Rich for a Thousand Years

I was working on my budget today. Numbers are a hard reality that can be rather pessimistic. I don’t have the financial strength I would like. So Asaph, I get Psalms 73. It is so easy to look at the nice houses and nice cars then become envious. Contentment isn’t maintained by peaceful thinking but by a war of perspective.

I took a walk and prayed about it. On the walk, I smelled honeysuckles. Those flowers have history in my family. My grandma used to have neighbors that had a window box full of them. The smell drove my mind back to family vacations at her house and the joys of childhood. I stood smelling the honeysuckles and thought that I might not own the nice house but no one could take away that wonderful smell.

Often, we focus on the troubles of our current situation. But we ignore the joys that God has provided for us today. We would do very well to stop, remember the goodness of God, and smell the honeysuckles.

I have never been rich. But God has never failed to provide for me. More amazingly, God has kept me out of debt. There are so many things that God has blessed me with. I have a job I love, a family that loves me, and so many friends that care about me through my church, school, and family. So not counting money, which is such a fickle thing anyway, I guess I am rich.

The world is a scary place. Troubles, violence, and disasters are in the news daily. But that’s not our destiny; and, even if the world should fall into chaos now, God will win in the end. The promises of scripture tell us that God’s Son will return. Jesus will rule and reign on this earth with complete justice. So, in spite of the problems of today, the problems of the world, or any other problems, I can be happy because God promised the Christian that they will rule and reign with Him. For a thousand years, I will be able to enjoy paradise that Jesus’ rule will create.

You know, I can wait. God will provide for me now. Jesus is going to bring a paradise later. By keeping all this in my mind, I can be content with what I have.  I am going to agree with Asaph. “God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” And “I have put my trust in the Lord GOD.”

Follow the Recipe: Dangers in trusting yourself.

I love spices. Years ago, I experimented around with spices and created a pizza sauce based loosely on my grandma’s rich spaghetti sauce. I don’t make it often. Each year, before the last performance of our school play, I make the cast and crew pizzas using this rather intense pizza sauce. Many students have told me they like it and the director has told me it’s almost too spicy.

But a very weird thing happened this year, I got a head cold or allergies or something. I’m not a doctor, but I know I have not been that congested in a long time. So, I pull open the drawer and use the recipe to make the sauce. I let it simmer a bit and then I taste it. To my horror, it tasted horrible—barely different from straight tomato sauce. What am I going to do?

I’ll be honest. It didn’t occur to me right away that I might be the problem and half of a tablespoon of Italian spices went in before I thought it through. But then it occurred to me, I knew I followed the recipe. I had carefully put in all the parts and it should have worked. Then I remembered the fact that I had so little ability to smell.

I tested it by eating straight garlic powder. Nothing, well, not much anyway. I was obviously impaired. I could trust one of two things but not both. I could trust my own senses or I could trust the recipe.

I’d like to say that it was an easy choice. But it wasn’t. I obviously knew that I couldn’t trust my own senses, but I tasted it a couple more times anyway. Nothing-bland tomato sauce. But I could smell the spices; I knew I had followed that recipe. I was hesitant all the way up to when I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to make the pizzas.

The recipe was right.

Later, I received a compliment from my picky nephew. It was the best pizza he had ever had. His dad verified that he had eaten three slices. The lesson that I could learn from this was not lost on me.

The Bible clearly tells us that we can’t trust ourselves. Proverbs 3:5-7 tells to instead trust God, not our own mind or perception. In other words, our hearts and minds are fouled up, like my congested nose. I couldn’t taste the spices I put in my sauce; I also can’t trust my own mind and heart to come up with what is truly right. I have to trust the recipe for my sauce and for my life.

The Bible bursts with warnings against what I call the biggest lie of Hollywood— “Follow your heart.” If I had made my sauce spicy to my own senses it would have truly been inedible. If I follow my own heart, I will do what is wicked-what will hurt me and the people around me.

As odd as comparing pizza sauce to scripture is, God taught me that I have to trust Him and His Word even when it doesn’t make sense to my senses. After all, I am a sinner, my senses are messed up. However, the recipe is perfect.

Danger of Anger

This morning I heard loud noises outside my window. I glanced out my apartment window. A young man in his early twenties was yelling and swearing at the top of his lungs. Apparently, his car wouldn’t start.

