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So it’s Sunday, I’m home sick and watching The Avengers.  Loki makes this statement:  “I am Loki and I am burdened with glorious purpose.”  Glorious purpose.  Glooooooooorious Purpose.  Uh huh…

In reality this is true and we should all be making this statement every morning when we look at ourselves in the mirror.  “I am BluEydButterfly and I am burdened with glorious purpose.”  because each of us really does have a glorious purpose, although the trick is to believe it… and sometimes we don’t even know what it is so discovering that glorious purpose is required as well.

Another statement Loki made a short time later also caught my attention.  Yes, I know, besides being really cute his character makes memorable statements, who’da thunk it?  But what he said this time was:  “You were made to be ruled.”, which I actually, totally, 100% agree with.  The Human Condition craves rules, boundaries, guidelines.  We want someone to lead us.  Why else would every country in the world create its own government?  This is, however, more my opinion and a lead-in to my next statement rather than trying to get everybody riled up over the ugly world of politics.  Sorry to get your hopes up but maybe another day…

OK, now let’s combine those two statements.  What if my “glorious purpose” is simply to choose who my ruler is – or another way of saying it might be, who am I going to serve?  What if it really is that basic?  Regardless of your religious beliefs almost everyone on this planet recognizes that there is good and evil in this world, although everybody seems to define them differently these days…  I personally believe in the God of the Bible and use the scriptures to define good and bad. I’m super-summarizing the verses here but the Bible says that “God is love”, 1 John 4:8; that other people will know I am a Christian “by my love”, John 13:35; and that the two greatest commandments are to love God first and people second, Matt 22:37 – 39.   These verses all define for me, in the simplest terms, good and evil.  To love, with TRUE love (which would take an entirely different blog to define), is good.  Fake love or to be unloving – either one – is evil.  This is the bare bones core of my belief, this is my heart.

We all choose, every moment of every day, what we want to think, say and do.  Are those things kind, loving and helpful?  Or are the things we think, say and do mean and hurtful?  If they are good then I am serving my God.  If they are evil then I am not.

Obviously I am not trying for any deep, contemplative discussion here.  I’m not even talking about Salvation or Heaven.  This particular blog post is to capture simplicity itself, nothing more.  Why?  Because I believe faith should be simple.  Because I believe faith IS simple and we just over-complicate it.  Let’s get back to basics people!  We’ve lost so much to complicity, we’ve fought so many wars over inconsequential details and we’ve destroyed so many relationships in the name of this god or that one… so often without even knowing what the god we serve is really, truly like.  My God is love.  He loves me.  He loves you.  And because He loves you I love you.  Because He loves you I will do my best to help you when you need help or be sad with you when you are sad or be happy with you when you are happy.  This is my faith, my “religion”, to use what feels like dirty word…

Many Christians have lost sight of this and because of their distraction have given Christianity a bad name.  A very bad name.  So bad I’m hesitant at times to say that I am a Christian or that the God I serve is Jesus Christ.  Not because I am ashamed of Christ or the Gospels, oh no!  But because I am ashamed of the people who call themselves Christians and do not love anybody but themselves.  Because those people have the loudest voices and society believes that they are Christians… but they’re not.  Not according to the Bible.  And yet I am a Christian, there is no other way to describe it because I follow Christ and Christian literally means “Follower or disciple of Christ”.

All of that to say – I AM burdened with Glorious Purpose and my choice is about whether or not I will LOVE others as God loves me.

How about you?

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It’s a pajama day, that means I am refusing to get dressed today and as it is currently 10 pm I have totally succeeded, yahoo!

Sad news – I don’t have to drive all day tomorrow to pick my friend up and bring her home.  I was really looking forward to the long drive and the girl time with my friend on the way home… 😦

Good news – Independence day has made this almost a four-day weekend!  I did have to work on Friday but I’ve almost forgotten all about it so it really does feel like my third day off with one more to go, yay!

