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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The day God Spilled the Paint..

And what a beautiful mess it was....

This is a photo of east side of the Carrizo plain, in the Temblor Range , about 50 miles due west of Bakersfield , California. The admin from our Tulsa, OK office sent this to me a few weeks ago and I was so struck by the beauty of this image that I saved it. I was cleaning out old e-mail messages this morning and came across it. Funny I hadn't gone back and looked at it again until today.

It brought to mind something that happened to me Saturday before last. Something that was unsettling, yet at the same time beautiful. Something I shouldn't have let slip to the back of my mind so easily. Something I've decided to share with you today.

I've always been a huge lover of nature. As a kid I was fascinated by bugs, and trees and all things outdoors. As an adult nothing fills me with greater pleasure and peace than sitting outside feeling the warmth of the sun and the touch of the wind on my face, marvelling at the wonder of creation. Simple things give me joy. The sight of a butterfly dancing through the air to land briefly on a flower, the smell of freshly cut grass, the song of a bird reaching my ears like the softest melody.

When I lived in MS years ago I would go to the ocean and walk out on the pier and just sit. I'd climb down on the rocks near the water and close my eyes, listening to the sound of the waves splashing against the rocks and just... BE. There's something so deeply.. I can't even think of the right words to describe it, but sitting, listening, smelling, just being alone with creation is, for me at least, like being as close to God as you can while still here on earth.

Saturday before last I was driving to my sister's house in Gulfport, MS. My niece Marley and my brother-in-law's little sister's birthday parties were that weekend. It was about 10am when I left Mobile to drive over. It's about a 45-55 minute drive. The weather was perfect, bright blue skies as far as the eye could see, the sun had warmed the air to a just right 72 degrees. I had the windows down, the radio up and all was well with the world.

As I was about half way there a song came on that I really like, "You Are Everything" by Matthew West. Something in the combination of the lyrics, the beauty of the day and my general happiness at spending the weekend with my niece became suddenly overwhelming and I began to cry. In that very moment I felt God with me, in me, around me, through me. I was so filled with love, joy, humbleness and an intense thanks that I knew God, that I'd been raised being taught about Jesus, that I was loved and accepted 110% as I was, faults and all by the most perfect Father anyone could ever hope to have that I couldn't hold it in. In the middle of crying I laughed and sang along with the song. I gave praise to God with everything in me, and it was BEAUTIFUL.

I wish I could say that that experience remained at the front of my mind all weekend ... I wish I could say I wasn't human just like everyone else and let the feeling I had in that moment guide every thought and action I had for the rest of the day, the rest of the week. I didn't. Now don't get me wrong, it was a wonderful weekend, everyone was happy, the parties went great, I had a fantastic time with my niece and other family as well, but sitting here now thinking back, I realize that it took no less than half an hour for the trivialities of life to find their way right back to the front of my mind.

I'm thankful for that moment, and I'm thankful for the picture someone sent me, that I forgot about. I'm thankful I forgot because "cleaning out" my e-mail brought it back to my attention, and the beauty of creation shown in that photo brought me back to that moment in my car, riding down the highway, totally immersed in the joy of God and all He is. I'm thankful for the opportunity to share that moment with you and I'm thankful that some, or maybe just one of you, will read this and take a minute to step outside, close their eyes, take a breath and a moment to be still and will remember or maybe realize for the first time just how beautiful life really is.

Here are the lyrics to the song playing that day.. you can hear the song on Matthew West's MySpace, you don't have to have a page to hear it, just click the title in the player on the right side of the page.

You Are Everything

I'm the one with two left feet,
standing on a lonely street,
I can't even walk a straight line.
And every time you look at me,
I'm spinning like an autumn leaf,
Bound to hit bottom some time.

Where would I be without someone to save me,
Someone who won't let me fall?

You are everything that I live for,
Everything that I can't believe is happening
You're standing right in front of me,
With arms wide open, all I know
Is everyday is filled with hope
'Cause You are everything that I breathe for,
And I can't help but breathe You in, and breathe again,
Feeling all this life within, every single beat of my heart.

I'm the one with big mistakes, big regrets,
And bigger breaks than I'd ever care to confess.
Ah, but You're the one who looks at me
And sees what I was meant to be,
More than just a beautiful mess.



You're everything good in my life,
Everything honest and true.
And all of those stars hanging up in the sky
Could never shine brighter than You.


You are, oh You are,
Jesus, You are,
You are everything

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vote Vote Vote!!!!!!!

One of my most very favoritest bloggers, Crystal at Boobs, Injuries and Dr Pepper, wants to go to the 2008 BlogHer Annual Conference in San Francisco and with your help we can send her there.... for FREE!!

How you ask??

Nominate her for the "Blogher Hero" Award.

If you haven't read Crystal's blog then you are truly missing out. Hers is a story that touches each and every reader in some way or another. She writes from the depths of her soul and leaves you laughing, crying, cursing and wishing with everything in you that you could reach through the screen and give her a hug.

So go read her blog Boobs, Injuries and Dr Pepper, see how wonderful she is then go Nominate her for the "Blogher Hero" Award.

So my sister says...

"If I have another baby are you going to love and spoil that one as much as you do Marley"?

This is a pic of me and my niece Marley from a few weeks ago. I moved across the country to be closer to her. She is my heart.

My sister has taught her to say "Cheese" when she's having her picture taken. The point of the whole say cheese thing is because your mouth forms somewhat of a smile saying the eeeese part. This works great if you're old enough to understand why you're saying it. Marley, only being 2yrs old, holds out the eeeeese part and you get pictures like the one above. Not that she isn't still cute as pie, but after about 3 seconds she just stands there looking really bored and then you miss getting pictures like these...

Who knew spaghetti could be so fun?

Her question got me thinking. If you're new to my blog then I'll recap some stuff I've shared previously, if you're not new sorry for the re-run I promise to make it short.

Last year I decided to get proactive in the direction my life was taking and created a 2yr plan for myself. One of the main line items on that plan was becoming a mother, either by natural birth or adoption. Natural birth requires well... a guy, or at least the use of a guy for an indeterminate length of time (until procreation is accomplished). There are no guys in my life. At least not any I'm confident enough in to be the sperm donor for a future child of mine.

Ideally I'd like to fall in love, get married and impregnated by the end of 2009. Ahhh the dreams of the delusional. But, barring a miracle on the off chance that doesn't happen, I've decided to try and adopt. Which brings me to the "got me thinking" I mentioned above.

