Why I Wish You a Merry Christmas

“Happy Holidays” is becoming the only greeting you hear at Christmas. A lot of people whine or mutter about how political correctness is taking over everything including the holidays – yes, I am one of those people – but that’s not why that phrase upsets me.

It is so impersonal!

When I wish someone “Merry Christmas,” I am inviting them to enjoy a holiday I celebrate and love! I don’t get offended when someone tells me “Happy Hanukkah” because that is them extending the specialty of their holiday to me to enjoy!

Hearing “Happy Holidays” tells me that person does not truly care about what or how they are celebrating this year, and they certainly do not care about my celebrations. Happy Holidays is a phrase that can be used any time of year during any holiday season – late winter, spring, summer, etc. The phrase is so general it is almost irrelevant to say.

I actually had this discussion with a co-worker the other night who agreed my reasoning makes total sense. We then began wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas” with positive results. Many people returned the Merry Christmas while others thanked us and wished us Happy Kwanza or Hanukkah or a holiday special to them which I have no idea what it is or can even begin to try to spell! Nobody was offended.

To summarize: I tell people “Merry Christmas” because I want to include everybody in my favorite time of year. I don’t get offended or put off when somebody wishes me the best for their holiday because they are including me in their special time of year.

The God of Fire

If you never have an imaginary conversation or attempted to plan a conversation with someone in your head, you are lying to yourself. Tonight, my conversation was with someone I love dearly who is now unfortunately brainwashed by a treehugger and with the idiotic treehugger/brainwasher.

At some point, this conversation turned to the world being destroyed by fire by God after the rapture and tribulations and the rest of the prophecies in Revelations. The idiot, in my imaginary conversation, asked how I can I follow a God Who will allow the world to be destroyed. I answered with He is the just God who has had literally billions of His children, throughout history, suffer unimaginable pain and death for their attempts at warning people of the upcoming judgment. The idiot then asked how would I be able to stand seeing the world be destroyed.

I, being me, responded that since I will be seated on the stoop of my personalized mansion, safe from the power of destruction of the fire, I don’t anticipate mourning the destruction of a cursed world. I also pointed out that as a pyro and a firefighter, I love fire. I love watching the beauty of the dancing flames and listening to sound of the fire consuming the fuel.

That got me thinking away from the treehuggers about how appropriate it was that God, the Creator of the universe, will destroy the universe – cursed but still beautiful – with something as beautiful as fire. Fire is the element that with restraint is beautiful and beneficial. Fire is also the element that, when unleashed, is powerful beyond belief and can continue to consume everything that stands in defiance of that power. From there, how appropriate that God appeared as a pillar of fire to guide the Israelites through the wilderness.

He created this universe out of NOTHING. I’m redoing my house right, slowly, so very slowly, but surely. I can have a perfect design in my head, but only based on what I have with which to work. I can draw out my dream house, but only based on what I’ve already seen. Architects can design a new house, but they have to be within codes and regulations based on what has already been done. God designed the world with no previous worlds (that we’ve been told), and it is beautiful even while cursed! Clearly, He has a respect, knowledge, and love of beauty – including in fire.

He also appeared before them as the element that can consume forests and towns and civilizations – as we were reminded recently with Gatlinburg, Tennessee – before it stops or is stopped. The power of fire is uncontested world-wide. Israel was overtaken by fires and aided by other countries who realized the amount of destruction – and the threat to them – of those fires. What better element would the just, powerful, and holy God choose than the purifying fire? Oh yes, fire purifies.

It is truly sad the amount of death in Tennessee right now – people, woods, and animals. However, that area will come back to be even more beautiful and full of life after the impurities have been burned away. Farmers burn away left-over crops and weeds to clean and enrich the soil for a better harvest. We are told a couple different times in the Bible that Christians are being purified through trials the same way fire purifies. The holy God cannot allow sin in His kingdom. When He creates the new world, it will be after the impurities of this world have been burned away.

