Life

What if you could rewrite your life?

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Ever have one of those days?

Ever have one of those days where the “What ifs…” begin to wander in and you start to think about what you would have done differently? What you would do if you could go back and start over?

I am not having one of those days; but, as my pen lay on the notepad in front of me, I had a moment of creative inspiration with an app on my phone so I decided to record it and create. I guess, for a moment, I was being philosophical.

So, tell me, have you had one of those days? Or, moments? Tell me your “blank page” moment/story in the comments – what would you do if you could rewrite your life?

The Debate: What is “Life”?

This is, apparently, life.

This is, apparently, life.

This, apparently, is not life.

This, apparently, is not life.

Science is an interesting thing. Much like math, you can pick and choose how to use it or interpret what it means.

It always amazes me that scientists can define “life” as a microscopic microbe (literally had to use an electron-microscope to see it because it is so tiny) and yet fail to see a fetus in a womb as “life”. The definition of “life” on biology-online.org seems pretty clear to me.

This article, “Critters found in Antarctic ice show how tenacious life is,” has me in a feisty mood today. “Life” as they claim can apparently exist in the most inhospitable environments (including space, maybe) but “life” can’t exist in the most protective and nurturing of places, like a woman’s womb. At least, that is if you are someone that supports abortion.

Here is another one of those weird (not really, but we’ll call it that) things that seems hard to justify. If you are a criminal and happen to kill a woman who was pregnant, you can be charged with murder of the fetus in 38 states in the United States. However, if you are an abortion doctor, you apparently exempt from these laws? What gives?

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox, for now. Anyone else not understand these obvious inconsistencies?

Wanna join me on the box? Add your two cents below.

Thankful for a Gift

This has been on my heart since before Thanksgiving, I just haven’t had much time to formulate it into a manner which makes sense to me so I am just gonna put it out there.

In the Sunday morning services at my church this year the pastor was talking about the true meaning of thankfulness for a Christian. This wasn’t a new concept for me, I have heard sermons like this before but our new pastor has a way of putting things that makes me think much more deeply than I have in the past. In his sermon the Sunday before Thanksgiving he asked a simple question that many of us probably really haven’t taken much time to ponder. So, I am gonna ask you the same question. You can choose to respond, or not. But please ponder it, deeply, because it might change how you see this time of year, but it might also change YOU.

What are you thankful for AND how long will it last?

After having just come out of the Thanksgiving (last month here in America) season and now just about to celebrate Christmas I wonder if you really know what you are thankful for. Moreover, you many even know what you are thankful for, but have you really taken the time to contemplate how long it will last?

If you are like most people, you probably can answer that questions with a long list of things you are thankful for.

Good health.

A house, a car.

A job, an income, a BIG income.

Family: parents, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, cousins…

Clothing, a warm place to lay your head, a retirement account, a big TV, etc.

The point of the questions is, how long will those things last? Health is fleeting and as we age it will deteriorate. Wealth is temporary and can be gone in an instant. Those material possessions you have worked so hard for are going to break down and need to be replaced at some point in the future. The point: none of it lasts. It never will. No matter how hard we try to make it happen, it just won’t.

An Eternal GIFT

it is Christmas Eve and we are about to spend time with family. I love them a lot, however they are only temporary. That thought both pains me and gives me joy. I want them to be with me forever and I want them to live forever, but the only way that can happen is if they do one thing: accept a gift they neither deserve nor can they earn. Thankfully, most of them have accepted that gift. Maybe you would like to as well?

The GIFT came in the form of a little baby so long ago. God sent his son to earth so that he might endure a human life and then give himself, as a sacrifice, to atone for my sins. Not just mine, but everyone’s, including yours. That is a GIFT no one except a loving God can give. Think about that. He gave up something that means the most to Him so that we might have eternal life. How many of us would willingly give up what means the most to us, just so someone who deserves nothing could have everything?

This Christmas we celebrate isn’t about those gifts that may be under the tree. Most of us know this, but many of us fail to grasp the weight of it and simply go about our busy lives failing to appreciate the GIFT that was given to us.