I'd like to have a boy. I've always been more of a tomboy than a sissy girly girl. OK I've never even come sort of close to being a girly girl. I played sports the majority of my childhood and teenage years and was more interested in playing with bugs and climbing trees as a kid than dolls or dress up. I did have a Barbie head once, you know the kind that are just shoulders and a head. I loved cutting and styling hair. Which doesn't in any way make me a girly girl, some of the best hair stylists in the country are fe men ine. Yes I know it's spelled wrong. It was intentional.

I'd feel more comfortable and adequate teaching a boy about sports and cars and things little boys like than I would playing dolls and princess. Yes I know girls can like sports and cars too, but knowing my luck I'd end up having a girl who was only interested in wearing pink dresses and ... well I don't even know what else girly girls like. I don't even own a dress.

This may sound like an odd thing to consider as a preference for the gender of your child, but something else I don't want to do is have a girl and cause Marley to feel threatened or less important in my life. Granted my child will obviously be my first love and most important, but Marley will always be my heart and I'd rather just not give her or my child any cause to feel in competition with each other for my love and attention.

Maybe it's because I'm approaching middle age 32 and my sister was the better daughter once again had a baby before me that I've given all the love I've held inside for my own child for so long to Marley. Or maybe she's just one of the most beautiful, intelligent, lovable children I've ever had the joy and honor of knowing. Either way I couldn't love her more if she were my own child. I'm sure once I have my own I'll experience an entirely different deeper kind of love for him/her, but until then, Marley is the baby that gets it.

I had a point at the beginning of this, but I've gotten so sidetracked looking back at pictures of Marley over her short 2 years and marveling at how much she's grown that I'm a bit stumped as to where I was going with it. I think the main thing I was writing about is my questions and feelings about hopefully becoming a mother in the next year or two and my sister's question about a future 2nd child of her own.

I'll fully admit to spoiling Marley unmercifully. I don't mean that in a I let her get away with murder and act like a heathen kind of way. I mean that I use every chance and resource I have to enhance her life and further her knowledge in the things she's interested in. For example, she loves books. I buy her a book almost every time I go to the store. She's smart as can be and has an insatiable desire to know stuff. She's always asking,"What is that?". I buy her educational toys on a fairly regular basis. She grows like a weed, so if I see a cute little outfit and have the extra money, I get it.

So when or if my sister does have another child, will I have the time, energy and available emotion to love that niece or nephew as much as I love Marley? When I have my own child will the love and attention I give to her dim or lessen as I change my life to devote myself being a new mom? I hope not. I hope when these babies make their entrance, that God shows me the way to find some wellspring of love I never knew I had and that it will be more than enough for all the children in my life.

I hope they all feel equally love and important. I know how it is remember how it was to feel less lovable than someone else in a family.. and I hope to never ever be the cause of that feeling to a child in my life.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Say goodbye to the little white X

Have you ever... hmm let me start over and rephrase that question.

How many times have you accidently moused up to the little white X in the top right hand of a window and closed out the WRONG DANG ONE?!

If you're anything like me I tend to have several, and I mean several windows open on my computer at work at one time. I almost always have at least a few windows open to different internet sites I'm either surfing or using to place orders for work or researching information, a few windows that are running programs like Outlook, Excel and my always open iTunes.

I can't tell you how frustraing it is to accidently click what you think is the X for the window you want to close and oops.. close the one on the file you were working on and hadn't saved yet!! Maybe I dont' have to tell you, maybe you know.

Well has created this fantastic little popnavigator that saves you from ever having to click the white X again. It's an all in one desktop navigator that allows you to open and close windows, go back, forward, search, access your favorites and more from one handy little tool. It's cute too!! Look!!!

Want to hear something even more fantastic? This popnavigator is FREE. offers the popnavigator as a free download. Why you ask? Well because they have several other time saving products that they know you'll want after seeing how easy and effective the popnavigator is!

Where can you find and download this fantastic little tool you ask?

Just click for

more details.

And happy nagivating!!

Sponsored by goPoint LLC

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yesterday.... and Tomorrow

As I was catching up on my blog browsing today, (I've been lagging behind on my regular reading. Damn job keeps getting in the way!) I came across a post over at Scarlet Hip and I thought it would be neat to try it out myself.

Sometimes ten years ago seems so far away, others it seems like yesterday. So here's where the last ten years have found me, and where I hope to be in the next ten!

Ten seconds ago I was making folders for some new accounts.
Ten minutes ago I was filing some paperwork I've been putting off.
Ten hours ago I was tossing and turning in bed trying to sleep.
Ten days ago I was at home resting from spending the day before with my niece.
Ten weeks ago I was things had turned out differently with someone I care about.
Ten months ago I had just moved from MS to Mobile, AL.
Ten years ago I finally made it to college then had to withdraw after 2 semesters.

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

Ten years from now I hope to be a mother and wife, living a very fulfilling life.
Ten months from now I will be on my way to being a mom by birth or adoption.
Ten weeks from now I have been religiously going to the gym for 3 months.
Ten days from now I may be moving into a new house!
Ten hours from now I will hopefully be sleeping better than I did last night.
Ten minutes from now I will be out picking up something for lunch.
Ten seconds from now I will hit publish post then head to lunch.

Loo Loo Skip to my ....

Umm no the other kind of loo.

I stole this from Dooce.

It was so funny I had to share.. Just watch the guys face.. makes me want to run right out and get a bidet!!

Although I can only imagine how much time it will take to clean up the mess if the one I get sprays like the one in this commercial!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

A new idea, a new dream, a new world

Just a few of the things you can find in a book.

April 13th through April 19th is National Library Week! This year's theme is "Join the circle of knowledge @ your library®."

Why am I blogging about National Library Week? Several reasons really.

1. Aahz from
Morgan Hill Review posted an article about library funding or lack thereof and one of the reasons people thought libraries should be funded was a bit ridiculous to me. He's asked for some response to his review. I'm responding.

2. I LOVE to read. I always have. My mom said I started reading at around 3yrs of age and I've loved books ever since. I remember when I was six, I lived in Oklahoma and in my room was a book case that was about 6 foot tall and 4 foot wide. One of those big ones that cover half a wall. It was crammed full of books. I had every Dr. Seuss book there was. The shelves were also filled with the Barenstain Bears, the Little House on the Prairie collection, Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island, Mother Goose and a collection of nearly every Disney story that had been written at that time. I still have several of those books. 26 years later.

