That's why it's appropriate that I'm five months behind on the Internet meme of a 13-year-old homeschooler explaining his views on conservatism. (Side note: I was also fashionably late on the definition of "Internet meme.") Being a homeschooler for ten years, I felt obligated to share, plus, coincidentally, the kid gave his speech at CPAC in February, where I happened to be. Why didn't I see it? I was--you guessed it--fashionably late that day. (For those who aren't up on their political conference lingo, your coolness factor just went up two points and CPAC stands for Conservative Political Action Conference.)**
Now, speaking of coolness factors, plain and simple, this kid hasn't got 'em. He's sharp–I can tell by his pointed head–but even at such a young age he typifies why the words "conservative" and "nerd" are as natural bedfellows as "politician" and "prostitute." It's too bad, really. Conservatives have got the force of logic and history on their side, but they all-to-often have the force of sweater vests, bow ties (Tucker Carlson, anyone?), and bowl cuts, too.
I've read Russell Kirk. I know that conservatism is rooted in hundreds of years of sound tradition and, by extension, the past, but that doesn't necessitate our leaders looking and sounding like they're stuck there, does it? (That's a rhetorical question.) In fact, I think conservatives have more of a need to present themselves with a modern edge on the surface to counterbalance the aged wisdom that lies at their core.
Just as the Evangelical church has updated its packaging to appeal to a modern culture yet retained its relevance with a tried-and-true Message, so too can conservatives revamp their image without sacrificing principles. Maybe the Republican members of Congress could start showing up fashionably late for their sessions and shimmy to their seats like these folks. (Late Internet meme #2 and fabulous wedding idea #1!)
Without further ado, partially because it's late but moreso because I'm beginning to sound too much like Meghan McCain for my own comfort, here's the video. Discuss.
**Clarification: my body was at CPAC, but my spirit had checked out after the 17th time I was asked, "What do YOU do?" In CPAC-speak, that means, "Why are you important in life, and why should I be talking to you instead of the 600 other schmos in the room?" Fortunately, the conversations didn't last long, likely owing as much to my answer as to the questioner's (correct) sense that I was visually imprinting a large "L" on their forehead as they explained how they were going to change the world ... by working at a non-profit.
Note:I've since reformed and now only visually stamp "Jesus Loves You" on people's foreheads while glazing over during conversation.
Psychologists believe women are becoming more attractive ... Men meanwhile apparently remain as aesthetically unappealing as their caveman ancestors. Read more: here.
Maybe we're getting hotter because of global warming? Either way, being on a year-long dating hiatus, I'll take my compliments where I can get 'em. Perhaps there will be more hiding in this bowl of cookie dough ...
But then you see this headline: Christian mother executed in N. Korea for distributing Bibles, and realize how fortunate you are to be in a country where news revolves around health care debates not martyrs.
I'm not saying it's wrong to lend your dissent to government. In fact, I think that's the primary way we can prevent headlines like the one above from becoming a reality here, too. What I am saying is let's keep things in perspective in the process. As we carry on a nation-wide dialogue over health care, as irksome as it is, we should be thankful that such a conversation can even happen.
A dear friend once explained it this way: when she's gridlocked in traffic and tempted to get impatient and angry, she remembers instead how thankful she is to have a car to be stuck in traffic in. That principle can be applied to just about everything we encounter in life. If you are mindful of it, you'll be amazed at how often it shifts your perspective.
I've already had to check myself today. I woke up this morning to the sound of my dad pounding nails into our roof that he's replacing. Less than pleasant at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, but I'm thankful there was a roof over my head to pound.
In other words, it's all in your approach. We can't always change our circumstances, but we can alter our attitudes. This morning, the mom who gave her life for her faith is my wake up call that I need to be mindful to do just that.
A rump that's not too big...absurd eyelashes fluttering...long legs...and rubbery lips, from which dribbles a stream of thick cud.
A rump that's not too big...absurd eyelashes fluttering...long legs...and rubbery lips, from which dribbles a stream of slick crud.
Apparently, that job actually goes to Health and Human Services Secretary and Kansas Governor, Democrat Kathleen Sebelius. Via CNS News:
"The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s health care legislation will give the Health and Human Services secretary the authority to develop 'standards of measuring gender'-- as opposed to using the traditional 'male' and 'female' categories."
Can't you just feel the ooze of political correctness? Not yet? Here's more from the World Health Organization:
"Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women."
In other words, having woman parts doesn't actually make me a woman. I'll be waiting for Sebelius' approval on that, but in the meantime, why stop at gender? Let's take the no-objective-realities idea to its logical end and start declaring race and age classifications at will, too.