What are you thankful for AND how long will it last?

How long will it last? That question has haunted me. Everything is temporary, except one thing – eternal life. An eternal life given to me, you too if you accept it, through the birth of a child, which eventually led to his death.

The only thing I am sure of this Christmas season is that I have accepted GIFT that no one else can give me. I have accepted a GIFT that nothing can destroy, be stolen, or lost. I know as I end this year and begin the next that no matter what happens I have a GIFT that can never be taken from me. It is forever! There are no other things in life that can make that claim. No other things in life that can be guaranteed with that much certainty. No other things that will last beyond this world.

If you don’t have that kind of thankfulness and if you haven’t accepted the GIFT no one else can give you, I would encourage you to seek someone out that knows what this GIFT is all about. You can contact me, if you like, and I will do my best to answer your questions, but I am still learning and growing in this lifelong journey.

However you do it, do it soon! Remember, those things you sat around a table and were thankful for about a month ago are only temporary and you never know how much time God has granted you on this ball of dirt and water. The sooner you choose to accept THE GIFT that will not fail, the sooner you can live in confidence of an eternal life. What better thing to be thankful for than that?

I can’t think of anything.

If Ever There Was a Good Cause

THIS IS IT!!

My life has been affected by adoption. I have two beautiful, amazing, and strong Korean born sisters. They came to this country so long ago (when they were 13 months and 6 months old) that it is hard to imagine that they were not originally part of the family. I was 12 when my first sister arrived and I was excited for the new change in my life. I was going to have a little sister! When my second sister arrived, I was just as excited to have another little sister. My parents made the choice to adopt two little girls out of a Christian run orphanage in Seoul, South Korea. I AM SO GLAD THEY DID! I am immensely proud to call them my sisters and love them dearly.

If Ever There Was a Good Cause

That is where the Van Notric family comes in. You see, they too have a desire and a dream to adopt a little girl. Not just a little girl, but a special needs little girl. What a challenge that God has lain on their hearts! They are an amazing family and they need help to make this dream come true. For them it is a mission, a calling, if you will.

They have been working on this adoption for a long time and have faced many a challenge along the way. Doors have opened and doors have closed. It would appear as though another door is close to opening but they have some final hurdles to get over still. Why adoption has to be so expensive is anyone’s guess. I mean, if you are doing good in this world, why would the cost of adoption stand in the way of that?

If Ever There Was a Good Cause

Typically, I get a little annoyed with the “GoFundMe” campaigns that I get invited to view or that randomly appear on my Facebook feed. However, this is NOT one of those times. This is one of those time that you just feel compelled to do something. I don’t have a ton of funds to offer, but what I do have (though limited, admittedly) is a platform in which I can spread the word and maybe help this family on their journey to making the world a better place.

Please visit their GoFundMe site and read their story. I think you will be impressed and I think you will want to help them.

http://www.gofundme.com/waitingforchloe

Afterall, who doesn’t want to make the world a better place? Even if we have to do it one person at a time, it is worth it. You can help that happen. And, even if you can’t afford to help financially, maybe you know someone who can or someone that has a passion for adoption or someone that likes making dreams come true or someone that can share their story too. All the help they can get is appreciated, I know. I know them personally and they would be very grateful.

Thank you. Thank you for helping in one way or another. Thank you for making a difference. Thank you for help a special little girl have a permanent home and family.

Thank you.

Let’s Review…

It is the end of the school year and things around here are pretty busy.

Graduation is only three days away and I am busy wrapping up the year (and high school careers) with seniors that I have seen nearly every day (save summer, of course) for two years. This time of year is hard, but I’ll endure. Then there are all the end of year things to be done and paperwork to fill out and classroom to clean and plans to be made for lesson planning over the summer. The list never ends.

So, in review, I don’t have much time to put something new out. BUT, there are some posts in the archive that might be worth your reading since you may not have been around when they were written. Take a look at these earlier post in my blogging life:

Eject “God Bless America” from Baseball

Pet Perturbed

 

Enjoy!