3. Kids don't read these days and that makes me sad. Parents spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on video games for their kids to plop down in front of for hours at a time then wonder why their 8th grader has a 3rd grade reading level. So few parents these days choose to spend good quality time with their child reading. They'd rather shell out the bucks and viola, electronic baby sitter. Psh. That's the nice way to say what I think about that. If you are a parent who reads to their child then good for you, I applaud you. Honestly.

Before I go on a rant about video games, electronic baby sitters and then allow you to bask in the glow of all I love about reading here's a bit of information about National Library Week.
In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA (American Library Association) and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee's goals were ambitious. They ranged from "encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time" to "improving incomes and health" and "developing strong and happy family life."

In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme "Wake Up and Read!"

National Library Week was observed again in 1959, and the ALA Council voted to continue the annual celebration. When the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship.

National Library Week is observed each year in April, generally the second full week.

My niece Marley loves books. LOVES them. She just turned two and while she can't read yet, she can count to ten, is learning her colors and shapes, and can say her ABC's. If you point to words on a book, or writing on someones shirt and ask her what it is. She'll tell you "That's ABC's". So she's not just regurgitating something she's memorized but doesn't know. She knows what letters and numbers are.

She also has a book case in her room slam full of books. My sister (her mom) reads to her, my brother in law reads to her, my mom (her gramsy) reads to her, her papa & grandma, her aunts and uncles, all read to her. Every time I visit I read to her. She'll sit in your lap and look at the pictures and ask "What is that" and she actually says "what is that", no baby talk or toddler jargon with this one. She has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and is always wanting to know what things are and usually remembers after the first time you tell her. One of my most favorite pictures is of her dad reading to her around Christmas time.

One of the things that really bothered me in the Morgan Hill review article is a part that said something along the lines of "If I saved the $195 the government taxes me to pay for libraries I could buy all the books I wanted". I don't know where this guy is shopping for books but $195 a year isn't going to buy much. At anywhere from $7 to $35 a book (and up!) at Barns & Noble or BooksAMillion, that's what, 10-15 books? I usually read between 1 to 4 books a week. Not little 130 page paper backs either. I do read those but it's usually in one 2 or 3 hour sitting. Even in I averaged only 2 books a week that is 104 books in a year. If I didn't have the library I'd easily spend $1,500 or more to buy books. Actually.. I take that back. I wouldn't spend that much money because I don't have that much extra money for buying books. Without the library I wouldn't be able to read as much as I like.

When I go to the library, which is pretty often, I'll check out 5 or 6 books at a time. I mean you get to keep them for a month. And it's FREE. Libraries have study programs, after school homework assistance programs, book clubs, classes on how to do genealogy research, basic Microsoft word, excel and other computer programs. Heck the libraries in Mobile even have a movie night. They show family friendly kid movies, old classics and current releases.

Thanks to having a love of books instilled in me at an early age I've always excelled in school, can write one hell of a term paper, present myself articulately and intelligently in interviews, and well a plethora of other little things that serve me well in every day life. I'm a great speller, pretty darn good at proper grammar and speak in full coherent (usually slang free) sentences. I also never use "big words" in the wrong context. A personal pet peeve of mine is people who use "big words" to try and sound smart but don't know the meaning of the word and use it in completely the wrong way. FYI to those who do this.. it makes you look stupid. Sorry but it's true.

I was a very active child, always participating in sports and other extra-curricular activities but my love for books and reading was always present. In a book you can find a new world, explore new possibilities, dreams, hopes and fantasies beyond your wildest imagination. You can escape in the story, get lost in a romance, sucked into an adventure, or become glued to the edge of your seat in a thriller. There's really not one part of a person that reading isn't good for. It soothes the soul, expands the mind and touches the heart. Without libraries where would everyone who couldn't afford to go buy a $10 book get stuff to read? Most libraries now offer free Internet and computer use. You can search for a job, look for a house, write a paper, do research for a report and most libraries these days even have video rental! I mean hello.. for those that would rather sit in front of the TV than read a book you can go rent the entire season collection of Lost, Greys Anatomy or almost any other TV series or movie you can think of and it's usually free!

In the words of one of my favorite childhood show theme songs....

Take a look....

It's in a book.......


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Livin' La Vida Broka

So with gas prices reaching an all time ridiculous high I'm seriously considering investing in a bicycle.

Sort of.

Ok maybe not really, but the thought has crossed my mind.

Although, I went and looked at a house today that I'm interested in renting and it's only 2.5 miles from my office so if I move the whole biking to work idea may just become a reality. I mean since I've been going to the gym in the morning before work anyway (which is on the way from the new house to the office) I'd just be getting in a little extra work out.

Who am I kidding.. I'm more likely to start riding the Wave again than I am riding a bicycle around here. People in Mobile can't drive worth crap. I'd be safer hanging off the wing of a 747 mid-flight than I would riding a bike on these streets.

The cheapest, and I use that work laughingly, gas in Mobile, AL is currently $3.24 a gallon, going all the way up to $3.44. Now I'm sure if you live in a big city where prices are upwards of $4.00 a gallon and more you're probably saying $3.24!! $3.24!!! I'd give my left arm for $3.24 a gallon!!!!

You probably make a heck of a lot more money too than we do down here in Alabama . Or maybe you don't and you're thinking about sucking it up and biking to work just like I am.

When I lived in Michigan, which by the way is torturing drivers with prices ranging from $3.29 in Redford to $3.89 in Romulus, I ran across this fantastic little website called GasBuddy.

I loveeeeee GasBuddy. You can type in a city and state or even narrow it down to your specific zip code, hit search and it shows you the cheapest (and most expensive) gas prices in your area. Other drivers sign up, log in and when they come across some new pricing, post it to keep other stressed out drivers in the know.

It's great if you're going out of town too. I'm going to Mississippi this weekend and I can usually find cheaper gas there than I do here in Mobile. Often if I've got at least a quarter of a tank (enough to get me there) I'll drive on over and fill up when I get there. I only do that if I'm going to MS anyway silly. I don't drive all the way over there just for cheaper gas. Although I have been known to drive a mile or 5 out of my way to save a few cents a gallon! If you have a relatively fuel efficient car a few extra miles isn't going to hurt you in the long run. Of course if you drive a gas guzzling, ozone depleting monster of a vehicle, well.. you're best off mortgaging your house at the nearest station you can find!

