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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Mustache Dream

Tired of me yet? My biggest fear is not that you will tire of me, but that I'll make this revelation so complicated and enormous it will become burdensome instead of freeing. I'd be tempted to stop, except for the mustache dream.

Two days after the election, and two posts later, I dreamed I had a Sam Elliott-Tom Selleck sized walrus mustache. For some reason, it was blonde, but I don't believe that has anything to do with anything. I shaved that sucker off as fast as I could, and it took a ridiculously long time and left a pile of luscious blonde locks on the floor.

While I don't ascribe to Freud (or Jung) or their theories about dream interpretation (I'm was a Minuchin gal myself in practice), I do believe the brain is complicated and occasionally expresses things in ways we don't immediately recognize. This is all rationalization-speak for why I went to Dream Moods dream dictionary to see what they say the mustache was all about. 

To dream that you have a mustache when you don't really have one signifies that you are hiding an aspect of yourself. You are putting on a disguise or showing a different aspect of your personality. If you are a woman and dream that you have a mustache, then it indicates that you are expressing your power through your words and your verbal expression.
To dream that you shave off your mustache denotes that you are revealing your true self. You no longer have to hide under some disguise or some shield. 
Interesting. Days after deciding to consciously express my Biblical worldview and conservative values on my blog, I dream this. I don't know how they draw their conclusions, but I'm a little impressed. 

With my subconscious' full approval, then, I continue this self-imposed quest of cultural influence on an infinitesimal scale. It may only be to cement those beliefs in my own mind. That's OK. 

And because my curiosity got the better of me again, I looked up the blonde thing. 
To dream that you dye your hair blonde indicates that you literally need to lighten up and quit being so serious all the time. Try  to be more upbeat.

There you have it. I'm also supposed to keep it light and funny. I'll do my best.

Keep the faith. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Maintain, Don't Gain

My insurance plan offers a substantial reduction in premiums if I "earn" points the previous year through health "challenges." I have no problem with employers or insurance companies offering incentives to encourage healthy lifestyles, thus reducing the need for preventable health-related expenses and keeping overall health care costs down for every customer. Bribes work. Even Proverbs agrees with that (Prov 17:8). Earning these points has never been an issue for me because, by their definitions, I'm a healthy person.

The point requirements were changed this year (as is their right). I have to do a little more to qualify than usual. In theory, this is not a problem because, again, I'm a healthy person. However, I'm also a person who doesn't like anyone "in my business," including my health insurance company. I resent checking in with my daily healthy choices.

Being a mature adult who wants that discounted premium, I am adapting and participating in one of their challenges to get the extra points I need. It was a personal goal I made months ago when I got my pants altered after losing all the weight during the spring, so it isn't out of my way to participate in the "Maintain, Don't Gain" during the holidays. I get daily points for each of the following:
  • Exercising 30 minutes or more 
  • Eating a healthy breakfast
  • Eating a healthy lunch
  • Limiting treat foods to 1 serving or less
  • Limiting alcoholic or sugary beverages to 1 serving or less
Except for the exercise (unless it's Swamp Season), I generally do all this anyway, but having to tell them I do all this is galling. I fear that accepting the reporting requirements will train me to accept worse down the road. At what point does voluntary involvement become indentured servitude?

I'm thinking about it way too much, you say. You think about it for a while, and tell me if I'm wrong. This is the "freedom above all" leaning of my conservative mind, the part I categorize as "Libertarian" because it's inclined to be contrary in the name of freedom, and prefer stubborn resistance to reasonable cooperation because cooperation leads to dependence and that must be avoided at all costs.

Anyway, I'm watching what I eat and using that 30 minutes of exercise to burn off my irritation at having to report it, and, I expect, I'll lose weight over the next 6 weeks. Which will irritate me, too, because that's not the goal. Welcome to my OCD hell.

Keep the faith.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Point of View

Point of View is a daily talk show whose motto is "Defending Family, Faith and Freedom." The show is over 20 years old and used to air on a radio station here in Topeka until that station changed hands and formatting. I wasn't willing to give up the show, so I started listening to the broadcast on the internet.

The best day of my life was the day I met host Kerby Anderson in person, and got to hear him interview Kris Kobach, then running for Kansas' Secretary of State. Click the link to read about that. It seems tame now when I think of how pumped I still am about that day.

I listened to Point of View for years until I changed to a job where I can't listen at work.

The show is available for download, and they have a way to listen with your phone, but I'm the Turtle, and I don't use tech well. I stopped listening for nearly three years, although I continued to support the show monthly. They were the first ministry I ever donated to, and I had no qualms the quality would change just because I wasn't listening.