Yes, I realize God appears as wind or rather a gentle breeze in Biblical accounts as well, but this line of thought focused on the fire and the different characteristics of God we can see through fire.

The last thing we can see through the account of God being the pillar of fire guiding the Israelites: mercy. They were wandering because of their sin. That fire could have been used to consume the entire nation, but God restrained from doing that because while they were wandering as consequence for their sin, they were wandering because God showed mercy and allowed them to live to wander rather than choosing a different people to be His.

We Need a Little Christmas

I was so pumped for Christmas this year. My mama got me Christmas socks to wear. I have had decorations planned since September. A workplace decorated for Christmas. I was ready. 

Cue the Grinches and Scrooges. 

For starters, Christmas cards. 

I have always loved getting and mailing out Christmas cards over the years. I don’t do the annual Christmas letter, but cards pretty to hang up and read. My family always hung them around our bay windows or the sliding doors. I’ve sent cards out the last couple years and always make a point to give them to my co-workers, even the ones who weren’t necessarily fond of me or who annoyed me to no end. This year is no different, or so I thought. 

I have never gotten such surprised and apparently grateful reactions to a simple little Christmas card. One person thanked me more than three times and I actually saw him reading it more than once throughout the day. Others actually have them propped up on their desks or in their drawers, pulling them out periodically during the shift. That is so incredibly sad to me. Then I realized that over the last couple of years, the number of Christmas cards hanging at my parents has dwindled to only close family members. I thought the only reason I got cards only from my grandparents and sometimes my aunt and uncle was because people forgot I had a different mailing address. 

What happened to getting into the Christmas spirit? Something so simple as Christmas cards! I saw on facebook today that someone posted a memory from last year, struggling to get Christmas cards out. The caption was this year they won’t even try. I had just finished writing theirs after an incredibly long and emotionally/mentally hard day at work. 

Work. I had two amazing partners at my old job who not only listened to Christmas music starting with the first snow fall, but one would even sing along! The second would start singing along after Thanksgiving. Sometimes. 12 hours of Christmas music was occasionally a bit much for him until I got CDs with Christmas songs neither of us had ever heard. Now at work, I was told to wait until after Thanksgiving. Fine. The Monday after Thanksgiving, I walk in to find the place decorated for Christmas, which was exciting even if I was not invited to help. I’m still new; I understand. I asked when the Christmas music was going to start and got a lot of whining in reply about how it’s not even December – wait til then. 

It is now the 6th of December, and there is no Christmas music playing. I was basically told today to quit asking. I’m even getting lied to in response at which point I did pull a bit of my EMT experience/RN’s kid voice that puts the most difficult patient, non-psych, in their place. The person cowered a bit and was trying to dig themselves out of their whole as  I walked away.

19 days til Christmas. My co-workers are very quickly draining my Christmas spirit with how much they whine about not only the music but also some of the decorations and their “obligations” not privilege. 

Let’s go back to Christmas cards. I spent probably half an hour trying to find Christmas cards that had anything to do with the Biblical origin of Christmas. I finally found some, but the verses inside are all about peace and justice which I did not realize until I opened them up at home. 

I don’t want to cancel Christmas because let’s face it, in this day and age, the chances of it coming back would be slim to none. However, I will no longer be discussing Christmas at my full-time job. Those Grinches and Scrooges don’t get to have the privilege of joining my celebration of Christmas when they cannot do something so simple as playing Christmas music. Half of them don’t even listen to the music or can tell me what is playing the other 11 months of the year. 

Dear Congress. . .

Dear Congress,

Over the last couple weeks, many have directed their opinions of the election toward the President-elect, the failed presidential candidate, and the media. I’ve chosen to address you.

Were you paying attention? Did you see that the citizens of America are tired of the race war the current head of the executive branch and his associates started? Did you see that We the People are tired of the lies that come out of Washington D.C.? We are tired of you trying to force us into a pattern of living that profits you to the extent that you no longer feel guilt over how much you are hurting us.

The United States of America is to be the nation of united individuals not cookie cutter citizens. 