So, in light of the falling economy, rising gas prices and general lack of desire to ride a bicycle I thought I'd share GasBuddy with you.. my blog buddies. Make sure to create an account (it's free) and start the search for affordable (laugh) gas where ever you live!

I say log in because not only does GasBuddy show you where the good gas is, they have contest and prizes like Free Gas Cards (hellooo who couldn't use one of those!) and.. hmm maybe that's the only prize but heck that's enough for me! They also have forums where you can rant and rave about the ever increasing prize of a barrell (of oil), find info on carpooling or just chat with fellow car enthusiests. They also have a nifty Fuel LogBook where you earn points by joining, listing prices and posting in the message forum. You use the points to "purchase" entries in the contests they have for Free Gas! and other prizes.

I'm leaving you with some links to the main site and info on their contests. Click, save on gas and enjoy!!

Search for gas prices by US Zip Code

Passing the Blue Ribbon...

Too often we take for granted the people who pass through our lives, not realizing or appreciating the effect they have had on us, however large or small.

If you are reading my blog for the first time, or the fiftieth, whether you've ever left a comment or not, each and every one of you have made an impact on my life and for that I'd like you to know that who you are makes a difference and honor you with this blue ribbon.

My friend Brooke from Michigan passed this on to me, so Brooke.. Thank You! Thank you for reminding me that I am someone special and allowing me the honor of letting others know that as well.

To you who read this...You make a difference! Please place this "Who I Am Makes A Difference" Blue Ribbon in a place where you will always be reminded that you are a very special person, then pass it on to someone who's made a difference in your life!

Thank you for making a difference,


Please watch the video below to learn how Difference Makers International came to be.

This is a true story! You can learn more about what they do and how you can pass the love on to others on their website

In a minute or less…you can change the world!

The Who I Am Makes A Difference®
8-Step Blue Ribbon System™

Step 1 - Focus on the good:
Find someone to acknowledge. Sit or stand in front of the person you want to honor. Show them the Blue Ribbon, words facing them, make eye contact (if it is appropriate to that culture), smile, speak their name, and…

Step 2 - Express your appreciation:
Tell them how they make a difference! Examples: I admire your for going for your dreams…You always have a good word to say about people…You take time to help me with my work.

Step 3 - Respect their choice to receive your gift:
Ask if they would accept your gift…when they say YES, then ask for permission to place the Blue Ribbon on them (if they can't wear it, ask them to put it in a place where they will be able to see it and always be reminded that who they are makes a difference.

Step 4 - Give them this lasting symbol for positive change:
Place the Blue Ribbon above their heart…pointed slightly upwards and say, "I'm placing this ribbon above your heart toward all your best dreams coming true!" Say, "YOU ROCK! I BELIEVE IN YOU! GO FOR YOUR DREAMS!"

Step 5 - Lighten them up and cheer them on:
Point to the globe on the ribbon and tell them…"Inside of this globe are cheerleaders, cheering you on for your dreams. I am one of them. To get the whole community jumping for your dreams, I'm going to put a "Spark" by placing my finger on the cheerleaders and saying BING! (You both ought to get a laugh out of doing this, which helps people to lighten up and know that positive change can be fun).

Step 6 - Connect heart-to-heart:
Hug, shake hands, smile or do whatever comes naturally to you and the other person.

Step 7 - Give them a chance to be a Spark for others:
Present two extra Blue Ribbons and two copies of the Who I Am Makes A Difference® Story so that others will have the opportunity to become Difference Maker "Sparks" and make a positive difference in the world.

Step 8 - Always acknowledge the best in yourself and others:
In the spirit of the Blue Ribbon…always display your ribbon on your computer, wall, mirror, visor or wherever you can see it to remind you to think good thoughts about yourself and others as often as your can.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Roseanne's got a va-what?

I was browsing the fresh news over at The Superficial and came across a bit of information that should have never been allowed to be made available in any way shape or form for the public (or the private for that matter). Unfortunately it's sort like one of those "train wreck" things.. you know you should look away.. no really just look away.. but you can't. Being the sweet, kind, considerate gal that I am I thought I'd share.
Just a warning. I think I threw up in my mouth a little while watching ...


Roseanne Barr stopped by The Late Late Show to chat with Craig Ferguson. She brought up her single status and (Brace yourself) vaginal rejuvenation surgery. She now claims to have a "va-junior." Ha ha *HORF* Fortunately, no one was hurt because, as usual, only five people watched Craig Ferguson and six of them were drunk. But I felt like sharing the footage with you because, well, I really love you guys. I don't say it enough lately, so hopefully this let's you know how I truly feel. Without further ado I present for your viewing pleasure: Roseanne Barr talking about her noonerhole. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Show Chickens.... in a box

I know I said I was taking it easy today, but I just saw something that wouldn't wait to be blogged about.

I went to the post office to mail some stuff for work and as I'm walking across the parking lot I see a lady with her two little boys carrying some funny looking boxes. The side of the box said.....

Before I say anything else I have to point out a few very important details.
  • I live in Alabama.
  • It's about 70 degrees today.
  • That's just a little on the warm side.

That last fact jumps a little ahead but it's still really important to this here story. Please excuse the southern dialect slipping in there.. them dang show chickens done got me all countrified. (Proper enunciation and grammar usage will promptly return upon publication of this post!)

So.. I look at the box, the the lady, then the box again and I just can't control curiosity so I ask. "You can really mail live birds?" To which she replies, looking a bit uncomfortable, "Yea". That's it, just yea. Well I'm nothing if not inquisitive so my questioning continues.

Me: "It's really hot here, they don't molt or die being mailed?"

Lady: "No, we ship them over-night so they'll arrive by noon tomorrow"

Me: "So like is there a little perch or something in there for them to sit on?"

Lady: looking really embarrassed "This is so embarrassing. They're chickens"

Me: blank stare, raised eyebrow "Chickens?"

Lady: "Yea"

Me: totally aware she's mortified at having boxed chickens at the post office, but too intrigued to be kind enough to let her suffer in silence. "Do you guys live on a farm or something?"

Lady: "Uh well no. My husband raises chickens to show"

Me: looks at the box again, then back to the lady "I'm sorry did you say show? Show chickens? Like Show Dogs?"