Ummm… I have lots of stuff that I want to write about, really I do.  It’s just that when I know what I want to write about I am not able to write it down and when I have the time my mind goes blank.  Curious, that.

So in the absence of my presence of mind I will say this.  The last few days have been pretty good.  On the 4th I slept until 3 pm, which was, like totally awesome dude!  (Yes, I realize that saying dates me…)  We had dinner with friends on Friday night and had a really great time visiting, one of my friends told me that I was funny which made me very happy because I like being funny!  Today, which doesn’t feel like a Saturday at all, has been a fine pajama day.  The only thing I am missing today is my soda because I haven’t had any caffeine at all and have therefore just taken ibuprofen in anticipation of a caffeine headache coming on soon.  <sigh>

My  birthday is coming up next month on a Tuesday and I’ve asked for Monday and Tuesday off to have a four-day weekend.  My best friend from high school is in the process of purchasing a “lake cabin” and I really, really want to invite myself up there for my birthday weekend and hang out with her, maybe even bring my best friend from down here along with me because the two of them have already met and like each other.  That would be a fabulous birthday!  But my husband is slightly jealous that I want to spend my birthday away from my family, not with them (him).  Is it wrong for me to want to spend my birthday with my girlfriends and not with my husband and children?  They have me all year around, why can ‘t I spend my birthday the way I want to?  I suppose I could take the time off on another weekend and go up to the lake cabin with my friends then instead of on my birthday…  I still have over a month to figure out what I’m going to do so I’ll put that one on hold for now.

We are watching Transformers 2 right now, a nice family activity, and I’m going to go take my pills now so that I’m tired by the time it ends.    Have a great evening!

…with six more weeks to go for my husband to prove that our family is worth him becoming a better man.  His previous attempt, a couple of years ago, at a Big Change only lasted three weeks total and then he quit so I think this next week will be very telling.

Progress/Improvements I have seen so far:
1. He opens car doors for me.
2. He tells me he loves me at the end of every phone call, every time we say good bye in person and occasional, random times throughout the day.  It’s actually kind of driving me nuts… He never spoke those words to me before without being prompted and/or pressured into saying them so it feels like it’s almost too much now… It’s hard to believe he means it because I’ve gone years without hearing him say it to me even once.  It’s also hard to  get a straight answer from him when I ask exactly what does it mean to him when he says “I love you” to me… but overall it’s still progress.
3. He has made an appointment for a counselor who specializes in addictions this week.
4.  He doesn’t get as angry as quickly as he was, especially at the girls.
5. He gives me hugs regularly that are just hugs, I don’t feel like there’s a sexual motive behind them for once.
6. He apologizes frequently for not realizing what a angry, selfish, controlling husband and father he’s been for the 18+ years we’ve been married.
7. In these last two weeks he’s cooked two meals, done several loads of laundry and cleaned our bathroom sink and counter and the downstairs kitchen sink and counter as well.  All things he never or rarely did in our marriage before.
8.  He got me a nice Valentine’s Day card (even though I said we were postponing Vday until after the two months was up) and hand-wrote a really nice 3 page letter about all the things he likes about me – 1 page was physical stuff and the other 2 pages were character stuff.  The pages were tiny (maybe 4″ x 6″?) but still, what he said on them was very nice.
9. We had a disagreement Sunday and even though he wasn’t happy with me he still treated me with kindness and dignity and  this morning he apologized for being mad at me for the last two days.

For my part during these last two weeks I have been a naughty, naughty girl.  I’ve really been pushing his buttons by doing things I know he doesn’t like – such as borrowing the Twilight series from my friend and making the whole family watch them.  (Except the last one which isn’t out on disc yet).   They’re hilarious by the way, I haven’t laughed so hard at awkward teenage romance in a long time.   I started talking about getting a tattoo, which he has been firmly against for quite some time.  I went to the movie theater yesterday to see “Hansel & Gretel, Witch Hunters” with my friend and oldest daughter (Love, love, love Jeremy Renner!  Could have done without the swearing though…) and on Sunday night I insisted on going to the evening service of a church (different than the one we attend on Sunday mornings) with my same friend and I intend to keep going to that church’s Sunday evening service for as long as I can.  I’m sure there have been other ways I’ve really tried to get his goat but I can’t think of them right now.  (It is past my bedtime, yawn!)  However, in spite of all these things I’ve been doing (and probably a few more) on purpose to test him and see how serious he is about keeping his family together, I’m actually impressed with his responses.  He is rising to the challenge and “manning up”.  Way to go dude!