He stormed into his house, kicking his picket gate in as he did so. This did not get the car to start. It didn’t turn over when he came out and chucked a piece of the gate across the parking lot. When he stormed over to the car and cussed it out, it didn’t start. It did not start when he kicked it and punched it multiple times, I can’t image that either felt good to his hands and feet. The car still didn’t start when he slammed the door. Then he popped the trunk and to prove his level of irritation he started beating the car with his skateboard. The car still wouldn’t start. It didn’t start when he stared into the engine compartment for twenty seconds or when he slammed the hood and then punched it again.

Odd, if you think about it. All of his hostility, profanity, and actions didn’t help the situation at all. Each action only destroyed something of his. The gate to his house, the car, the skateboard were all damaged as a useless sacrifice to the man’s anger. His own hands and feet were hurt too.

There was one other thing he probably hurt. You see this young man wasn’t alone. He had a friend with him. This friend wasn’t screaming, wasn’t angry, but I thought to myself that had I been that man’s friend, I would have left. I can’t imagine that the young man’s temper made him any better a friend or that by going through this it made their friendship any stronger.

The Bible tells us not to make friendships with angry people. I don’t have to imagine what would happen if this man was angry with a person instead of a car. Our world is full examples of people who have been beaten or even killed by people’s rage. Do you think a wife or kid would have fared as well as the car after being beaten? The car is still sitting there, not bothered at all for its many “wounds.” A person treated the same way would be in the hospital.

I may be being unfair. After all, the man surely knew the difference between a car and a person. He surely would never hurt a person, you might say. Unfortunately, I can’t count on anything of the kind. I don’t know this man but too many examples exist when people hurt others with their anger.

The young man’s friend was hurt. Not physically, but the Bible says not to be friends with angry people because what you learn from them will be a trap for you too. (Pro22:24-25) It also says that angry people cause trouble and are soaking in sin. (Pro 29:22) To act like that man did today proves a person is not a good friend, not a safe spouse, and not a wise man.

Just something I learned today.

Denominations of Donuts

What is the difference between a Baptist and a Methodist and a Bible church? How is a Lutheran different from a Catholic? When a group of Christians declares it is right to behave abominably to the world at large, how is the rest of Christianity to distance itself in the minds of the world?
This mission started when a friend of mine had to tell her co-worker that she wasn’t one of the “kind” of Baptists that harass military funerals. It is confusing those looking at Christianity from the outside that there are so many groups inside of it. On this great mission, we need a simple way to convey what it means to be Christian.
Thus consider the donut. There are many types of donuts. Crullers, yeast, cake, dunkers, filled, long johns, apple fritters are just some of the types, and everyone knows it. Add the different frostings, nuts, jellies, and other toppings and you’ll never be at the end of all the types of donuts. But you’ll never convince me that a muffin, bagel, or croissant is a donut.
What is a donut? Well, it’s a type of pastry that is made of dough fried in fat. If those requirements are the standard, then we can see easily what is and what is not a donut? Is an apple fritter a doughnut? Yep. A bagel is not. Donut-ianity is obvious.
Some donuts are nutty. Others are frosted. Some seem awfully plain. Some are wacky-covered in psychedelic colors. Some are meaty. Some are greasy. Some are light and airy. Some are soft and tender. Others are fried enough to be a bit crispy. But all donuts are donuts.
If a bagel came into the donut shop and told the donuts that it too was a donut, all the donuts would immediately point out the Non-donut-ness of the bagel. The bagel could argue that it’s the right shape and made of dough, but all the donuts would be perfectly right in saying the bagel was no more a donut than a piece of fried chicken.
By the same token, if all the cake donuts were to say that cake-iness was the sign of true donut-ness, the other donuts could rightly condemn such a ludicrous notion. But neither the cake donuts nor the glazed yeast donuts would be any more donuts than the other—although their attitude might just sour the whole batch.
Christianity is basically the same. The requirements for being a Christian are to believe that Christ Jesus is God, Savior, and Messiah as revealed in the Bible. That He died to save us from our sins and one must accept this divine pardon by faith. That’s Christianity; those that believe it are Christians.
It doesn’t matter if they are a little nutty, frosty, wacky, light, or crispy—they are a Christian if they truly believe that. And no matter how nice a person might be, if they don’t believe that they are no more a Christian than a donut. There are many donut imitators—things that are NOT donuts in the donut shops around the world. In the same way, many people will say they are a Christian, but they aren’t. They are a muffin or bagel trying to convince you that they are really a donut. If they don’t meet the Christian requirements, they might be a nice person, but they aren’t a Christian.
Now being a donut, one has certain goals (of satisfying hunger). Being too greasy, sweet, sour, salty, etc. will stop that goal. The donut that does that will be a poor donut that no one would like. In the same fashion being a Christian, one can reach their goal—being like Jesus Christ—or fail. Being rude, sentimental, wishy-washy, or sinful will stop that goal. Christians like that are being “poor” Christians. They need to stop that and be a better “donut.”