Two Kinds of People

There are two kinds of people in this world.

Surprisingly (not really) there are lots of sayings out there on the internet that start with this phrase. I have done some research and I can’t find anything that resembles what I am about to say, so I apologize to whomever if I am stealing your words. I have no intention of stealing your words, so if you said it you can claim it here and I’ll give you attribution.

There are two kinds of people in this world,

those who give life and those who suck life right out of you.

I have known this for a long time. However, there are stages in my life that I realize as I look back on them that I have either been one of them, or both. I hope that I haven’t been the latter as often as I have been the former, but I guess that really isn’t up to me to judge. I also know, as I look back, that I have most certainly had both kinds of people in my life. I haven’t always recognized it as quickly as I should have. Lessons learned.

I have two pieces of advice. First, evaluate the people in your life. Do it honestly (this will be tough!), and do it quickly. The sooner you realize who the givers and the suckers are, the better off you’ll be. Second, get rid of the suckers. They aren’t worth it. That’s not to say give them a second chance and to have grace with them, but after a while the sucking overrides the giving and that is when it is time to cut them loose.

Where do you fall? Be honest with yourself. Are you a giver of life or a sucker of life?

Feel free to comment on the subject of this post or to add your own “two kinds” statement.

 

My Life via the Spam Folder – A Story

 

Yahoo, I took 24 hours and wrote down the subject lines for the email in my spam folder. It is amazing that spam can exist these days given that the subject line pretty much gives it away. People really don’t request this stuff, let alone respond to them do they? What to do with all these spam messages…well, how about if this was really representative of my life?

Yeah, this is my (fictional) life, through spam!

 The Story (Fiction)

Life around here has been pretty difficult as of late. I am broke and have very little education, the car has problems, I am homeless, and my girlfriend decided last week that she just didn’t want to be with me any longer. Luckily, I have been able to get lots of help with all my problems. I don’t know if it is divine intervention or not, but my email seems to offer a solution to all my problems without me ever having to solicit help.

Very accurate!

I decided to get a free psychic reading to see if all this unsolicited help would benefit me in the long run. She said my life in the near future would turn around and I would be well on my way to success. She said specifically, “You’ll get an education and a new job that will allow you to find a place to live, buy a car and keep it running, and find new love in my life.” Good thing I went to see her first!

First, an education seemed like a priority but I didn’t have any money. One offer in my email stood out, I could get a government grant for cash. I assume this will be a large grant since the government is flush with cash and gives it away regularly. With four separate offers for $2500 loans (that totals $10,000 right?), an offer for an instant $6500 loan, and another offer for an instant approval of $5000, I am now flush with cash myself and able to afford that education I have wanted for so long. All of those loans, a government grant, and an offer for a Kaplan University Scholarship will get me the education I deserve!

Education has done wonders for me. I was depressed, but no longer! The antidepressants that I was taking never really worked and now they are no longer needed. So, i sued them for selling me ineffective drugs. My email gave me great advice since there were two anti-depressant lawsuits I could join. As it turns out, others were not happy with their results either.

Now that I am educated, I need a job. So I found one with the help of an email titled, “Jobs in my area.” Sure enough, there were all kinds of jobs waiting to be filled! Some that needed specific skills and some that needed no skill at all. I applied for all that needed skills since I was being educated at Kaplan University. I mean, after all, I am now qualified for everything but why get a low paying job. That is WAY below me. Good thing there are all those nice people out there fighting for a minimum wage of $15 an hour. That way the losers will have something to do too!

SMART? I don’t know.

Can’t get to work without a car, so I bought one now that I have a high paying job. Of course, there are all kinds of things with a car that takes money, like insurance. Insurance costs a lot of money and if you are a good driver you rarely have to use it, so it shouldn’t cost so much. I had two emails offering cheap auto insurance; I bought two for good measure. You never know when you might need it. The dealership recommended that I buy an extended warranty for the car since the manufacturer isn’t really reliable with all those recalls and whatnot. I said no, but luckily there were four extended warranty offers for my car in the email. That really saved me! Plus, who doesn’t like free stuff once in a while. Low and behold, a free oil change was waiting for me in the inbox as well. Life is great.