I was right. As part of my new year's resolutions (which for me started when my boss Kris Kobach was reelected for a second term as Secretary of State - Go, Kris!), I decided to give up the useless hour and a half of TV sitcom reruns I'd been watching after work, and replace it with a Point of View episode from the website pointofview.net.

And there they are. All my old friends, mentors, brothers and sisters on the front line of the culture war, examining current events under the lens of a Biblical worldview. Highlighting ways to spread God's love and light in the darkness. Modeling how to disagree without being disagreeable. Daily illustrating, time and again, my own views of what it means to be a Christian, to be a conservative, and to be compassionate without compromise.

I strongly encourage you to make Point of View part of your life. I have no doubt they will bless and challenge you.

Keep the faith.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Second Punch

Punch number two came about after watching, of all things, Babylon 5. Yes, I watch Babylon 5. I consider it the soap opera version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Minbari are my favorite race. They do everything in threes, including their caste system: warrior, worker and religious. The main character on the show, Delenn, is of the religious caste, so we see a lot of how those folks live.

The purpose of the religious caste is to express the religion of the Minbari, which is, in typical sci-fi fashion (if the goal isn't mocking religion in general, that is), an androgynous mismash of one-with-the-universe, reincarnation, karma kind of stuff.

Delenn is a kind of priestess, being high up the religious hierarchy, and everything she does expresses religious significance. This really comes home during her courtship with John Sheridan, but it's visible in most episodes. She's like a woman monk who can marry.

It got me thinking that if this fictional character could live her entire life with an active awareness and implementation of her religion, why don't I?

Yes, I know she's fictional, but I watch these shows because they make me think about my own life, so bear with me.

I have a real religion, and relationship, with Christ. Why is that not a deliberate part of my day? Praying, study of my holy book, applying what I study, seeking a oneness with Christ instead of the universe. Why couldn't I be as open and nonchalant about that as the Minbari are? No one looks twice at Delenn when she does her religious stuff. Yeah, yeah, she's Minbari, but the concept isn't that far off. The only downside I could see was starting. I might get some odd looks at first, but people would get used to it.   

I started. I started practicing my faith openly, with references to God and Jesus, with prayers, with attributing my actions to One above me. Yeah, I got a few looks at first, but practice makes easier, and nowadays people don't blink twice when I bring Him up. In fact, I've had more opportunities to witness than ever before, and in far more natural circumstances than meeting that stranger on the bus.

The hard part is the accountability. When I screw up, God gets the blame. I figure He's a big boy. He can handle it.

Keep the faith.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

One of A One-Two Punch

I used to be a quiet Christian. I behaved myself and acted like a "good" person (I can't think that word anymore without hearing Jesus ask, "Why do you call me 'good?' Is anyone good but God?"), and figured people would know I did it because I'm a Christian.

I failed to reason how people would know that if I never mentioned Christ.

Then I read a primer on Islam from something like the Islamic Center for Muslim Outreach. I have it around here somewhere, but I'm too lazy to go find it. A totally legitimate, slightly more than a pamphlet about the seven pillars of Islam, and why I'd want to be a Muslim. I'd never seen a brochure for another religion, so I read it. And got a little convicted in my own religion.

Islam has some things going for it. Daily charity, for one. Respect for their holy book (According to the brochure, the Koran should be kept in a special place higher than anything else in the house and read through entirely every month. It's a bit smaller than the Bible, so this isn't as scary as it sounds). Sharing of their faith. Muslims are encouraged to proselytize.

Christians are encouraged to share our faith, too, by Jesus Himself in the Great Commission, if you want only one example, but we have so much else in the Bible to study and emulate some of us overlook that one.

So I'm pondering this book on Islam, and wondering, if they willingly, openly speak about a god that I believe is false, why am I hesitant to speak about the One I believe is true? That is the difference as I see it. My God actually exists. That's why I serve Him. If I didn't believe that, I'd do something easier with my life. Or I'd be a Muslim. Or a Wiccan. I have an affinity for the Wiccan worldview. It's very peaceful.

But I chose (and still choose) Christianity. Why was I silent about it?

I'm out of space, so I'll give you the second punch tomorrow.

Keep the faith.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Organizing My Thoughts

Last week I started a post on a very specific thought prompted by something on FB. In the course of writing, I realized a few things.