Artistic Responsiblity

This morning was Friday, July 20, 2012. I went shopping; I had a ten dollar gift card to use. As I walked into the store I saw the blue-ray of The Dark Knight-$9.99. I thought about it, but I had told myself I was going to be practical. I bought a large bottle of dish soap and a bag of rice. Much later, I found out what else happened this morning. While most people slept, the joy of a mid-night release of the new Batman movie was destroyed. A man in Colorado went into the theatre and started shooting. It was one of the worst shootings in history.
I haven’t seen the new Batman movie and don’t care to do so. I enjoyed The Dark Knight, but I didn’t enjoy what it taught about morality. The man who decided to embrace his evil nature and shoot those people this morning will face God in eternity and hopefully the death penalty in Colorado. But I do believe another villain is loose that must be addressed and as a writer I have the ability to do so.
People are affected by the stories they listen to. Dark Knight, along with many other movies, books, and songs, teaches a dangerous idea that must stop. Artists who teach that absolute morality doesn’t exist cannot expect people to leave that idea behind with the tubs of popcorn and the theatre’s sticky floors.
In Dark Knight, every single character has to violate what they knew was the standard of right and wrong. Starting with bank robbers to Batman, each person makes a conscious decision to do something that they knew was wrong. Joker plays Gotham City, the underworld, and Batman like a flute—suffering only a few punches, Joker’s life is saved at the last minute by Batman. In the end, Joker destroys Gotham’s peace and murders dozens, but he is left unpunished. He’s a problem that is supposed to be dealt with by a therapist.
One thing The Dark Knight did better than most was put a moral question before the public—unfortunately, it’s answer was plain wrong. Dark Knight taught that one should do what they think will serve the greater good, even if it happens to be wrong. People lie, violate others rights, even attempt and commit murder because it’s what is “best.” Do the writers believe that?
Wrong, sin, and evil are actual things. For us to discount them as myth is to dream up a fantasy far too outlandish and foolish for man’s evil nature to withstand. Mankind has proven time and time again that despite all our hopes to the contrary, man is evil through and through. A mental disease didn’t cause a man to shoot movie goers this morning, but you will hear many people say that. It’s called evil and sin. Calling it a sickness is akin to calling Agent Orange a variation on a cold. Mankind’s evil is a real fact that must be remembered.
As an artist, I can create a world. And what’s better, I can invite others into my dream world to play. We can have a wonderful time and I can help brighten their days. But while they are there, I have a moral responsibility to put certain ideas into my world and keep others out. To teach that morals are just conventions that can come and go at will is not only false but morally wrong. Why should I develop a dream world where the good guys differ from bad guys only in the amount of their reluctance to commit evil? How can I let men in my world choose evil and not suffer for it? Such things are not only an affront to God and His morality, but foolish. Men want excuses for their evil, if I make evil acceptable, misunderstood, or worse of all sophisticated and funny, I allow them to get those excuses. And history is full of the horrible answers to the question, “What has mankind done with excuses to commit evil?” Hitler, Stalin, David Koresh, Jim Jones prove time and time again, that we artists cannot expect nothing to happen when we give people excuses for evil.
Another instructive thing happened today, I watched the musical Gigi. In it, a rich Frenchman’s uncle teaches him the fine art of social life in the late 1800’s. With total resolve to being a “gentleman” he teaches his nephew to go from one worthless trivial affair to the next, using women like extravagant prostitutes that get paid off with expensive jewelry and luxurious apartments. Through the whole story, the young man is bored senseless unless he is with real people—not the fake society crowd. The story climaxes in the young man turning Gigi, a real person, into his charming phony mistress. In anger, he realizes the stupidity of it all and then marries her, turning his back on his uncle’s “gentlemanly” life.
The Dark Knight and Gigi have very little in common. A gritty special effects action adventure has little to do with a period musical. But artists should learn that like the uncle in Gigi, artists have the opportunity to introduce bored people to wonderful worlds. And like in Gigi, this world is fake; the society page is as much fiction as any of the D.C. comics. But this fake world affects what one thinks about the real world. The nephew frantically tried to apply his uncle’s advice to real life; he viciously dumps his mistress and then throws dozens of parties to prove he doesn’t care about her or her failed suicide attempt.
Are we artist, writers, and storytellers bad uncles?
Stories teach, whether we like it or not. If they teach immorality, should we be surprised if the students act immoral? If they teach violence, should student’s violence surprise us? And worst, if they teach that right and wrong do not matter should we be surprised that our world is becoming lawless? Our story telling is coming back to get us. We can no longer afford to have immoral heroes and heroines. If we continue with our imaginary gladiatorial games, teaching boys and girls that right and wrong are mythical and violating them has no consequences, what will we say to them when we are staring down the barrel of gun in the real world?