Something that he and I talked about on Sunday evening was that there really isn’t a foundation to our relationship that we can go back to and start over on top of.  I’m not sure why he married me but I married him because he said he loved me and he pushed me into having sex with him while we were dating.  I had been a virgin up until that point  and I thought if I didn’t marry him I would be an old maid forever.  (I was 20…how stupid can one be?  Ugh!)  There is no passion, no place of being “In Love” to return to because  it was never there in the first place.  In order for us to develop passion, romance and the feelings of being “In Love” we are going to have to develop them from scratch and damned if I know how to do that after almost 20 years of building walls around my heart so he can’t hurt me anymore.  I honestly think he doesn’t know how to start from scratch like that either but he’s surely giving it the good ‘ole college try, which is more than I’ve been interested in doing for our marriage for probably at least 10 years now so I guess that makes him the better man in this situation.

He’s always had a “Never Give Up” attitude and never considered divorce as an option.  Me?  I’ve prayed to God at least once a year during every year of our marriage begging for a divorce from this man.  God always said NO.

Of course I’m coming from a “broken home” (making me automatically a lower-class citizen as compared to the rest of my husband’s college graduated, married forever, working in the church ministry family) and no one in his family has ever divorced so in their eyes we would just move a step down from being the poor, uneducated, blue-collar, lower-class family members to the actual black sheep category.  I’m honestly not sure that my brothers would care if we divorced all that much, they don’t ever talk to me anyway, just my husband.  I’ll keep my sister, he can have my brothers, ha, ha!

Anyway, that sort of is talk for another time, maybe farther down the road, maybe never.  At the moment things are going well and our relationship is remarkably like a fairy tale, minus the unlimited funds that seemed to come with “Bibbity, Bobbity, Boo” and the waving of the magic wand,  so I’m choosing to enjoy every minute of it and be the princess I always wanted to be and who knows, maybe the Toad will turn into Prince Charming soon and the Ice Princess will melt into his arms… because with God – anything IS possible, eh?

I am soooooo stressed at this period of my life.  I’ve been having Panic Attacks, stress eating – and therefore gaining weight – sleeping a lot and not doing a very good job at work.  I need to find a Happy Place, right here, right now on my lunch break!  So in the spirit of The Sound of Music, these are a few of my favorite things:

Haribo Gummy Raspberries
Painting
Organizing my cupboards and closets
Roses that smell nice AND are bi-colored
Dr. Pepper
The Princess Bride
My two best friends
My sister
The OCEAN – why didn’t I think of this one first?
Butterflies
Blues & Greens
Soothing music
Falling rain
Ginger Wasabi (from Scentsy – discontinued)
White chocolate
Caramel
Waterfalls
Road trips

…and my lunch is over but I feel a little better already.  Focusing on the positive – I guess it really works!

The older I get the less Being Pretty and Being Comfortable will have anything to do with each other.  It’s like they used to be best of friends and now are becoming mortal enemies over some useless, forgotten argument.

As a teenager Being Comfortable was Being Pretty.  I put on my favorite jeans, cutest shirt and my way cool high-top tennis shoes… and then I did my hair and makeup, put on my floppy cotton hat and the biggest hoop earrings I could find and went off to hang out with my friends.  Frequently I even wore heels instead of my high tops if I wanted to kick the “classy” factor up a notch.  I was cute, casual, cool and comfortable – I totally loved the 80’s!