Sometimes life can be confusing too. I had an email after I bought my car that said, “Lead generator.” Obviously this was spam, because who knew there was a shortage of lead? If it wasn’t about the shortage of lead, then who would want a really heavy generator in their car? That isn’t very good for gas mileage and I need to save money not waste it. I deleted that one right away. I mean, I am not going to click on something that wasn’t intended for me and might contain a virus or something else intended to harm me. Also, there was an email for cheap life insurance. I am young, who needs that stuff? Besides, there is no one to give the money to since I don’t have kids or a significant other. That one went straight to the trash folder as well.

Next, my homelessness needed to be solved. Luckily that was also easily solved by my email! I checked out the two emails on home foreclosures and found several that met me needs. However, I am running short on funds since I just bought a car, got an education, and have to commute to a job. So, I got a reverse mortgage for seniors. I am not sure how I qualify as a “senior” because I am only in my early 40s, but they sent me an email so it was their mistake. As it turns out, they pay me to own the home! I guess the joke is on them! After I got my house I needed to fill it with cool stuff, so I waited for a pre-approval notice for an account to a store I don’t visit often, but hey what the heck! I also got a new visa card and opened a Khols account. I spent to my max, let me tell you. Now I had a big new TV to watch, along with all the clothes, furnishings, and appliances my little heart desired. The new TV was even better when I figured out how to get cheap cable.

The last and probably most difficult problem was yet to be handled. I had to get my girlfriend back. The gift card to Victoria Secret for filling out a survey was a good start. She loved that place! But wait, what is this? I didn’t need her back. There are tons of other options I could use. Besides, I didn’t really like her that much anyway. As it turns out, there are lonely moms waiting for dates or Russian brides waiting for someone to rescue them from behind the “iron curtain.” Those are two great options, but it seems a bit random and a little risky. How do I know if they will want me le alone like me? Maybe the email from EHarmony is a better option. At least then I will know the person really likes me! Now is as good a time as any to prepare for the future so I watched a seduction video aid  and read an article on a stealth seducer. It seemed like good advice, but everyone knows that the ladies really only care about one thing, forget romance and intimacy. I’m not going to fail on that one since there were three emails on how to get powerful erections. Good thing the Canadians have figured out how to offer drugs for this. The two emails from Canadian pharmacy – Viagra/Cialis offering significant discounts was my solution. Now, I am set for relationship success!

Life now is a picnic. My email offered solutions to all my problems and solved them quite nicely. More people should pay closer attention to this stuff. Their lives would be MUCH better…

The Tale of Two Accounts

How often do you look in your spam folder? How much do you pay attention to it? Maybe I am a little odd and maybe not, but I look in my spam folder every day! I look in the spam folder every day to make sure there isn’t something there that doesn’t belong there. Three out of every five days I have to rescue an email that was delivered to the wrong folder. Poor little email.

Algorithms. I completely know or understand how they work, but I know they have something to do with math (something I am not good at). I also know they have something to do with a computer’s brain. I think. But really, it doesn’t matter. I just know that when I send an email it somehow ends up getting to where I want it to go most of the time. The intended recipient lets me know one way or another that they got it. However, I am not sure what algorithms are being used when it comes to the spam folder. I have several email addresses and I watch the spam folders for all of them. Honestly, I don’t know what Google is doing with their Gmail, but it is miles ahead of Yahoo.

I have had my Yahoo email address for many years now and there has been a continual flow of spam emails. They have gotten much better at getting into the spam folder and not in my actual inbox. Remember those days when you had to actually put all that mail into the trash? Yeah, me too. Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining then, but I can’t help it. My Yahoo account spam folder typically has about 50-80 spam messages in it every 24 hours. My question is why? Why is there any spam in it at all?