Stop trying to pit people of different cultures against each other! Americans are not racists or xenophobes just because we don’t want to blindly allow or trust the various departments of justice when they report them clear to enter our country. Those departments have repeatedly proven that they are not without flaws in their screening process.

Your job is to create policies and laws that benefit us, the American people. Some of those policies should be geared toward lower the national debt without raising taxes. Here’s our idea: quit raising your salary. Quit exempting yourself from taxes and penalties and national policies you force on us.

Have you heard of Davy Crockett? He was in your place once. He went to Congress to truly help the people he represented. When his term was done, he returned home to help his neighbors in person. Then he served his country – at that point, not even his country, just his fellow man – by taking a final stand at the Alamo. Davy Crockett served the way Congress was designed – temporary! The term limits are supposed to send you back home to get in touch with the everyday, blue-collar Americans you SERVE.

Do  not forget: you are voted into position to serve US. We are not your puppets or pawns in a power play. Instead of wondering if a policy will better those in a party other than yours, wonder if it 1) follows the Constitution, 2) will benefit the American people, and 3) is something the American people want. Do your jobs. We get fired when we don’t do ours.

Sincerely,

We the People of the United States of America

Three Types of People

This morning, as I used my all-natural laundry detergent and fumed about yet another chain store wanting to enter my little town, I decided there are three clear types of people in this world.

The first: my oh so favorite (please sense the sarcasm) treehuggers. These treehuggers essentially believe that the world is better without humans to preserve the world. It doesn’t matter if a tree is dead and about to fall on the home that has been in a family for generations and poses a risk to the little ones playing in the yard. They still think the tree should not be cut down and be allowed to fall as if it were still in an uninhabited area.

The second: I don’t actually have a good name for these people, as of now. This group is filled with people who live in the concrete jungle and think that the entire world should be paved over with asphalt, cement, concrete, etc. These are the people that seem to think that every village, township, town, city should have a McDonalds and Dollar General. They are the anti-treehuggers. It is important to note that while all in this group are city-boys, not all city-boys are in this group.

The third: the naturalists. This is the group of which I consider myself a part – the happy medium between the first and second. Naturalists are happy with how things are now – distinction between the country and the city. Naturalists typically live in the country because they don’t like the crowded, nature-deprived city, but they recognize the necessity of the cities to house a continuously growing population. Naturalists don’t go protesting every time a tree is going to be cut down, but they do believe and love national, state, and local parks. Naturalists don’t like the government interfering with how we keep our houses warm (the EPA should be disbanded), but they also prefer natural, biodegradable products around their house to do what they can to help preserver the environment. Naturalists are pro-hunting, but dislike hunting purely for sport (Dances with Wolves has a scene of thousands of slaughtered buffalo, killed for sport rather than meat and warmth, that has haunted me for over a decade.).

Naturalists can live in the city. You’ll find them in parks or taking weekend outings to local lakes or hiking grounds. They’ll be pushing for recycling in their building or homeowner’s association.

Naturalists are the most likable of the three groups. Treehuggers cannot go a day without telling you you’re wrong about everything when it comes to the environment. They tell you how you’re contributing to global warming that day. That second group cannot go a day without telling you that yeah, the fields of wheat waiting for harvesting set against a background of gold, flaming, and auburn trees with a dusty blue fall sky above all are beautiful, but think of how much nicer it would look as a parking lot for the new plaza of stores they want to build there. Yeah, our grandparents used to climb trees and run play by the creek, but it’s much safer for them on a small playground.

Because of the feuds between the treehuggers and the concreters (not the best title, but it’s still pretty accurate), everybody thinks the choice is one extreme or the other other. Everyone forgets that there is the third option. When you live half an hour from a city with every grocery, clothing, craft, auto, home-project store you could need, you don’t need a dollar general in your town just to have a dollar general in your town. You don’t need to feel guilty about cutting down a dead tree. Just plant another tree or grind that one into mulch for your flower beds or chop for a bonfire or woodburner.

