thrive and live better because they are content in the understanding that they are loved. The human body is carefully designed to this end in all of it’s processes. Because God loves you, he made this beautiful Earth for you to live on. Because we love God and respect our fellow humans, we take care of our Earth and use it for our enjoyment, and survival, while ensuring our offspring enjoy the same. The sun is warm and yellow because it is just the right size, and formulated with just the right gasses to sustain and encourage life on Earth which happens to be just the right distance from the sun for that to work. If you put God back in the picture, well “Why” things are the way they are is wonderful!

Love is your purpose. You exist because of love. Love is the answer to “Why?”. Faith helps us to trust that this is true…. Dogma. To have Reason without Dogma would mean that only half the questions would be answered, leaving a gaping hole in the intellectual mind around which is a burning frustration that leads to depression, fatalism or anger…. your call. I like my Reason with my Dogma, thank you very much.

Happiness Is A Choice

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W-O-W, it’s been a long time since any of us have written on the blog! I will take this moment to extend the apologies of our little group and say, “We’re apologize for this interruption. We will now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.”

Whew, I am glad we got that over with. ;)

So, how are the New Year’s resolutions holding up? Did you set a realistic goal? I sure hope so!

My New Year’s resolution is one that, I hope, will make me a better wife, a better mom, a better sister and friend, and a better daughter of God. My resolution, to be happy.

You see, I’ve recently discovered, through listening to a series of CD’s from my dear friends, that happiness is a choice that we make.

ImageHappiness is a choice?

Yes, yes it is. You see, we’re humans, not animals. We can make conscious decisions about our thoughts, behaviour, and attitudes. We are not animals, like, well, let’s say goats. We’re not goats. Buck goats have to be separated from the does. WHY? Because they, uhm, how to put this delicately… basically, they have no self-control. If it’s breeding time, the bucks are mindless noisy pen-escaping pains in the rear who can think of little else than getting at those scintillating females. I’m sure Shalimamma will back me up on this one. ;)

We’re not goats.

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So, by virtue of my non-goat status, I am making the decision to be “Happy, happy, happy” this year. I believe that this will bring peace to my soul and success to my family. Attitudes are infectious. If misery loves company, then happiness must be 10 times more powerful, especially if you believe it.

I choose to believe that I am happy. I choose to pursue my happiness.

My husband (although I love him dearly,) cannot make me happy. I have to choose to be happy.

My kids (oy) can’t make me happy. I have to choose to be happy.

My friends and  family won’t make me happy. I have to choose to be happy.

I’m posting this all over the place, here, my Facebook Page, my email, my kitchen, my car, my bathroom mirror. I will do this because I know that the world will be trying to force me to choose to be miserable, and I will need that constant reminder to help me focus as I strive to pursue happiness. I will fall (literally, sometimes, lol), and I will have to fight to maintain my happiness, but I am determined not to lose sight of my goal.’

2014, the Year of the Happy Non-Goat.

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Have a blessed New Year, and best wishes with your New Year’s resolutions.

Here’s some inspiration:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWp1VOFQxKg