I have two Gmail accounts, one for work and one for personal use. Google does a phenomenal job at getting the spam into the spam folder! I very rarely see an email that I wasn’t intended to see. However, where Google has taken the cake is in the spam prevention. Their algorithm actually works! In a typical week, between the two accounts I have, I usually only have a total of seven messages in the spam folders. Seven. So, Google, what are you doing that makes you so much better than Yahoo?

Ok, I don’t really want the answer. I just want to say “Thank you.”

 

Parental Detention (or, I’m Making a Point for My Child)

 

In thirteen years of teaching, I haven’t ever had what happened on Friday afternoon after school. I had a parent “own” his child’s detention (child stayed too) and he wasn’t apologetic for it either. I am not really sure how I feel about it and I am still trying to process it. How would you take it?

Background

It was the 6th period of the day and there was only an hour left of school. The bell had rung and all the students were in their seats as we started. We had been talking and reading about the origins of the Vietnam War when Student A’s cell phone make a beeping noise, a text alert.

Now, we have a cell phone policy in our school that doesn’t allow for the use of cell phones during class. Generally though, most teachers don’t really follow the policy any longer because we would spend all of our time “policing” cell phone usage and very little time teaching. Plus, getting into conflict over a cell phone generally isn’t a great way to build rapport with a student. It’s an issue, but not one to die over. These days, I have taken the policy of letting them use it (unless blatantly disrupting their learning or someone else’s) because they are responsible for their learning, not me. If they are distracted by it, then it is on them. Plus, I actually require they use them occasionally for taking a survey by text or whatnot. However, I do draw the line when a cell phone becomes audible. Then I confiscate the cell phone for the class period and return it to them as they leave class. This all seems to work fairly well most of the time.

Student A’s cell phone make a sound after receiving a text. I asked her to bring it up. She protested a little with, “But Student B sent me the text!” Everyone in the room laughed because Student B is in the room too and she got her friend in trouble. Student A brought her phone up to me and while she did so I said that Student B needed to bring me her cell phone since she was the one who sent the text. Student B said she wouldn’t bring it to me. So, I went to the back of the room, held out my hand, and asked for it again. Student B flatly refused again saying, “No, I’m not giving it to you. My dad said to never give up my phone.” Now everyone in the room is watching and I’m thinking, “Well, this is interesting. Never would have expected this from her.” (Mostly because she is a GREAT student, straight A’s, always compliant, helpful, and respectful.) I asked again saying, “Come on, give me your phone. Is it really worth getting a detention for?” Student B’s response, “My daddy said to never give up my phone, so yes.” OK. I promptly turned, returned to the front of the room and wrote her name on the board. The class moved on as though it didn’t happen. After class and on her way out of the room she asked, “What time will you be here until today? My dad wants to come talk to you.” I gave her a time and Student B left the room.

The Parent

I was half expecting the riot act when the parent got there. But then again, this is a really nice family and all the kids are great kids so I wasn’t really sure what to think was going to happen. I was pretty sure, however, that I was going to get protestations about how the detention was unfair.

When the parent walked in all he said was, “I’m here for my detention! Where do you want me?” I responded that he could sit anywhere. Then he said, “I just want you to know that I am here to serve the detention since my daughter was following my instructions. With my background in law enforcement, I have instructed all my kids to never give up their phones. We will be dealing with her texting in class when we get home.” I said, “You know this is a bit unusual because I didn’t expect her to say ‘no’. We have a school policy of no cell phone usage in the classroom and if you need to get a hold of your student you can call the office and they will forward a message OR now you can actually call into our classrooms directly if needed.” His response was simply, “I know. that is just our rule for our kids.” Then he turned and chose a seat and sat down with his daughter. They sat there quietly talking for 25 minutes.

The End

There were a few minutes left in their 30 minutes and so I decided I should probably explain why she had gotten a detention a little more plainly that what his daughter had explained to him. So, I addressed Student B as I sat in front of them,” Student B I want to explain why you got the detention and how surprised I was that I had to give you one. The fact is that I like you and you are one of the best students I have in the junior class, that being said, I also can’t treat you differently than I would treat the other students in the room. The fact is, if you refuse to obey the instructions given to you by a teacher, I can’t just let that go. It sets a bad precedent for the others to see. You didn’t get the detention for using the cell phone. The detention was for refusing to give it up.” She said she understood.