Think Happy Thoughts

I have not had a dishwasher for about three years now. I complain quite often about that fact. When people say, “oh, we don’t like washing dishes, but it’s not too bad” I tell them it is if you wash dishes by hand.

However. For as much as I complain, I do not think I will get another one – at least not until I have to wash dishes for a husband and our mini-mes.

To start, I know those dishes are clean. With an actual dishwasher, I’m always wondering if those water spots are actually food smeared or if the water just rinsed the yuck off instead of cleaning it.

Today, as I’m getting caught up on over a week of dishes (it’s been a long, long week), I picked up a glass that looked like one of my great-grandma’s glasses. Immediately, I flashed back to washing dishes by hand with her when I would spend the night or weekend with her. We didn’t really talk much while we were washing dishes, unless planning what dessert to make next, but standing next to her as I washed and she dried was enough.

I cannot make a pan of brownies or a batch of cookies without thinking of her telling me to make two – one for her and one for me.

When I do laundry, and have to go downstairs to do so like at her place, I think of her waking up around 0400 to beat me to doing her laundry when I was there to help her. She was easily one of the most sneaky and stubborn women I have ever had the pleasure to meet, and as a private medical transport EMT for 3.5 years, I met plenty.

For whatever reason though, it’s always when I’m doing the dishes that I miss her the most.

I was house-sitting and ran out of dish soap one time. I ran to the store and grabbed a small bottle of something relatively cheap but knew worked. I never remember what brand of soap she had for dishes until I open it. When I got back to the house and put it on the washcloth, I ended up sliding down the cupboards to the floor and just sat there crying because I missed her. It was the same soap.

When I sat down to write this, I wondered for a moment why it was hitting me so hard today. Looking at the calendar, I realize her 100th birthday would be in about a month. and in 9 days will make 6 years since she went home to God and our family gone before her.

I drive by her house sometimes. There’s a family living there. How? I don’t know because it was a one bedroom place, but there are kids toys. That may mean there is another grandma or great-grandma living there, washing dishes by hand with and telling stories to her grandbabies – memories to last a lifetime.

 

My Parents Argued…

. . . and I’m glad they did.

Allow me to explain.

I have read and heard from various sources that when this or that couple got married, they felt awful fighting so much because their parents never fought. They figured they were doing something wrong and wanted to quit the marriage because of it.

Sidenote: I realize mine is likely the last generation to be able to say that some have never seen their parents fighting or arguing due to many, many homes not have both parents. That alone is quite tragic.

To continue. My parents argued in front us, their children. When we enter into a relationship, we know that arguing is going to happen. It still is awful, but it is actually a bit unavoidable – especially, from what I have heard and observed, once marriage happens. When I get married, my husband and I will not wait til the kiddos are in bed or send them outside before we voice our disagreement. Now, we might take a walk or go outside to work out the details, but I would be doing a great disservice to my children to let them grow up thinking that their father and I never fought.

However, my parents never struck at each other in anger. My dad has never ONCE raised his hand against my mom and vice versa.

When I was kind of sort of with this one guy, we fought. At one point, I did realize that it was not normal or right for me to be in tears or anxious every time I knew or thought I was going to see this guy. Unfortunately, I was too cowardly to do anything about it at that time. I thought things would just get better. They did not. One day, I realized something had changed. His whole attitude seemed to have gotten more threatening. One time, I turned and him in what appeared to be an attempt to backhand me. I immediately called my dad for back-up and getting out of that situation. I did not tell him what I had seen and what was going to happen, just that I needed him to make an appearance. Things ended with that male immediately after that incident.

Basically, this post is because I was thinking about a friend of mine who is still with someone who once attempted to hit her, not realizing that she’s pretty strong and would not stand for such a thing. She went back to him after taking a few weeks away because she loves him.

Here’s the thing: she might love him, but if he truly loves her, even alcohol will not cause him to ever think of raising a hand against her. What’s in the heart will eventually come out via words and/or actions.