That way, if we Republicans have another old, white dude run for President in the next go-round, we could have Sebelius declare him a young, wise, ethnic woman first.
H/T: Villainous Company.
"You don't have a problem with God, do ya?"
This is a question posed to CNN reporter Carol Costello during a recent interview with Mark Muller, a Missouri car dealer whose company is offering an unusual incentive: a free AK-47 with the purchase of a vehicle.
Thanks to Muller, we now know Costello doesn't have a problem with God. (She answered in the negative). We also know she's, for lack of a more dignified term--not because I can't think of one but because she doesn't deserve it--just plain dumb.
In CNN's true journalistic fashion, she throws in a requisite number of liberal jabs after screwing up her guest's name and before attempting to engage him in a theological battle of wits, asking "Would Jesus carry a gun?" Muller responds to her jabs and ludicrous questioning with the kind of down-home common sense that make me proud to be a Southerner. "No. They didn’t have guns back then, but I do believe He’d carry a sword if he needed it. But He was so powerful he didn’t need any weapon."
Frankly, I'm suprised that CNN even aired the clip. I'm sure they expected "country bumpkin" Muller to come out with the short end of the stick against "city slicker" Costello. What the producers didn't realize was that the stick was lodged so far up Ms. Costello's hind end that Muller wouldn't have had a shot at it ... not even with an AK-47.
But don't take my word for it. Watch for yourselves:
*Disclaimer: Dumb as they are, I still love liberals in an, as Ms. Costello would say, "WWJD" kind of way. And speaking of moronic liberals ...
At its own thread at Memorandum. Nice. Or, as Ms. Costello would expect me to say since I am a backwoods Southerner: golly gee whiz, neato.
Robert Stacy McCain over at American Spectator weighs in with the classic stupid is as stupid does argument, (especially when the “does” involves watching CNN).
Pundit and Pundette declares a winner, in case you didn't already know: “Neanderthal” American male: 1; Snotty common-senseless reporter: 0.
Buying a ticket to see Bruno* is paying to grieve God's heart.
*The link includes a detailed, stomach-churning description of the movie. I glanced through it enough to get an idea of the content. If you're planning on seeing the movie, read through the description to be an informed consumer. You need to know what your money is supporting, and more importantly, the kind of material you are opening yourself up to.
As I type this, I'm sitting a few feet away from an antique wall hanging inherited from my Grandma that says, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." The full verse in Ephesians 4:30 reads like this in the Amplified, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God's own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin)."
In one sense, it's incredible to me that we finite human beings have the ability to grieve God's heart. In another, it's so clear: God gave His Son to secure not only eternal life but our ability to live a holy life, walking in victory over sin and the ways of the flesh. When He sees His children--those who claim to have accepted the work His Son did on the cross--opening their hearts to the wickedness and depravity of the world rather than seeking to "be holy as He is holy," it grieves Him. I can imagine Him saying with a crest-fallen look, "Is this, this what I sent my Son for?" as Christian after Christian settles into their theater seats to watch Bruno.
I may get angry comments about how I'm judging, moralizing, etc. and please understand that is not my intention or my heart. I type this with tears in my eyes, knowing that I have friends who will choose (and have chosen) to watch this immorality in action on Saturday night and wake up the next morning to attend church service. The verse that comes to mind for me is James 4:8, "Purify your hearts, ye double minded."
Those that can indulge their senses in the corruption and filthiness of the world and movies like Bruno without remorse one day and yet claim to know God the next, those are the double-minded. It grieves God's heart, and it grieves mine because I know they are either wilfully or ignorantly rejecting God's command for their Christian walk in order to fulfill their own want of temporary amusement. Ultimately, there is no true satisfaction, only sadness and destruction, at the end of this choice. (I've been there. I know. But, praise the Lord, I'm not there anymore!)
Consider the words of Psalm 101:3: "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me." And, the oft-quoted Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
Does choosing to "entertain" yourself by attending a movie like Bruno fit the criteria of the above verses? (If you have any doubt, clink the link at the top of the post. Also note that an entire country, Ukraine, just banned the movie, stating it was "immoral.")
I have heard Christians describe this movie as "hilarious." But is something really funny if it's grieving God's heart? That's a serious, serious assertion to make. So serious I doubt any Christian would dare to actually make it in so many words. But individual after individual are choosing to make the statement with their actions when they purchase a ticket to Bruno (and movies like it) and add their implicit approval with laughter. It's a statement I wouldn't care to account for on judgment day.