Lady: "Yea, it's my husband's thing, but he works so he can't ship them. God this is so embarrasing"

I'm starting to be really amused by this whole shipping show chickens thing and am doing my best not to laugh. I know the poor lady is just mortified, but I'm genuinely interested so of course I keep asking questions.

Me: "So like, um what qualifications do uhh judges look for in... (I have a hard time getting the words out with out laughing, but I succeed) show chickens? Is it beek color, wing span..?"

Lady: looking like she wishes a whole would spring open and she'd fall through it, or possibly wishing it would swallow me "They judge on beek color, wing color.. it depends on the breed and sex"

Me: "I have officially landed in the south"

Lady: "Where are you from"

Me: "I moved to Alabama from Michigan, but I grew up in Mississippi and never heard of (the words keep getting caught in me throat) show chickens"

Lady: laughs - sort of

Me: "I'm so going to have to blog about this"

Lady: looks at me like I've just sprouted a second head and 8 sets of eyes

Me: "It's ok.. I've only had about 1,400 hits since January"

Lady: "OMG I'm going to KILL my husband, this is the last time I'm doing this!"

Me: "So I guess since you raise them to show you probably don't eat them huh"

Lady: "Oh No!"

Me: "My mom used to tell us stories about growing up on the farm, cutting chickens heads off and watching them run around neck flapping"

Lady: looks mortified

As I mentioned at the beginning she has 2 boys with her. I'd guess them to be around 3 and 5 or 5 yrs old. Adorable little guys with light brown hair and huge dark brown eyes. Very friendly.

Son #1: I have some for pets

Lady: "Oh my Lord don't tell her that! Just don't say anything."

She's being a really good sport about the whole thing. By now people in line, and there was a longgggg line, are picking up bits and pieces of the conversation and are starting to eye the boxes on the ground that her sons keep sliding forward as the line moves.

Me: "You're lucky I didn't bring my phone in with me or I'd just have to take a picture of this!"

Somewhere in the conversation she mentions that it will cost about $50 to ship each chicken and that people pay two, sometimes three times that amount to buy a good show chicken, so I start thinking - hey I can help her husband and promote the word on my blog! Who knows, one of my readers just might be a chicken show'er looking for a good hen. So I ask her if her husband has a company name for his chicken business.

Me: "So does your husband have a company name for his show chicken business?"

Lady: "No, not really, just Halls Family I guess. Well not the whole Halls Family"

Me: laughing "Halls Family minus the mom & two kids?"

Lady: "Oh no, the oldest one here loves it"

The line is finally starting to move and she starts looking for the forms she'll need to fill out in order to ship her chickens. Her husband's chickens I mean.

Eager to hear more about this show chicken business I offer to keep an eye on the kids so she can go over to the counter and work on the forms. She says thanks, tells the boys to stay in line and behave then moves a few feet over to the forms counter.

In my conversation with the oldest Halls boy I found out that he has 3 pet chickens. Their names are Sweetie, Rocky and Rosie. I ask how he can tell if they are boys or girls so he knows how to name them. He tells me you can tell by the thing on their head.

I find out that although he gets to watch when his dad feeds the chickens, he's not actually allowed to help. He also tells me that he got bit or I guess that would be pecked, once on the leg. He was trying to steal the chicken's egg.

Sadly it was soon my turn in line and I had no reason to hang around and ask more questions so I said by to the lady and her sweet boys.. and the chickens.

Suprisingly there seem to be many things judges look for when judging show chickens. You can click here for a website that shows some of them. It's pretty interesting reading.

It's 5pm so I'm going to wrap this up.

Good night and BaKawk!!

Children say the darndest things!!

I've feeling a bit under the weather today so I'm taking the easy way out and instead of blogging about some enthralling event that's happened in my life lately (because my days are just sooo exciting) I'm posting some "in the eyes of a child" humor for your reading enjoyment!



I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening, when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old shout from the back seat, “Mom! That lady isn’t wearing a seat belt!



My son Zachary, 4, came screaming out of the bathroom to tell me he’d dropped his toothbrush in the toilet. So, I fished it out and threw it in the garbage. Zachary stood there thinking for a moment, then ran to my bathroom and came out with my toothbrush. He held it up and said with a charming little smile, “We better throw this one out too then, ’cause it fell in the toilet a few days ago.



On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a Note from his mother. The note read, “The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents.”



A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup to come out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang, so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. “It’s the minister, Mommy,” the child said to her mother. Then, she added, “Mommy can’t come to the phone to talk to you right now. She’s hitting the bottle.”



A little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself in the women’s locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement, and then asked, “Haven’t you ever seen a little boy before?”



While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4- year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. The various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs, unfailingly intrigued her. One day, I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, “The tooth fairy will never believe this!”



A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party. When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, “Daddy, you shouldn’t wear that suit.” “And why not, darling?” “You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning..”



While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased. The minister’s son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his Father always said: “Glory be unto the Faaaather, and unto the Sonnn and into the hole he gooooes.”



A little girl had just finished her first week of school. “I’m just wasting my time,” she said to her mother. “I can’t read, I can’t write and they won’t let me talk!”



A little boy opened the big family bible. He was fascinated, as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. “Mama, look what I found”, the boy called out. ” What have you got there, dear?” With astonishment in the young boy’s voice, he answered, “I think it’s Adam’s underwear!”

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ooh Ohh Pick Me! Pick Me!!

Yes! I want to be the guinea pig pin cushion for the phlebotomist in training!!

(warning - if you have an aversion to needles, ie they make you queasy this post may not be for you)

Having once been a phlebotomist I know what the word means. Don't feel bad if you don't. I've found that the majority of people I've come in contact with have no idea what a phlebotomist is or does, so I'll explain.

Have you ever been to the doctor's office or hospital and had to have blood drawn? The gal or guy who stabs you with a needle and drains your blood into tiny glass tubes. They're phlebotomists. *Pholebotomy is the act or practice of opening a vein by incision or puncture to remove blood. *Thank you for that enthralling definition!

Back in 2000 I worked at a plasma center in Mississippi. I was a phlebotomist. I stuck people with needles the size of coffee stirrers all day. I was pretty damn good at it too and I met a ton of interesting people and made some pretty good friends. The center I worked at was centrally located between both a Naval and Air Force base, so the majority of our clientel were young military guys.