We who are about to die salute you-Hunger Games Movie Review

This is a review and criticism of the Movie “Hunger Games.” I have not yet read the Book Series.

As far as the movie technical side is concerned, I have two emphatic words for movie makers out there–STEADY CAM! I nearly lost my lunch with all the shaky camera work. I understand you can’t show the gore and thank you for trying to not show it, but hand cameras wasn’t the answer.

The Movie focuses on a future totalitarian government forcing each district to sacrifice a boy and girl to fight to the death in pageantry rich television show called the Hunger Games. The heroine and the “hero” (we’ll deal with that later) are mentored by a drunk previous survivor–His advice is play the game, get sponsors, and be smart. With his advice and backstage manipulation and wheeling dealing manages to get the director of the games to play for ratings–this allows both heroine and hero to band together and survive. In a last minute rules change, the heroine is forced to kill the hero. Instead she responds with calling the directors bluff–nearly committing suicide. The couple come home as “star-crossed lovers” having given a sick society a great dose of bloody violence and a warm fuzzy love story.

There are three fully capable human beings in this story. The heroine, the mentor, and president of this sick government. The heroine, who volunteered to take the place of her younger sister, is ready to fight, get friends, protect them, and do what is necessary to survive the games she hates. This “do whatever it takes” includes playing the lover to the hero–giving the sick society her love story as a means to root for and help her. The mentor, a drunk survivor of a previous years games, is also fully capable-as a wheeler dealer, he gets help dropped into the games and gets a crucial rule change thrown into the games–this motivates the heroine to join the hero. The president is also competent–understanding the purpose of the games, to distract and control the people. He has the director killed when he fails to the heroine’s bluff.

Everyone else is a shallow shell of a human being. The heroine’s mom is shell shocked over the violent death of her husband. The hero’s mom is abusive. The games ridiculously dressed sponsors are more concerned with the heroine’s manners than the fact that they are about to die. Even the kind stylist, in a moment of deep kindness, tells the heroine, “If I could, I’d bet on you.” The other players serve as victims; their deaths dramatically serve the same function as the gladiators, to entertain the masses and cause them to root for the survivor–the cruel ones die vicious deaths we are supposed to cheer for and the kind ones die tragic deaths we are supposed to cry for. The audience is never invited to think that it’s cheering kids killing each other–even the “Lord of the Flies” didn’t make that mistake.

The “hero” is the worst example of this. A pusilanimous baker’s son, he plays the wimpy man to emphasise the strong woman of the heroine. Personally I find this type overdone. He also, more insultingly, plays up the romance angle. He can’t survive himself so he depends on his strong “girlfriend.”

That being said, the movie was well done. The story was very engaging and I’m looking forward to reading the books. More importantly, I’m looking forward to engaging in some very heavy thinking. These stories lack the one thing that made the gladiatorial games illegal–a Christian understanding of the worth of every human.  

I have one thing that truly concerns me about the whole story in general though. While many people in the story hated the games, and hated the killing, and hated the government–no one actually even said it was wrong! No one in the story made a moral judgment. It was all what they liked or didn’t like. Murder, violence, cruelty, mistreatment of the poor, and totalitarian governments are not things that are icky like rats or mold; they are WRONG. And they aren’t wrong because I dislike them, they are wrong because God says they are wrong in the Bible. This was the moral failing of the story–while it said the games were bad, sick, messed up; No one ever got up and condemned them as wrong no matter what the consequences.