Please understand, this isn't just a tirade against Bruno. It has much broader ramifications that extend generally to a Christian's entertainment choices and even more generally to the state of a believer's heart and spiritual health. I prayed a few months ago that God would give me a tender heart towards Him. That He would make me sensitive to how things made Him feel--not how they made me feel.
This hit home with my blog. A few months ago, I was writing some things that were "funny" to me, but they were in direct contradiction to Ephesians 5:48, "Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God]."
My coarse talk, the off-color topics, those things "vexed" and "saddened" the Holy Spirit. Yikes. As loyal readers will have noticed, my blog has changed. Is it as "funny"? Nope. Is God happier about that? I think so. I think He was happy, too, when I bulldozed through my movie collection a few weeks ago. All of my favorites--gangster films-- they're gone. My favorite Dave Chapelle stand-up routine? History.
I tell you that not because I want you all to conclude, "Hey, look at how holy she thinks she is!" It's so that you know I'm not just blowing smoke with words here. I'm living what I'm talking. I have an intimate understanding of what pursing God and holiness with all you've got can do to a person's life: It can 180 your direction. I'm living proof.
If you're considering seeing Bruno, you may be tempted to write off everything that I'm saying as moral proseltyzing. Maybe that would make you feel better, but if you claim to have given your heart to Jesus, then you are, as I Corinthians 6:19 says, the "temple of the Holy Ghost." When you pay your $12 for a two hour verbal and visual barage of graphic sexual perversion, obscenities, and a mockery of all that is right, just remember you're not alone.
The Holy Spirit will be walking into that theater with you. And, while you're laughing, He will be grieving.
If even one Christian reading this realizes the tragedy of exposing their heart, mind, and the Spirit that lives within them to moral degradation under the pretense of "entertainment" (not to mention wasting precious time and resources), then the hour of sleep I just lost will be worth it.
Of course, I'll never know who reads this or what they choose to do. But God will. And, in the end, that's all that really matters.
Despite growing up hours from where these photos were taken, I'd never seen these views. In fact, until now, Italy's Amalfi coast was my favorite seaside spot. Turns out, equally stunning scenes were practically in my own backyard. (Isn't it always that way? You'll tour another state or country sooner than you explore your own. So silly.)
I'm glad I finally made the trip. If you're ever in California, make sure you do, too! For now, enjoy vacationing vicariously through a few of my photos.
Sandy feet make me happy. An actual conversation with my mom regarding this photo? Not so much. "Wow, Mom, why do I look so fat here?" "Well, honey, because you are, of course." Nothing like a little brutal honesty to jumpstart that summer diet plan. Thanks, mom.
Maybe if I had to fight tourists for my food, I'd be as thin as this squirrel. Hand-feeding the squirrel Wheat Thins (reduced-fat!) might have been the highlight of my trip. Not getting rabies from hand-feeding the squirrel equally awesome.
I love old people, almost as much as I love squirrels. Especially adorable ones like these who wear straw hats, carry canes, and speak with British accents. (Old men in sweater vests may trump even the squirrels. Take note future husband of mine, if you ever discover this blog.)
Love the dark silhouette of the trees against the blue. I plan to recreate this in oil pastels one of these days...
And, finally, my favorite:
This picture doesn't do this scene justice. Absolutely breathtaking. If you look closely, you'll see a natural waterfall pouring onto the shore on the upper left hand side. It was much larger in person. Ironically, I wrote about this scene last summer for Coastal Living, without having seen it. I now feel the need to apologize to nature for my sorely lacking description.
That's all for the moment. Now back to my regularly scheduled vacation.
Inquiring after the qualities my dog shares with world leaders isn't something I do often. Or ever, until now, although that might make for an entertaining blog post when both you and I are either very drunk (which is never for me) or very bored (which is obviously right now for you).
While getting ready to hit the road tomorrow morning for what I expect to be an awesome road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway, I began to worry about leaving my Havanese, Buddy, outside. His breed is sometimes described as "velcro," meaning he rarely leaves my side, and, therefore, never ventures out of doors during the heat of the day.
Worried for his life (and my own considering California's hopped-up animal cruelty laws that include allowing your animals to die from heat exhaustion*), I began researching the Havanese' ability to withstand heat.
Turns out, they hail from Cuba, originally bred to be the lap dog of kings. (I decided this was fitting.) As such, they are supposed to be stalwarts again tropical heat. I relayed the information to my father sitting nearby, who isn't exactly thrilled about the reality of inheriting a "grand dog" for the next six months while I'm in Atlanta. Especially a grand dog that likes to
My dad's response went like this:
"Hmmph. The dog's from Cuba? No wonder he's weird. He's a communist."