They'd come in and donate for some quick and easy weekend beer money. Unlike donating blood, you get paid to donate plasma. There are a few other differences (like the size of the needle) but that's the one that results in pulling in most of the donors.

Before I tell you about my latest adventure as the recipient of some rather questionable phlebotomy skills, I'd like to take a moment to talk to you about plasma donation. Think of it as a bit of background info that will make my story more uhh interesting. Ok maybe interesting is the wrong word, but if you have no idea what phlebotomy or plasma is then my story might not make a lot of sense. Well except for the picture part. There will be pictures. Beautiful multi-colored pictures. Woohoo.

Instead of trying to strain my brain and come up with an educated articulate way to describe what plasma donation is and why it's important (it's Friday, my brain is officially on vacation) I'm plagiarizing copying info from a plasma center website. Oh hush.. I'll give them credit!

*What is Plasma?

Your body contains approximately 12 pints of whole blood.

Plasma is the pale yellow liquid portion of your blood that can be easily replaced by the body. It consists mainly of water and proteins, which help your body control bleeding and infection.

The plasma functions as an aid in the circulation of red and white blood cells and platelets. It also makes possible natural chemical communication among different parts of the body by carrying minerals, hormones, vitamins, and antibodies.

*How is Plasma used? (or why you should donate!)

Plasma is used in the treatment of serious disorders such as hemophilia and immune system deficiencies, and to make products used to help treat and prevent diseases like tetanus, rabies, measles, rubella and hepatitis B.

For example, those who suffer from certain forms of hemophilia lack or are deficient in the natural clotting factors that help stop bleeding after sustaining acute or other injuries. Plasma-based products are used to treat people with this disorder so that they may lead normal, active lives.

In addition, hospitals and emergency rooms all over the world use plasma-derived albumin in the treatment of traumatic injuries such as shock and severe burns.

It is important to remember that plasma is not a substance that can be produced in a laboratory or some other artificial environment. It can only be obtained from healthy adults. When you donate plasma, you are helping save lives.

*How often can I donate plasma?

The body replaces the plasma removed during the donation process quickly; therefore, healthy individuals can donate as often as twice in a seven-day period, with at least 48 hours between donations.

**The above information is courtesy of Biolife Plasma Services website

Here's a little video I found that offers a very simple but effective explanation of the plasma donation process. The length of time it takes to donate varies on the center, the donor and a few other factors, but usually only the first visit (which includes a basic physical and health screening) takes between two to three hours. After than you can expect subsequent donations to take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. that we've covered what a phlebotomist does, what plasma is, and why you should donate, on to my story!!

When I worked at the plasma center we were encouraged to donate at least once a month. I'm guessing it was so we could have first hand knowledge of the experience and would be able to better relate to the donors. I've continued to donate throughout the years, although not as often.

This past Tuesday I decided to donate. Having worked in the plasma industry I have a very good understanding and respect for how important it is for people to donate, but I'll be honest with you, every once in a while (as in the case of my most recent donation) I'll do it because I'm in a pinch and need a few bucks to tide me over till payday. Let's do the math. Donating takes about 45 minutes. The time differs from person to person. Depending on the center, you receive anywhere from $20 to $35 per donation. That's a minimum twenty bucks in less than an hour, AND I'm saving a life in the process. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

So Tuesday after work I head to the local Plasma Donation Center. I sign in, get my pre-screening done and head back to the donation area. Every visit you get weighed, your blood pressure and temp taken, and finger stuck. Your blood has to have a certain protein and hematocrit (red blood cell) level for you to donate. People who are anemic or iron deficient are usually unable to donate.

The donation area looks somewhat like this-

Every center varies but for the most part it's rows of semi-reclining beds in a room. The centers usually have televisions mounted around the room. Some centers will play movies while others show local progamming.

So I'm lying on my bed, my autopheresis machine is hooked up and I'm waiting for whoever gets the honor of stabbing me with a 17g needle to come over. Other than the money one of the significant differences (well it's significant to me!) between donating blood and donating plasma is the size of the needle. Blood donations use a 19 or 20 guage needle. Plasma uses 16 or 17 guage. With needles the smaller the number, the bigger the needle. Here's a picture so you can get an idea.

Donating blood would get you stuck with probably the orange or purple needle. Plasma.. closer to the black or turquoise one. I'm not going to lie. It's a big needle, but honestly the finger stick usually hurts worse than the actual donation process.


This was not the case on Tuesday. While I'm waiting a lady comes over, says hi, checks my chart then calls another girl over to my bed. "I want you to stick this one", she says. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes for a second then tried to prepare myself. In a plasma center during your training you have to have 50 supervised sticks before you're put on the donor floor by yourself. This means you get to practice sticking 50 people with someone watching you to make sure you don't totally SUCK at it.

I could barely contain my excitement! In case you didn't figure it out, that last statement was made with a rediculously large amount of sarcasm.

Veins are coded in 3 ways. Red, Yellow and Green. Green is a good healthy vein that a blind person with twitchy hands could stick. Yellow are smaller veins or veins that have a weird angle or tend to roll. Red is.. well you get the idea. I have green veins. Very healthy, easy to feel, I could hit that sucker with an dart from across the room veins.

Yea.. well.

Although I don't donate often I've built up a bit of scar tissue on my right arm from 8 years of periodic donating so I decided to go with my left. Still a good vein, it dips a bit, but shouldn't be any problem for her to stick. Shouldn't be..

She gets ready, I make a tight fist and... she infiltrated it. Infiltrating a vein is when the needle goes in through one side and out through the other. She basically stuck the needs through my vein instead of in it. I'm not sure if everyone can tell what it feels like or I know because sticking people used to be my job, but when the needle goes through the vein or is lying at a bad angle against the vein wall it feels different than if it's in right. In right isn't exactly comfortable but it doesn't really hurt. Through or against... hurts.

So after a few minutes of the machine beeping at me because it can't get the blood to come out the way it's supposed to, (That tends to happen when the needle is outside of the vein!) another lady comes over and tells me I'll need a restick. In 8, I repeat EIGHT years of donating plasma and blood I've never had to get stuck twice. They take the needle out, slap a bandaid on the venipuncture site and prep the other arm. The chic that stuck my right arm has been a phlebotomist for a while, I'm not sure how long but the first time I went to that particular center was close to 6 months ago and she was there then. So, logic would say she'd have no problem. Whatever.