Koontz and Emergency Rooms

I think that authors of creepy books, like Dean Koontz, spend time in Emergency Rooms. Besides nearly being fiendish with torture devices designed to help you, the people are pretty weird too. Everyone in the emergency room is sick or injured–including the doctors, nurses, and staff–I mean that in the “You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps” kind of way.

When I was admitted to the Emergency room after my accident, I was strapped to a gurney and had a neck brace on–this meant I couldn’t go anywhere or look anywhere. That’s a weird feeling–they parked the gurney out of the way; leaving me to feel very much like a delivery of TP that someone would take care of later. From thereI went to a wheelchair–which was designed to only be movable by someone NOT in it. Again limiting my field of view to whatever happened to be infront of me and mobility to next to nothing.

Speaking of that wheelchair, it does have a flaw, by reaching behind oneself and disengaging the brake and reaching around oneself one can pull oneself along the furniture–a feat I marvelled at by some fellow scarfing ice on my second trip to the Emergency Room.  Did I mention how ODD people are in the Emergency Room?

Anyway, after having my blood pressure taken again and telling the story again–Remember in any bureaucracy everything is done in duplicate or triplicate–Or were they checking my cognitive skills in remembering the details of the accident? Hmmm. Sneaky doctors and nurses.  So anyway, my brother showed up and we had to make the call I dreaded–calling mom and telling her I had been in a car accident. I love my mom, but I hate thinking that I’m gonna worry her and a call that starts with “Well, I was in a car accident” would worry her. So we called dad.  Which was cheap of us I know, but  I’d just been in an accident–NOT a brave time of life.

After assuring both of my folks that they didn’t need to come down to the hospital, I waited. and waited..etc. This could be a boring blog, but that would be dull. So, ever notice that the emergency room is full of sick and injured people. I know, duh, right? It does make for interesting people watching.

After a bit, I was shown back to an examination room–more blood pressure and repeating my story. Did I mention I was in a neck brace. Imagine a piece of hard plastic that grinds against your chin and ears if you move your neck–or if you don’t. That’s a neck brace. I think my ears by this point must have been turning red. I got to lay on a bed, but in a neck brace that is almost worse. My brother and I have a good sense of humor. Which is nice–it really takes the edge off to have someone joke around with. Then finally, the doctor showed up.

Again with the blood pressure and repeating the story. Esh, Doctors, I’m sane, or at least no less sane than normal. At least I thought so, my brother said I was blabbering–maybe I should tell the story again.

Finally, I get a CT scan–Which means a cat scan–why they don’t call it a cat scan I don’t know. So, they run me through a giant plastic donut, and I watch as a the weird lights inside spin around my neck. Fun, fun.

This is when the story gets WAY too much like a Dean Koontz story. I get put in a recover section–which is half-a-dozen recliners not really separated by curtains. Two ladies and their husbands are in two of them. On the other side of me, is a Mexican fellow that has dozed off while hugging his work boot. So in this dimly lit corridor, the ladies and husbands are talking about how they swiped extra medical gowns for modesty, while the Mexican fellow is talking in his sleep about when he has to go work the next day. Add to this that the recliners adjust with all the subtlety of a ragging water buffalo. You put the feet up on those things and it will slam around with a tender sweetness that will likely put you in traction. All it needed to be straight out of a novel was some fellow who innocently drops a note and says something like, “The bugles are blooming in spring.”   

Eventually, for no reason I could see, I was moved back to an examining room, and after another wait, told I was fine. I got to take OFF that neck brace. And after an idle threat to burn it, I went to my brothers house and devoured a cheeseburger. Ahh, cheeseburgers.

I had to go back to the emergency room later though. A weird nerve spasm caused my right arm, cheek, teeth, and tongue to be numb and tingly. (Did you know that your tongue as a right and left nerve side?) Have that happen randomly in your day and you’ll wonder what is going on in your body. After another wait in the waiting room, where I saw the determined ice muncher move the impossible to move wheelchair. I was back in through the half-dozen blood pressure checks and was about to check out.

