Thoughts From The Heart
I recently heard a very wise man say, "Each day is another chance... a gift from God". Do-overs are only found on the playground, but we're all given opportunities to do what's right in His eyes ... regardless of what society (aka television, facebook, magazines, Hollywood) deems politically correct or socially acceptable. We are given free will to choose... and we will ALL one day answer for our choices.
Humans are all suceptible to being sucked in with the crowd - good or bad. The trick is to keep your focus on the Teacher. If I stood before Him right now, would I hang my head in shame? How could I explain away or justify when I've ignored or hurt someone - especially the "least" of my brethren? What excuse could I give if He gave me an opportunity to help someone, and I thought "someone else will do it - I've got too much going on"?
What I fear the most is the world we're creating for our children... families are like busses - if a marriage doesn't work out, there's always another one; winning at any cost is the most important part of the game; beauty will get you anywhere; sports and stage rehearsals are priority - church, worship and prayer are only when it's convenient to your schedule; brand names are status; your life is not complete unless you have a "smart"phone, the best car, the most expensive shoes, etc.; throw it out the window - someone else will pick it up; your parents are your friends; sex without the benefit of marriage is inevitable.... and the list goes on.
No one person can "save the world", but I will choose to at least make my little piece of it a place that I would invite Him to come in. This is my prayer. This is my hope for all.
Today I had a very lively discussion with friends about "rights".
The subject was "being on time". Now understand, that is a personal pet peeve of mine. I've avoided becoming friends with some people over the years because they were predictably late - without the excuse of something that simply "couldn't be helped". I've even left organizations because their leaders could not seem to grasp the concept of starting meetings on time, or showing up for a function as they promised. Habitual tardiness is not in my nature - or my vocabulary. It's simply a courtesy that I extend to my friends and associates - and one I expect of them.
In a society that has led us to believe that we have the "right" to everything from a free cellphone to demanding that everyone accept our personal beliefs or be labeled "intolerant", I felt the need to speak my mind - and that's my "right".
Your "rights" end when it infringes on mine. Not only does this follow the Golden Rule (and if you don't know what that is, then this doesn't matter to you anyway) it's just the right thing to do. Period.
In fact, I try to live my life by that barometer... Do my actions disrupt or interfere with others rights? If so, I'd rather correct "me" and do the right thing. I may not agree with your beliefs, but I also don't have the "right" to force you to agree with mine. To illustrate:
Smoking: Yes, you have the "right" to smoke... but my friend, you can't control where that smoke goes. (I know, because I was a smoker for 10 years.) Therefore, you're infringing on my "right" to breathe clean air. Satisfy your habit in your own space. (And that goes for throwing your butts out your car window!)
Tardiness: Ok... you certainly have a "right" to be tardy. But, you're holding up my "right" to enjoy events that I have scheduled in my time. Give yourself a headstart and allow a little extra for redlights, uncooperative children or mates, and hair that has a mind of its own. Don't expect me to "wait" for you - and don't be upset when I don't!
RSVP: Ok... so it's French - does that mean people don't know what RSVP means? Your "right" is only respected when you respectfully decline or accept an invitation! Doing nothing is an insult to the host, and infringes on his/her right to plan accordingly. (By the way, RSVP means "répondez s'il vous plaît" - meaning "please respond" - If your host was standing in front of you, and asked you to respond, do you think it would be fair to just stare at them, then walk away without an answer?)
Vulgarness: Yes, you have the "right" to use every curse word in your limited vocabulary. But don't use them when you're speaking to me. I have the "right" (and the preference) to surround myself with those who speak colorfully, distinctly and with words that challenge my intellect - not my ability to disguise my disgust.
There are lots more that fit in this category, but these are my top three personal favorites. You have the "right" to disagree... and I'll defend that right to do so. But before you do, answer this question...
What would you rather do... be "right"... or do the right thing?
Today I took a two hour break from work, and went to the movies with my 26 year old son. I suppose for most of you, that's a weekly occurrence, but the last time I set foot in a theatre was to see Spiderman II... OK, so I don't go very often. I've grown so accustomed to enjoying movies from the comfort of my easy chair - popcorn in hand, and barefooted.
The opportunity to spend time with my son (which is rare since he is a nursing student), plus the release of "Despicable Me" in 3-D was enough to prompt me to take the challenge.
I suppose the first "shock" to my system was the price. Joshua suggested we go to an early matinee, because it was "cheaper". Now, mind you, I remember paying my way into the Saenger Theatre with bottle caps or bread wrappers. Not to sound like my mother reliving the good ole days, but back then we were treated to 2 movies, a couple of cartoons and plenty of trailers. Today, my $12 ticket got me in the door and "rented" my 3-D glasses. (Not that I would have an opportunity to use them again, but I thought it was kind of cheesy that they asked them to recycle them - Come to think of it, does that mean that I was wearing someone elses glasses?)
Ok, so what's a movie without popcorn? Looking at the "tubs" they call large, I didn't think I could handle more than a medium size, and a bottled water. The price tag? $9.00! Ouch!
I had already invested a small fortune in this afternoon of entertainment, so I moved on to find which of the sticky-floored theatre rooms in which our movie would be played.
I'm one of those who likes to sit about in the middle of the theatre, and we lucked up - there was only about 5 people in the room... for a while. 5 minutes before the opening credits, patrons poured in as if they just dropped off a busload... and of course, everyone wanted to sit next to us.