She didn't go through the vein in my other arm but she sure as heck didn't have the needle positioned right. After about an hour of more machine beeping and holding my arm at a highly unnatural angle to try and ease some of the pressure of the needle pressing against my vein I tell her I'm done. The muscle in my right arm had started to knot up and it was all I could do not to bend my arm with the needle still in it. Oh ya, in blood, they usually use the needle for the stick then replace that with a catheter or little plastic sheeth for the actual donation process. With plasma they leave the needle in the entire time. Since they are pulling out whole blood then returning the red cells through the same vein the hole in the vein has to stay open big enough that it doesn't clot when the red blood cells are returned.

She finally came over and unhooked me and bandaided me up. I had to have her physically bend my right arm for me because the muscle had knotted up so bad I couldn't do it myself. If you've ever broken your arm and had to wear a cast that covered your elbow, it felt kind of like it did when you finally got your cast off and tried to bend your arm. Stiff and painful.

The next day I looked like this

Three days later it only looks worse. I told my boss yesterday that I hoped no one looked too closely at me while I was at the gym. I look like a freaking junkie. I'm meeting some friends tonight for a few games of pool and I will most definitely be wearing a long sleeve shirt.

Thankfully I don't donate that often so I won't be back at the mercy of phlebotomists in training any time soon. I do want to say though not to let my story discourage you from donating. What happened to me is a rare event and is more often the exception than the rule.

Donating plasma does truly save lives and is most definitely a worthy thing to do. Look in your local yellow pages or online to find a center near you!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

God.. the strong silent type

Last night I was sitting on the couch reading a book when I heard a knock on the door. It was around 8:30pm and I wasn't expecting any visitors. I set my book down, went to the door and looked through the peep hole.

There was a middle aged looking white woman and a slightly younger looking black man. Hmm I was pretty sure they weren't from my apartment building. I opened the door and the guy stepped forward to introduce both himself and the woman and then began to tell me about a Bible study class they were having on Thursday nights. They had a little postcard sized flyer with a map of where the meetings were and info about their church. It just said Church of Christ so I'm not sure if that was the actual name of the church or just the type of denomination.

I grew up southern Baptist then un-converted when I was 25. I say un-converted because I've come to believe that "religion" and "denominations" are one of the main problems with Christianity and "the church" today. If every denomination reads the same book and alleges that their goal is to live Christ-like then how come they all have different beliefs and messages? I'll get more into what I think about that in a minute.

Not being very familiar with what particular denominations stand for I asked if their church was a charismatic church. Meaning Spirit Filled. The guy goes "No, we're a Christian church". I'm sorry huh? I told him that charismatic churches WERE Christian churches. They were just Christian churches that celebrated the presence of the Spirit of God, sometimes worshipping with raised hands and the evidence of tongues. Now I know there are many many people who believe that church should be a very staid, serious organized event.

Welcome, sing welcoming hymn, announcements, sing offering hymn, take offering, sing hymn, pray, message, alter call, closing hymn, go home.

I grew up in that kind of church and unless it's because someone I care about invites me and I go out of respect to them and their type of honoring God you will never ever find me in one of those type of churches again. I'll explain more about that in a minute as well. But back to my late night visitors.

So I tell the guy that I go to a non-denominational charismatic church. They ask the name of it and Lord forgive me I went completely blank. I've been going to this church for a good 6 months and if knowing the name to it at that particular moment was the only thing stopping me from being hit by lightning, I'd have been fried. Well I'm sure this made me look like I was just full of it and didn't go to any church at all. I mean seriously, who doesn't know the name of the church they go to? Apparently at that particular moment in time.. me. I knew I had an e-mail from my pastor's wife in my yahoo mail so I asked them to come in for a moment. I'd been standing with the door open talking to them out in the entry way of my building. I didn't want my cat to get out while I went to my room so they came in and I shut the door and ran to my room to find out what church I went to. Mount Hebron Christian Ministries. Yay e-mail! They'd heard of the church, the guy said he worked near by and heard they were getting ready to start on a new building.

So he starts talking about how people look for answers from everywhere but the Bible and how their Bible study was about showing people how to get back to what being a Christian really meant. I read the Bible. I've read it completely through on more than one occasion. I don't profess to know everything in it, I've never been one for memorizing verses but I do have a pretty good general recollection of what it says and feel somewhat comfortable enough in my knowledge to be able to question someone else's interpretation of scripture or explain my own.

He says he's going to show me some examples of how Christianity today has strayed from the direction and teachings of God and asks me if I've ever seen children be baptized. I grew up in a Baptist church, of course I have. I was baptized myself when I was 13. I'm pretty sure that's still considered a child. Then he asks if I can remember anywhere in the Bible where it talks about children being baptized. I said off the top of my head no, I couldn't recall any. He said that's because God didn't intend for them to be. God says only for adults to be baptized. I just look at him, raise my eyebrow and wait for him continue.

He goes on to tell me that children have no knowledge of what it means to serve God. That they are not emotionally or mentally mature enough to understand what it means to be a Christian and that while they may have some general understanding of right and wrong they simply are not capable of being able to fully comprehend what it means to sin and repent of that sin. He says that they, children, are unable to give their lives fully to Christ and resist the things of the world as Christians are supposed to do.

It was at this point that I raised my hand and said "I'm sorry but I'm going to have to disagree with you here." I explained, "I was saved and baptized at the age of 13 and knew very well what I was doing and what it meant." I went on to explain that my belief, understanding and relationship with God had kept me from most everything my peers had participated in. I'd never drank underage, I'd never smoked even one cigarette, I'd never tried any drug of any kind and I'd not been promiscuous and had in fact abstained from any type of intimacy until a much later age. (24) "So", I said, "I'm living proof that what you just said is not true". In some cases sure, children may not understand what it means, but I've seen entirely too many teens and children even younger accept Christ and from that moment on live their lives accordingly. I've in fact seen some children so in love with and on fire for God that they preferred going to church and worshipping over most anything else.

Brick wall. He acted like I'd not even spoken and continued on about how children weren't meant to be baptized and if I went to the Bible it says so very clearly. So I ask him, does God not say that the children are the future and that to enter heaven we are to become like them? Does the Bible not in fact say in two different places, Mark 10:15 and Luke 18:17, "I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” But you're telling me that children don't know what it means to believe in God and have faith??