A fellow was there eating graham crackers. He looked awful–but that’s normal–you don’t go to the emergency room when your feeling fine. He looked early twenties with a hood on. Then he started throwing chunks of graham cracker around. -Ah, just when you think it’s sane to go back to the waiting room. His mom was there, thankfully, and she told him to stop it. Then while she’s cleaning up, the Cracker chucker gets up and leans over to tell me some sort of secret. Cue the creepy music! Of course, if this was a novel, the message would be something like, “It’s in the water.” I don’t know. I held him back far enough that he didn’t get a chance to spew cracker crumbs in my ear.

God has a sense of humor. Look at all the interesting people that He made. You can check ’em out at the zoo, Wal-mart, or, if you sick or injured, the emergency room.

The Day I Tipped a Suburban Over

This Christmas break, I will be honest, has not been a productive one. It wasn’t bad or anything, it’s just that, if I am honest with myself, I don’t think I used my time wisely. Yesterday, I had a dentist appointment at 3:30. So around about three I grabbed Charlie Chan in London and my brother’s Library book that I was going to return on the way, got in the car and headed to the appointment.

We plan a lot without really running it by God. I know I do. (Before you get all super spiritual at me, when was the last time you prayed about when to schedule your bi-annual dental cleaning.) I headed off for the dentist–minding my own business. I got into an interruption. Life is full of interruptions–As my brother is fond of saying, life is messy and that’s okay.–Well anyway, the interruption, by no choice of my own, was a red suburban. As I was traveling through the intersection, this red suburban pulled left out in front of me.

I don’t think life slows down in an emergency; not really anyway. I slammed on my brakes, but I knew it was too little too late. My mind let me know I was going to be in a traffic accident, and I believe my emotional response was something like “Oh, bummer.” My car, which I have always loathed, colidded with the red suburban, faithfully deploying the drivers and passengers airbags–which I now heartily endorse.

Airbags in real life are nothing like what you see on TV. It happened so fast, I cannot tell what it feels like to hit one. I just know I was driving, then this white pillow was in my way–it felt like being restrained by a seatbelt, which was thankfully doing it’s job too.  My car must have been just low enough to tip the suburban over on its side.–Turning this simple t-bone accident into a roll-over. (On behalf of my low-profile vehicle, I apologize to those of you in high profile vehicles–they tend to get tipped over.)

Another effect of the airbags deploying was that the Charlie Chan DVD and the library book were slammed into the passenger seat–this caused the library book to destroy the DVD–which is completely unimportant, but since I grabbed that Netflix DVD out of the car with the keys–it is good story telling to tell you that that broken DVD was with me through the rest of this story–the library book, riddled with guilt at having assassinated another form of entertainment, was hiding in the car and won’t be included in this account any more.

I doubt you care, and I certainly hope you never have to experience it, but Air bag gas is disgusting smelling. The car was now at a complete stop–it won’t be going anywhere under its own power again, and the cabin was filled with smoky disgusting gas. I remembered a commercial about what to do in an accident–turn off the car! So I did, and then not feeling any pain got out. Another fact slammed into my brain–if you’ve been in an accident, you could be in shock–so sit down! I never thought those public saftey commercials were any good–I now fully disagree.  So I sat down, next to the driver’s rear wheel and waited. I now knew I would NOT be making my dental appointment.

Response time is an important thing for the those in emergency situations–well, my accidents response time was less than a minute–A police crusier was going through the intersection at the same time and a fire truck was two cars back waiting for the red light. I never suggest accidents but if one must have them, right infront of the police and fire-department is a good place to have one.

They checked me out and the driver of the suburban I tipped over. I don’t know how she is. but apparently she was talking when they took her away in the ambulance–they also suggested I go to the hospital in an ambulance too. (I certainly wasn’t going to get there in my car.) I consented to go, the only thing that hurt was the tip of my nose, and the insides of both of my arms which got a little scraped by the airbag. But I could feel the huge jolt of adrenaline going through my body, and I firmly believe on erring on the side of caution.
The trip was uneventful, although I was tempted to wave at the people in the cars behind us. I’ll make two observations about ambulances–one, the gurneys are very narrow, not made for those of us that have as the paramedic said, “sucessful American syndrome” Two, God is good. As I was going I made the observation that maybe the accident was from God trying to get my attention. “That seems a little harsh,” the paramedic said. (his name is Randy–If you read this, thanks for everything Randy) I thought about it and said, “maybe this is God’s way of getting me a new car.” Randy said it was better to be optimistic about it.