I’m almost 40 now and my jeans have long ago lost their zippers, buttons and back pockets – and sometimes they have even lost their front pockets too and everything has acquired elastic waistbands.  I’m not even sure the word “jeans” properly applies to what I wear anymore but the fabric is a light-weight denim with a “jean slacks” look that my employer tolerates only on Casual Fridays.

My shirts are now all of a Business High Casual/Low Professional style so thank God for Walmart and thrift stores!  Very few of them qualify as “cute” and the ones that do I probably wear far too often… after all a girl has to be cute as often as she can, eh?

My shoes have gone through several stages, from trendy high-tops to classy high heels to slick-bottomed “smart” shoes.  Once upon a time I told one of my church friends that I liked wearing a particular pair of shoes with pointed toes because they made me feel smarter when I wore them… which then inspired her to demonstrate to me the ROFLMHO technique.  You too, really?  I mean come on, it wasn’t that funny, seriously, enough already!

Fine, keep laughing but for the last 10 years or so my footwear preference is open-toed sandals, which yes, I can wear to work all year round.  I am grateful for a job that allows me to wear sandals in the office, it makes my life sooooooo much easier because when my feet are fully enclosed in shoes they get hot and when they get hot they start to smell (bad) and then I reach a point where I could swear that my feet have burst into flames because they feel so hot and if I don’t take my feet out of my shoes and try to cool them down Right Now I will get nauseous, forcing me to impress people with a dash to the nearest restroom of such speed that it be worthy of an Olympian.  However, if I do take my feet out of my shoes it inspires my co-workers to hold their noses and grab their waste buckets so it’s a lose-lose proposition… trust me, nobody wants to see me wearing anything but sandals!

Top it off with makeup, jewelry and hair products and you have a fairly good description of my “Pretty” clothing.  What I wear to be “Comfortable”, however, is no makeup, no jewelry, my famous “bed-head”, paint-stained sweats, a t-shirt and a knee-length sweater jacket… or I just stay in my jammies.  The very best days are the ones where I can stay in my jammies, stay in bed, watch movies and type all day long – that will be another post though.  Suffice it to say that my Comfortable clothes are Not Pretty, and I like it that way!  I’ve finally become more and more comfortable being in my own skin, regardless of how I appear in my native habitat.  It’s about time, dangit, it shouldn’t have taken so long…

Because not all of my days are bad…  🙂   Friday, (yesterday), I had a good day at work – I completed all my tasks and was able to help other people with theirs.  Then I came home and shared a meal with my family and we worked on tidying up the house.  At the end of the day we smiled and laughed and giggled just before bedtime.  These are the moments that make family precious.  These are the kinds of times I want to have with my family.  Love, laughter, good food and a funny movie where we can all laugh so hard at that some of us end up rolling around on the floor with the side splits from giggling so hard! Especially now, at Christmastime, good times with family is what really what it’s all about – and should be how we live life all year round.   Laughter, Acceptance, Good Times, Kindness and Sharing…all the things that are found wrapped up in Love.

 

Like millions of Americans I have a job.  It’s actually the best job I’ve ever had but just like everybody else I go to work because I get benefits and a paycheck, not because I love my boss.  My Obedience equals Pay and Benefits, in other words I obey for a reward.

In the book of John, Jesus says “If you love me, keep my commandments” so it looks like Love (A) equals Obedience (B).  Or maybe it’s because true love produces devotion so strong that when you love somebody, really love somebody, you spend most of your time trying to think about how to make them happy by doing things for them.  Maybe the bigger problem is that I don’t really think of pleasing the one you love as Obedience but I guess it is.  When the one you love wants something done, you do it with a smile on your face and a spring in your step because making them happy makes you happy!  Ah, those were the days…

Obedience carries with it the connotation of “duty”, “obligation” and” task” but making someone you love happy is never a chore, it is a privilege.  I’m starting to wonder if that word in the Bible was translated incorrectly…or maybe we’ve just developed the wrong connotations…

There are some churches out there that have reversed those and teach that Obedience (B) equals Love (A).  Unfortunately, math doesn’t usually work in most relationships, as I tried to show with my work analogy.  I am very obedient at work because my job depends on it (and also because it is a source of pride to do a job well).  These churches that teach a person does not love God unless you obey diligently, act appropriately, dress a certain way and speak Christianise are missing the heart of the matter.  If you are “obeying” for a reward, whether here on earth or in heaven, how does that possibly translate into love?  I believe those churches destroy the reputation of “real” Christians.