One, worldview is almost impossible to quantify. Every sentence I wrote led to another brick in the foundation of my worldview, and it felt like all of them needed explaining. For those who have a similar worldview, the explanations don't have to be lengthy, but for those on the 180 from my worldview, I'm talking utter nonsense. 

Two, it's a bit harder than I thought it would be to focus on why I consider myself a conservative without slinging a few snarky arrows at the other side. I am determined to do it, however. Kerby Anderson regularly says we can disagree without being disagreeable, and the fastest way to shut down communication is to fail to show respect to the humanity of the opponent.

Three, I need to organize my thoughts. I don't want to explore every issue in excruciating detail, but I don't want to cause more confusion, either. I am a creature of order. I'd like a little order in my presentation.

So, I made notes, and I hope to present a brief and somewhat ordered account of why I believe and behave the way I do. Much like Luke did when writing his Gospel. Except I don't claim this is divinely inspired. I'm crazy, but there are levels of craziness. Mine is mostly related to cats. 

For those worried about my fiction writing being sidelined by this new focus, rejoice. I'm on the last leg of Daughter of Anasca edits (with some help from My Dear Friend as gamma reader), and I've got a plan to finish Dangling Justice, which is a first. It's as though I've been trying so hard to be non-offensive, I'd stopped being able to say anything.

As I once told her, and My Dear Friend reminded me, "You can be my friend, or you can not be offended, but you can't be both." True dat.

Keep the faith.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Load Off

You know, that little bit of writing yesterday morning about current events really helped my attitude. It's like I've been holding this huge burp inside, and I just couldn't move right until I got it out.

Yeah, that's disgusting. I'm the Turtle. Hear me revolt.

Has the depression lurking around the corners of my soul been because of my silence? Have I kept my opinions so quiet for fear of offending that I've stifled my own joy in life? Turned my anger inward, as the therapist in me would say?

I took a few minutes after yesterday's post and jotted about a dozen potential post topics relating to my conservative worldview. I haven't had a dozen post topic ideas in years. Literally.

Because this started as my writing blog, I've steered away from divisive topics that might attract trolls and alienate readers. But the fact is, I don't have much to say about writing at the moment. Plus, my worldview will spill out in my books. Not as obviously as in this blog, but I will always be conservative. I will always believe in God - an impossibly intelligent, powerful being able to create everything from nothing with a word. I will always believe in the sanctity of human life, even when I personally want to smack most humans within minutes - occasionally seconds - of meeting them. These beliefs will permeate my writing. They have to, because I write therapy books.

Anyway, I'm going to continue with the "thoughts on conservatism" theme for a while because at least I'm writing something, and it may help me write other things. If you don't care about conservatism, sorry. I will try to keep the posts brief and personal to me, sans ranting.

Keep the faith.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Radio Silence

I've had a lot to say over the past few months, but none of it seemed suitable for publication.

Writing well takes time and energy, and, while it could be argued I've had the former, the latter is sadly lacking. Again. I'm starting to think I have a low-iron issue. I guess that means I should return to the spinach ingestion. blech.

You might think the recent election (Republicans taking control of both national Houses, and keeping control in Kansas) would make me happy, since I am a registered Republican. It does not. Nothing in the political realm makes me happy nowadays.

Our representative republic (that's what America is, folks, not a democracy) is working. The people we've put on Capitol Hill do represent us. They are moderates with no plan, no concept of history or the future, no ability to work out differences, an entitlement mindset that believes it is not only OK to take from those who have and give to those who have not but mandated by God, when they espouse a belief in God (and many do. Americans in general still want a "religious" person in office, even if Americans in general don't know or care what religion it is).

The problem is not with the politicians. The problem is with us - the people being represented. We are divided, almost straight down the middle at this point. Multiple opposing worldviews attempting to express themselves in two parties. The only reason we still have two parties is because 50% of people vote along straight party lines because they don't care enough to pay attention. I used to be one of those.

E. Stephen Burnett got me thinking with one of his FB posts pre-election. It was along the lines of "conservatives worry about elections; liberals worry about changing culture." That's why liberals are winning, even if this election seems to disprove that (All this election proved is people are mad and don't know what to do about it).

So conservatives like myself need to take the time and energy to explain why we are conservatives, and demonstrate the implementation of those conservative values in our own lives. We must put our actions where our beliefs are, and hope to rub off on the 50% who've just never thought about it. I intend to break my radio silence with a few posts about why I am a conservative (forget Republican for now. That brand means less every day, just like "Democrat" means less every day). It may be too late, but maybe not.

Stop looking for a leader, folks. You're the leader. 

Keep the faith.