I don’t know–the next day, my car seems ridiculously unimportant–but I’m safe and sound, and God has much more of my attention and gratitude. I don’t recommend it, but traffic accidents have two very good side-effects–one, they remind us we’re mortal. Two, they remind us to be thankful for everything. This morning I woke up, a little sore, but nothing like I was expecting. I have never felt more thankful for standing on my own two legs and being able to walk. It was easily the happiest I’ve been all Christmas break. It might be harsh, but I’m very thankful for it.

The hospital visit was interesting * (*meaning a whole other story made even more so by the stupid neck-brace! You’ll have to wait for another post about that one.) I am going to be a little sore, but I’m fine. They prescribed a mild mussel relaxer and ibuprofen. My family was very concerned and I thank them for their love.

So now to answer the questions I’m sure friends want to know. 

No, I don’t think it was my fault-neither did the police officer at the scene.

Yes, my car is totaled. No, I don’t really care about that.

Yes, I’m fine. It was a horrible experience I hope to never repeat.

I don’t know the other driver’s condition. I hope and pray she is all right.

I’m sorry it happened, but I wouldn’t have it any other way–God knows best. It was His car. And I’m His too. He’s fully allowed to with both His car and His son as He sees fit.  He’s never let me down before and even if I hadn’t been fine, He never would have.  I’ve never been so thankful to be alive or so aware of my mortality and dependence on God.

And it’s all thanks to the fact, that yesterday, I tipped a suburban over.

On Beauty and Women

Okay, I’m a guy. I don’t get it. I’m close; but really, I don’t get it. Let me explain. I came up with, what I thought was, a fairly nice movie plot. In it, an evil witch avoids death by body swapping with her attractive young apprentices. One of her smarter apprentices doesn’t trust the witch, but “tests” the spell—locking herself out of her own body. Enter heroes, sword fights, lots of daring do—and in the end the hero gets his girl back –but she is in the other apprentice’s body. I even made it fair! The other apprentice gets the first girls body and her own beau. And they all live happily ever after.

I thought I had made a pretty romantic tale. A man proves his love for his girl—loving her even though he thought she was dead; loving her, even when she moves into another body. It is HER he loves. Not her looks, not her beauty—HER! For crying out loud, it’s supposed to be romantic! Then the other apprentice gets a guy who is interested in her! Not her looks, Her! AND both guys tell their girl when she is in her new body-they totally think she’s hot! So I tell my little tale in a car drive in Colorado. I think it’s romantic.

I was wrong.

Both ladies in the car are like “Nope, won’t work.” Both of my poor heroines will be spending the rest of their days wondering if her man really loves her or that other one. Ouch. But looks aren’t what is supposed to be important so… “Nope, won’t work.” Hmm, I need to do some thinking about this interesting creature called woman.

Okay, yes, I agree God doesn’t make junk and women are pretty. Some a beautiful and some are able to reduce otherwise cogent men into mumbling fools. I get that; I’m totally NOT unintelligent in that regard. But, hey, beauty is only skin deep and all beauty fades in time and it’s what is on the inside that counts: that’s what’s really important, right? 

 YES! And No. Ah, don’t you just love clear answers. Get used to it men, women are an enigma. But a solvable one.

No, beauty is not what really counts, but don’t go thinking it doesn’t count either. According to Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn’s book For Men Only, women have this inner worry about their looks. They describe it as a little girl asking her daddy if she’s pretty. Women apparently want to hear and want to know that their significant other thinks she’s pretty.

So when my heroine switched bodies, she really would have this constant nagging child telling her, “He doesn’t love you, he loves that other lady.” And of course, your really can’t end a fair tale with, “and she was an emotionally tormented basket case for the rest of her life.” So any woman would look at my fairy tale and say “NOPE!”  

Hmm. Interesting. I’ve got a wonderful little romantic fairy tale all women would really hate. I bet there are men who would pay extra to see a romantic flick their wives are retching at. And it has sword fighting! I see a market niche! Hmmm.

I guess a better thing is to tell all you men out their with a significant other. I really didn’t know it was so big a deal, but it is. Hey, guys, women need to hear their beautiful—you think she is. So tell her!