For the life of me, I'll never understand why a young mother brought her lap-size child to this movie. He wasn't the least bit interested in what was going on the screen, and spent the entire time begging for her attention. I felt sorry for him with every "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom." ... until the 400th time. I'm sure she is worn out from picking him up, putting him down, rocking, petting, hugging, holding... anything she could do to keep him occupied. She finally disappeared with him about 10 minutes before the end of the movie... but then returned after a few minutes - alone. I still shudder to think what she did with him.
Before the movie started, we were subjected to at least 10 trailers, and commercials for the Ford Sales Event, Coca-Cola, and the theatre's own solicitation for birthday parties, corporate gatherings (really?) and more that I can't recall. Then the movie began - or so we thought.
After about 3 minutes into the film I thought something was wrong with my glasses - this was not 3-D. Joshua leaned over and said, "Mom, this is not 'Despicable Me'. This is another movie. Maybe we're in the wrong place." Just then, the movie stopped, and another trailer started. It ran for a couple of minutes, then stopped. And a different trailer started... then stopped. By then, the "natives" were getting restless! In fact, the woman behind me threatened rather loudly that she was going to "get her money back"! Sheeesh, lady! It's not the end of the world! The poor fellow upstairs was trying to get everything working properly, but the audience was merciiless! Boos and hisses got a little louder, and I thought we were about to see more than we bargained for!
But after several tries, the movie started, and we enjoyed a delightful movie. I had forgotten how similar my sense of humor was to my son's. We laughed at the same silly antics and appreciated the special effects supplied by our 3-D glasses.
Overall, the experience was a pleasant break from the routine, but I'm almost sure it will be a long time before I venture back to the theatre. As I drove home, I thought that I will never again be impressed by the "billions" of dollars that movies generate. At $20 a person, no wonder they reach those figures so quickly!
Think I'll stick to my easy chair.
What? Where's your hat?" a friend recently asked me at a very formal affair. Her question was posed jokingly, but she said that she wouldn't be surprised if I had shown up in one.
I love to wear hats.
Now I don't know if the practice (or habit) of wearing a hat is something I picked up from my Daddy (along with how to jitterbug, how to eat an ear of corn and not leave any kernels, and how to throw a castnet) but he and I used to have a pretty extensive ballcap collection. In fact, we used to trade each other souvenir caps from various events and travels.
Over the years, my collection was increased with several elf hats, Mardi Gras jester hats, a Kentucky Derby hat - even a replica of a suffragette hat from the early 1900's.
But Daddy's hat is my most treasured chapeau. It's a well-worn straw cowboy hat, with a carefully turned up brim. I remember the work he put into making sure those rolls were "just right". I'm certain he didn't pay much more than a few dollars for it, but it was the only possession I asked my Mother if I could keep when he went to his heavenly reward four years ago. (Can't believe it's been that long!)
Despite its priceless sentimental value to me, I wear it often. It feels wrong to keep it hidden in a closet, or in a box. In fact, it is usually perched on top of a lamp in my office. Daddy was never one to shy away from a crowd! Those who know me will read this and think "that explains a lot"!
I can't really explain why, but I feel like Daddy's with me when I wear it on stage, enjoying my performance as I sing those country classics he so dearly loved. I can still see him dancing around the kitchen with my Momma to "Walking After Midnight".
Father's Day is coming... and today I was thinking about all the hats Daddy wore in his lifetime - the one he wore as a Corporal in the Army - how handsome he was!
There were dozens of "Paw-Paw" caps he wore as he took my brothers hunting and fishing. Some of those caps are in the Gulf, because they blew away while he was busy crabbing with us kids. I still giggle picturing him in his "Willie Nelson" braids, or the nun's habit he wore in those silly Knights of Columbus fundraiser shows. I still can't believe how easy it was for my best friend (and his second daughter) Dee and I to convince him to dress like a "Fairy Godmother" by promising him that he wouldn't have to wear a silly hat. He didn't know until the last minute that we planned to comb his thin hair into a ribboned ponytail that resembled Pebbles Flintstone! I think he would have rather worn a hat!
Daddy wore this prized cowboy hat while he fulfilled a lifelong dream- to visit a real ranch and herd cattle and sheep. For several years, he built wooden birdhouses and decorative items to save enough money for his "big adventure". He travelled to South Dakota several times and became an honest-to-goodness horseback riding cowboy! His face would light up when he told tales of the "herd" and days of sheep shearing. (I would always stop him short when he started telling about "snipping" their tails!)
Daddy continues to inspire me - even though he's not here. I suppose his love of life and life of service is why I tend to wear "many hats". Although he never gave me a tiara, he was the only person who ever called me "Princess" - and made me feel that way.
I miss you Daddy. Today, my hat's off to you.
I must have a creative outlet to put my feelings on paper. Somehow, it's as if when I see it in writing, it validates them.
Recently, I watched a movie called "Quills". It was about the Marquis de Sade (hope I spelled that right). Although I don't compare my life with his demented ramblings and perversions, he had the same addiction, and would resort to some pretty bizarre methods in order to write.
And so.... I created this blog.
Perhaps no one will ever read it. And that's ok. It fills a need I have- and for that I'll be eternally grateful to my typing teacher who stood over my shoulder and said, "You'll never be able to type as fast as you think!"
Stay tuned... you ain't read nothin' yet!