Then her dad spoke up, “Listen, I understand why you gave her a detention and I am not happy with her because I had to rearrange my schedule to be here. I am not happy that she was using her cell phone during class and we will deal with that when we get home. But, I have to say, that I am proud of her for sticking up for what she had been instructed by her father to do, even in the face of adversity. We often wonder how our kids will react when they are put in a situation where they have to stand up for what they believe and when there is pressure to conform. She acted as I hoped she would, not in just this situation but hopefully in even greater, more serious situations. I am sorry she violated your policy and refused to give up her phone. That’s on me, but I wouldn’t want her to do it any differently. You did what you had to do and I respect that.”

We exchanged a few pleasantries about the weekend and out the door they went with a, “See you on Monday, Mr. Grenz!” from Student B.

My Questions

How do I take this? Was this a lesson for the child or was this a parent response telling me how ridiculous he thought it was that I gave his daughter a detention?

I am inclined to think it is the former, but there is still a part of me that thinks it is the latter. The words spoken seem to indicate this was a lesson for the student, but the tone in some of the words makes me think it was a lesson for me. I can’t quite put my finger on this and I haven’t quite settled on an answer.

So, tell me what you think? How would you have reacted to the teacher? How would you have taken this whole thing if you were the teacher? You can respond via the poll or in the comments.

Don’t Be So Bossy!

This isn’t just a woman problem, so why make it that?

What? Don’t be so bossy! Once again, our Hollywood “elite” have a message for the American public that is both ridiculous and pompous. If you haven’t seen an article on this yet, you can check one out below.

Jennifer Garner, Beyoncé, Jane Lynch, and More Urge Ban on ‘Bossy’ | Yahoo Celebrity – Yahoo Celebrity.

The whole premise of this movement just stinks of false feminism. I say false feminism because it is being painted as a “female” issue. That the word, when used towards women, is being sexist. What an utter obfuscation of reality!

The fact is that the word “bossy” can, and is, used in context to both men and women is some how lost here. Yes, there is a negative connotation to the word, but the connotation isn’t just solely reserved for women. As I see it, if the word is being used in context and appropriately, there is no problem. When people get power (or in this case celebrity) they feel abused when their demands aren’t met or their expectations are too high. Then, when someone points out that they are being unreasonable and “bossy,” well then we have just violated their sense of entitlement and their sense of dignity (apparently). Indignation then follows as the “elite” are called on the carpet for their misbehavior and the only way for them to justify their indignation is to make an issue of a non-issue and paint it as something it is not – a sexiest word.

We all have been there and done that. We make issues of non-issues in our daily lives. So I am not going to make that an issue.

What burns me red here is that we all have had the opportunity for power in leadership roles. We then become “bossy” and demand more or expect more than we should. Power goes to our heads and we get bossy. It is in our human (sinful, if you must) nature to take more than we deserve or need. So, when I or you become bossy and begin to wield power over people that is unjustified we need to realize that we are going to be called bossy. Is that a negative thing? YES! Should we be offended by it? Maybe, but likely no. If someone calls us bossy, it should cause us to pause and reflect,”Why am I being called bossy? Could they be right?” Ultimately, being called bossy should cause us to change because there IS a reason (in most cases) it was warranted.

This isn’t about empowering women. To some degree, I think this new initiative degrades them by making it about a word. Most people are better than that and I don’t think banning a word is going to make the difference. Next they may try to ban the word “woman” because it makes them feel inferior because it delineates them as a sex…where will the insanity of the word Nazis end?

The fact that female celebrities are leading this push gives it even less credence since I am sure that at one time or another they were bossy, let alone another word that starts with a “B” and rhymes with itchy. All have likely demanded things that made them come across as bossy. Rich people get that way because they feel entitled.

Rather than spending money on a campaign that has, really, very little relevance, how about contribute that money to ACTUAL needs?

Ladies, your social activism in trying to ban “bossy” comes across as just that – bossy.