I told him that this very example was the reason I left a "denomination" and chose to instead follow Christ as simply a Christian. Not a Baptist or a Methodist, or a Lutheran, or whatever. Denominations, all calling themselves "Christians" take bits and pieces of the Bible and preach the parts that fit with what makes themselves feel comfortable, conveniently skipping over those that don't and dare to tell others that they are right, that they are the chosen and that those who don't follow, pray, believe, dress, worship the way they do will go to hell.

I took the issue of homosexuality as my point. I am completely against any kind of labeling. I appreciate beauty, male or female. I believe you love a person for their heart and soul, not their eye color, height, gender, religion, sexual preference, etc. By society and the world's definition, that makes me "bisexual". By most Christian's definition, that makes me an abomination and doomed to hell. Now I didn't tell them my personal preference, I just picked this particular topic to make my point. One of the church's favorite verses for condemning homosexuals is Leviticus 18:22 "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

When I mentioned this verse you could just see their expressions light up. Like they were thinking oh yes.. we love that verse. "So you'd agree with that verse?" I ask. They both nodded their heads in agreement. Here comes the part I love. "Ok, well Leviticus 20:9 says 'If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head.'" They look at me like they're not quite sure where I'm going with this. "Are you going to kill your child when they talk back?". No answer.

I asked him if he believed that God was the same yesterday, today, and forever, never changing. He agreed that he did. The woman nodded her head too. I said so... If God never changes, then the things of the Old Testament are still valid today right? We should still stone people, sacrifice animals, have slaves and heck.. some Godly men in the Bible even had multiple wives! I mean God even ok'd incest. After the flood Noah and his family were the only humans left. They, per God's instructions, were responsible for repopulating the earth. Don't tell me you don't believe some cousins had to be hooking up for that to happen. Maybe even some brothers and sisters! But today incest is absolutely wrong. No one would disagree with that. So that means something had to change right? Was it God or was it man. Or rather man's interpretation of the Bible as it was written, translated, rewritten, reinterpreted, etc and so on.

This is where most Christians who use the Bible to bash get caught. These two were no exception. "Well that's why Christ came" the guy said. "What did people do about sin before Jesus?" he asked. "Nothing, they did nothing.". "Well" I replied, "Actually yes they did, per God's instructions they sacrificed animals at the altar as repentance." So he tries to tell me that this is where God changes. But didn't you just say that you agree that God never changes? He tries to explain that God didn't change, He just changed His laws. Ya because that's so different.

This goes on for about fifteen minutes, with me pointing out places where the Bible contradicts itself and Christians contradicting the Bible and him valiantly trying to show me where I was wrong, but failing miserably. In some ways I felt sorry for them. I have a very very firm hold on my faith. I believe in God, I have a very close personal relationship with Him. We chat on a pretty regular basis. Granted it's not always been that way, I mean I've always believed, but there have been times in my life, when things weren't so great that I questioned His position in my life. But even through the times when I didn't talk to God or go to church, I never stopped believing. My belief has however evolved and changed as I've grown and opened my heart and mind to a more full and complete relationship with Him. Things I once believed simply because it was what I was taught in church, I've learned to question and take my own steps to read, study and go to God to find out the truth about.

I'm not quite sure how the final part of the conversation came about, but I was telling them again that the things he was trying to tell me were part of the reason I un-converted and came to go to a non-denominational church. I was telling him that I loved the Lord and had a very close and personal relationship with Him. What I said next was something that he apparently was not prepared to hear or counter with some ready made script. "God and I talk daily." I said. He looked at me and said the saddest thing I've ever heard. "God doesn't talk to us like that anymore, not directly."

He then apologized for taking up so much of my time, said it was nice to meet me and they left. They didn't mention the Bible study as they were leaving and didn't follow up with a "we hope to see you there."

I grew up believing the very same thing he said. I believed that you really had to pray "to Jesus" and that "through" Jesus God would hear your prayers and maybe answer them. I thank God daily for showing me the truth. Jesus was sent not to "save us" from sin and an eternity in hell. He was sent to save us from a life without God. He lived in a way that showed us that we too can have a close personal relationship with God. Jesus told the disciples that after He left, they would do all that He'd done and even greater things. Yet we act like we're bound, gagged and unable to so much as lift a finger unless our pastor or priest or whoever says it's ok. God isn't some angry vengeful being who's going to smite us for slipping up. He's not so "above us" that we're not worthy to talk with Him.

I mean think about it. The Bible, which every "Christian" church in America uses as it's foundation for teaching says we were created in His likeness and image. He created us to be LIKE HIM. Not servants, not beggars, not lowly sinners who might get lucky enough to one day glimpse His face if we do everything just perfectly like some Sunday school class teaches us. He's God for crying out loud. He created the heaven and earth and everything above, below and between. Do you really think there's anything He needs from us, anything we could do to anger, or hurt him? Do you really believe that the Creator, all powerful, all knowing, perfection itself was so angry at man that rather than just "fixing" how we were "messed up" that He said ah screw it, this batch turned out rotten, I'll just wipe them out and start over? Then left it up to a man (Noah), his wife and their 3 sons & their wives to repopulate earth?

If people would just think, really think about some of the things they thought they believed I don't doubt for a second that at least a few of them would begin to question what they'd been taught. I think God wants us to question what the church is teaching us. I believe he wants us to read the Word on our own, pray, talk to Him and let Him show us our own truths. What is true for one person isn't necessarily true for another.

Now don't misinterpret this to think I'm saying the Bible isn't real. I believe the Bible is, to quote a really smart guy I once was friends with, "perfectly imperfect". I believe that it is Inspired by God, but not Written by God. The Bible was written BY man, interpreted BY man, translated BY man and as such is susceptible to the flaws of man. I mean if you do your research you'll learn that a council of people came together to decide which books they thought should be included in the Bible. So that in itself shows us that there are parts missing and that the parts that are included are a part of the Bible because a group of people "thought" they should be.

I guess the main point I'm trying to make is that while I'm all for "blind faith", I think we need to make sure we're having that faith in the right thing. God, rather than "the church" and I think we need to be more open to questioning things and researching and searching for God's truth for us rather than just buying what a pastor or priest tell us. Teachers aren't always right. Most importantly I believe with all my heart and soul that there are too many people out there searching for God who aren't finding Him because all their lives they've been told that He's inaccessible and that my dear friends is a flat out lie. God speaks to us all, directly. We just have to choose to open our hearts and ears and listen. :-)