So, I'll be on the road (again) for the next few days, but I'll be leaving my little communist behind. Hopefully, I don't return to find that he has taken over a small country or become Obama's new mentor.**
*For the record, as progressive as it sounds, this conservative animal-loving girl is all for tight animal-cruelty laws. And, for those of you concerned, Buddy's not really going to die. Unless maybe there's a proletariat uprising.
**So what if I'm 18-months behind on the news cycle? I've got a life to live, folks.
I've been doing the requisite summer thing: sun, bathing suits and drinking ... it all in. (Not the other kind. I've reformed.) I've also been doing the writer's thing: having the classic dilemma of so much to say and so little motivation to say it.
Why am I not motivated? Possibly because it's glorious out by my pool and I prefer the glow of the sun to the glow of my computer screen. Or, more possibly, because I don't get paid for this, (which is usually the writer's second classic dilemma.)
Fortunately, I have some great editors that actually give me money to do what I love. I realize it's hard for some of you to believe I get paid to write. It's hard for me to believe, too. That's why I keep an online portfolio - for self-validation. In fact, I just updated my portfolio with some new magazines and stories, so while I'm not posting and you're not reading my writing here, click the link to not read my writing there instead.
And, hey, I might as well put a plug in while I have your attention. If any of you know of a great house you'd like me to pitch to one of my magazines or have some other rad story idea, send it on over to my email.
PS- Since I've reformed, go drink a pina colada for me. (Actually, I'd prefer a Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, the "alternate" version." At least it has a Bible name, right?)
PS 2 - Note the new "summer" profile pic!
I have no schedule, no itinerary. I call locals at random restaurants, police stations, hotels, and visitor's centers to ask what I should see as I pass through their cities. Then, I stop at anything (and everything) that I think I may want to tell my grandkids about some day. (I've done the World's Largest Cross, National Route 66 Museum, and the Oklahoma Riverwalk just today!) Of course, by that time, it will sound much more precarious (and more awesome) than it actually is: "When I was a young whippersnapper like you, I had to
Uh, where was I? Oh, right, the undisclosed location wandering around aimlessly and talking with random locals. I have met some great people out on the road today, but it's funny, the one questionable person I met was from back home. (It's California. Why am I even surprised?)
I had stopped at a Wal-Mart to pick up dog food around 11 p.m. It was an ... ethnic ... part of town. I'm not judgin'. I'm just sayin'. As I stood in the checkout line, the Mexican man in front of me answered his phone and spoke English, which somewhat allayed my fears that 1) I had actually taken a wrong turn in Texas and ended up in Mexico or 2) they had moved the border. His conversation went like this, "Hey, dude, I'm in Texas. Yeah, Texas, dude." In other (less slang-y) words, the stranger I happened to be right behind in the Little Mexico Wal-Mart also wasn't from Texas.
How random, I thought. I struck up a conversation. I shouldn't have.
Me: I gather you're not from around here either.
Wal-Mart Creeper: Naw. You're not from here?
Me: No. I'm just traveling through.
W. Creeper.: I'm from Los Angeles, on my way back there now. Where're you headed?
Me: How crazy! I'm from an hour east of LA, and headed back! Small world, isn't it?
W. Creeper: Are you traveling alone?
Me, now realizing the guy is a creeper but still not willing to lie: Yes, well, with my dog. (It occurred to me later I should have said, "No, Jesus is always with me." I'll use it on the next one. There's always a next one).
W. Creeper: Where you staying at?
Me (thankful that my procrastination habit was finally good for something): I have no idea. I haven't picked a place yet.
W. Creeper: Oh yeah? Well, I'm up at the Motel 6 right around the corner. Nice place.
After that, nothing more needed to be said. Of course, there was more said. He went on to introduce himself as Daniel, at which point I squelched an urge to tell him I hoped he got lost on the way back to the Motel 6 and found himself in a ... lion's den.
As long as we're on the topic of road trips and Bible-references (you thought you'd escaped them for a post! *Cue losing sound from game show*), you've got to read this story. Not long ago, a Florida man went on a cross country journey--in a covered-wagon. Why? Read the whole story:
Man, Mules, and a Message.
These words appear at the end of the story. I couldn't think of a better note to end the day:
“A trip ends. But a journey goes on forever. It’s all about an eternity with Jesus. I will continue this journey until I die, telling other people about Jesus.”
*My mother fears I have blog stalkers who may try to kidnap me en route to California. I tell her that she doesn't need to worry--even if they did take me, it wouldn't be long before they'd realize the mistake and put me back.