In fact, “real” Christians seem almost non-existent right now.  You can usually pick out the devout Catholics and Mormons out from a crowd because they are neat in appearance, polite and kind, it’s hard to describe but they have a different look about them that makes them distinguishable from others.  In fact, one of my daughters is frequently asked if she is Mormon because she is so nice!  The Bible says that other people will know we are Christians by our love for one another and yet this is so far from the reputation Christians actually have – it’s so sad!

Sooooo… how does this connect with Twilight?  My take on Bella is that she is more selfish than not and more independent than is good for her.  She hurts people thoughtlessly, only doing what she pleases and not following the advice of anyone who is trying to help her.  Gee, who else does that sound like?  Most of us…

Edward portrays unconditional love.  All he wants is for Bella to be happy and if that means she chooses Jacob he will back away like a gentleman and deal with it, no matter what it costs him, no matter how she hurts him in making choices that she thinks will make her “happy”.  The consequence, or result, however you choose to view it, is that Bella is free to do whatever she wants whenever she wants to do it she and runs back to Edward when it suits her.  Hmmm… we all have free will to decide if we are going to love God or not and our choices not to serve God, not to please him, not to make God happy really hurt Him because He really loves us.  And God loves us enough to allow us to make our own choices, to do what we think will make us happy.  Unlike Twilight, however, God will reward us according to our actions and we will get what we have earned, good or bad.

PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT saying in any way shape or form that Edward the vampire is a representation of Jesus… I am simply noting the similarities between the way that Jesus loves us and the portrayal of Edward’s love for Bella.  Even the World can get something right every once in a while, although, being the World, it does tend to twist and change the truth until it’s almost unrecognizable.

Thanks to all the movies and romance novels out there today unconditional love seems like it’s been exiled but it does exist!  It is real, we are all loved by God with a depth and passion that makes Edwards love for Bella pale in comparison and yet we have conditioned ourselves not to believe that could possibly be true because love like that only happens in fairy tales.

I’ve been working on this for almost a week so while I’m not done searching and questioning I will stop here for today.  Like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, I want the fairy tale…

Yesterday, for the very first time I watched the first three movies of the  Twilight series.  We have been avoiding them since they first came out because of all of the negative feedback from Christian sources saying how “dangerous” these books/movies are and yet we watch Heroes, Alphas, X-Men, Avengers and all kinds of other TV shows and movies that portray people having super-powers and using them for good or for evil, as is their nature. I decided to watch them and see what all the fuss was about and to be completely honest I have to say that aside from Edward’s character I didn’t think the series lived up to the hype.  To be fair, however, I have not read the books so everything here is based solely on the movies… and we all know that the books are better than the movie…

For a story line you have the basic love triangle:  Edward is a “bad boy” who doesn’t want to be bad and falls in love with a girl and wants to keep her from becoming like him. So great is his love for her that he leaves her, after saying mean things, and hopes she will forget all about him and move on with a normal life.  Of course they’re both miserable and when he thinks she’s dead he tries to kill himself, more or less.

Bella’s relationship with Jacob is entirely Edward’s fault.  If he hadn’t left her they would have never become close and the entire story would be completely boring.

Jacob, who doesn’t spend nearly enough time without a shirt on, falls in love with Bella, although at one point she does warn Jacob that if he makes her chose between him and Edward “it will always be Edward”.

OK, now for the characters:  Bella, who in my honest opinion is pretty much a spoiled little brat, does whatever she wants without any regard whatsoever to the feelings of the two men who love her.  (Or her father, or anybody else who tries to give her advice.)  I personally believe that both guys could do better but again, there’s no movie if somebody isn’t frustrating…  It also seems to me like Bella’s more in love with the idea of never aging than she is in love with Edward himself but it could be just me.  Throughout the movie she was the aggressor sexually, although they never actually have sex at any point in the first three movies and she tells her father she is a virgin.  I don’t remember very many I Love You’s from Bella (or Edward, for that matter) and it appears to me that she is much more interested in becoming “changed” than she does in being married, which in this day and age is relatively short-termed while becoming a vampire is forever.

Edward is one very noble bad guy.  He did not ask to be a vampire but is now stuck that way for eternity, and he’s got a moral code and standard of ethics that would make any parent think very hard about overlooking the blood-sucking part of his nature.  I mean seriously, he does everything he can to prevent Bella from chosing a vampire life, refuses to have sex with her until they are married, watches over her while she sleeps every night and fights to protect her on a regular basis.  (Of course, if he wasn’t a vampire she wouldn’t need so much protection, I’m just saying’…)  Edward is also extremely patient with Bela, I don’t think very many men would put up with their beloved having another man for her “best friend” and all the embraces and motorcycle rides that went along with that.  Another very impressive thing to me was that Edward is willing to just walk away if she were to choose Jacob over him “because she would be happy”.  Except for the whole must-drink-blood thing Edward is a perfect gentleman, protector and fairy tale come true all rolled into one and what woman doesn’t want a man like that?

Jacob is by genetics a werewolf, born that way and can’t do anything about it.  And honestly, he probably wouldn’t do anything about it even if he could.  While technically not as “evil” as vampires (only because they don’t view humans as food) werewolves are very violent and until they learn to control themselves they can easily cause physical harm to even the person they love the most.  Knowing this causes Jacob to try to end his budding relationship with the Edward-bereft Bella after he “phases” because he loves her enough to know that he could accidentally hurt her and doesn’t want to do that.  But she easily overrides his arguments and refuses to end their friendship, deepening his love for her and frequently misleading him by her actions as to where her heart truly is. Jacob’s character was not nearly as honorable as Edwards, at one point he kisses Bella forcefully and against her will and is continually harassing her to admit she loves him but overall I liked Jacob’s character.  Besides just thinking he is physically more attractive than Edward, Jacob had a sense of “real” about him, a “freshness” that I appreciated.

Both of these men, however, love Bella enough to set aside their “natural” hatred of each other and bring their clans to work together in protecting her from the really evil vampire lady who tries to kills Bella as revenge on Edward for killing her mate in the first movie.

By the end of the third movie Bella has finally made up her mind and told Jacob it isn’t him.  <sigh>  Poor Edward, he’s going to have his hands full.  Nobody’s attitude and behaviors get better after marriage, only worse…

Of course I’m going to have to see the remaining movies, part 1 and part 2 of Breaking Dawn, where Edward and Bella get married and have a, well, I don’t know if it’s a baby but whatever it is they have it, Bella gets changed and (it looks like) they somehow stay friends with Jacob.

So those were the dynamics of the movie and my basic opinion of them but one of the biggest questions I walked away from these movies with is:  Is it healthy to love somebody so much that when they die you die too?  All of my life I would have answered that question with a resounding NO.  My mother would have said no, I should only love God that much.  But is that the right answer?  I don’t know anymore.  I certainly want to be loved like that – I think everybody does, men and women alike!  But very few people are loved that way and even fewer return that deep love to the person who loves them and so we yearn for it and make movies about it and write books about that kind of love, because we don’t have it…and we want it.

The movies were OK and even though I’m not going to rush out and buy them any time soon I have to say that they are not the raging evil that I have been told they were.

I have some more thinking to do but this is where I am at now, taking a long look at everything I’ve ever known and trying to re-evaluate it for truth, for what do I actually believe instead of what I was told I believe?  I am becoming a different person, hopefully that’s a good thing…