The rock group Queen sang a song entitled, “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon”. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love to laze on a Sunday afternoon. Especially an afternoon like today, slightly overcast, cool, slight breeze. But, watching my wife and my granddaughter make some memories together today made me realize that God had more than a day of rest in mind when he created Sundays. He had family in mind.

My house is quiet today. Unusually quiet. Peacefully so. I decide to go see what I can see. And what do I find? Ember and her Mamaw, sharing a box of crayons, bonding. Laughing. Smiling. Loving.

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Watching them, I realize that this is what Sundays are all about. Not football. Not NASCAR. Not work. But family.

I responded to an auto accident late last night, where (according to witnesses) a man ran off the road, injured his young son, flagged down a passing motorist asking for directions, and then staggered away, almost too intoxicated to walk. By the time firefighters and police arrived, he was nowhere to be found, having abandoned his vehicle, phone, and contents in order to avoid a DUI charge. I went to church this morning with them on my heart, and prayed for them. Watching my wife and granddaughter color a little while ago, I again wondered about them, and prayed for them a second time. This time, however, I prayed that they both would be one day able to spend an afternoon like I was having today. One of peace, calm, and family.

After all, isn’t that what it’s really all about?

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Wow.  Three and a half years since my last real attempt at this.  I figured about six months had passed.  I looked at the date again…nope!  Three and a half years.  And, it was a blog on getting old, and watching time disappear.  I didn’t even take my own advice!  How could I expect anyone else to?  But, I digress…

The title of this post pretty much sums it up.  I have been saying this for a long time now, and every day I believe it stronger.  Not about the things near and dear to my heart, like my God, my wife and children, my job, my pets, and my other passions.  Instead, I care less about the things that used to keep me up at night, worrying that I may have offended someone.  People have told me (hard to believe, I know), that I’m very opinionated, too conservative, and basically a redneck.  Years ago, that might have bothered me.  Now?  I agree.  I am a redneck.  I’m a proud redneck.  I believe in most classically-defined “redneck” ideals.  For example:

I believe in God.  I believe in not killing children in the womb (abortion-rights activists call it pro-choice, I refer to it as pro-murder).  I believe in the God-given right to keep and bear arms.  I believe in heterosexual marriage and relationships.  I believe in capitalism.  I believe in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  I believe in right-to-work laws.  I dislike racism, sexism, and all other disgusting -ism’s.  I belive that child molesters should be chemically (or physically) castrated and incarcerated for life.  I believe animals were put on Earth by the almighty God to hunt and eat, along with the plants (with the exception of brussel sprouts and turnips…I still don’t see why He put them here).  And, I’m a strong advocate for basic human rights, no matter what the individual’s personal beliefs may be.  People who have a differing opinion than I do, on any topic, still have the right to have that opinion.

And, THAT is the basis for my blog.  I have an opinion, and it may differ from yours.  It probably does, on at least SOME aspect.  And, as time marches on, the fact that you may be offended or feel the need to respond to me negatively regarding my opinion concerns me less and less.  I don’t know why some people feel it necessary to point out to me that my opinion is “redneck”.  Or, that they view me as “narrow-minded”, “right-wing”, or “douchebaggy”.  I’ve been told that my pro-life stance is “outdated”.

I accept that.  And I still don’t care.

Because, when it boils down to it, I most likely won’t change your opinion on any given topic, and you most certainly won’t change mine.

So please…quit trying.

I’m a redneck.  And, to be honest, I don’t care what you think about it.

I have been embattled recently in a discussion on my workplace Reader’s Forum, a place where employees can post (in blog fashion), questions, comments, and just generally whatever is on their minds.  It seems someone took offense at the use of the term “God’s gift to humankind” during a speech by a LANL employee.  The offended poster didn’t think it was appropriate for the speaker to use that term in a workplace setting.

This forum had many different insights, from several posters, some supporting and some against the words of the speaker.  Of course, the term “separation of church and state” came into play (yes, you know…the phrase that doesn’t exist in writing, and yet is continually, incorrectly attributed to be in some deep, dark cavern of the Constitution or one of its Amendments).

I read, re-read, and mused over these writings for a week or so now.  I am only able to draw one conclusion from them.  Our penchant for the excessive political correctness that we’re all forced to deal with on a daily basis has created a society of babies.  When words or actions offend someone, it is acceptable in today’s society to whine and fuss loudly over those words or actions until someone else puts a stop to the offender.  Crybabies are running rampant among us.  “Make him stop!  Make him stop!” is the mantra of our country.

Tolerance is now only a one-edged sword; we have been forced to become tolerant to the ideals and principles that are contrary to the very base we live our lives on.  We are told to be accepting of the “churchgoers” who mock and protest the funerals of our dead servicemen and women.  Christian magistrates are forced to remove postings of the Ten Commandments from their courtrooms.  Our society disallows the use of the word “God” in public forums.

From one of the posters:  “Political correctness has given the vocal minority an unfair advantage over the quiet majority and has forced us down a ridiculously narrow path.”  It’s time for us all to widen that trail again, lest we lose our footing completely.

The alarm sounded at 5:15 this morning.  Again.  Just like it does every weekday morning.

I stumbled into the bathroom and began the daily ritual of scratching and yawning, and then it hit me:  The guy staring back at me was old.

At least I think he was old…I didn’t have my glasses on and couldn’t really tell for sure.  But, he looked old.  He looked tired, faded, and just generally not young any more.

I stood there, wondering, trying to remember when he changed from the youthful, energetic 30-something into this old dude.  And I couldn’t remember.  It seems he has always been old.  I think he’s been nearly fifty years old for a long, long time.

Then, the thought that I was nearing my 50th birthday slapped me in the face.  FIFTY!  Where did those fifty years go?  I don’t necessarily feel 50.  I certainly don’t act 50, as most of my friends and family can attest.  And, although that dude in the mirror is old…he really doesn’t look 50.  Not yet, anyway.

So, the only thing I came up with this morning, staring at the blurry old dude in the mirror, was that those fifty years just disappeared.  Poof.   All the good times, all the bad times, all the in-between times…well, they’re just gone.  Each and every one of those 26 million minutes just ticked on by.  The clock didn’t stop when I was having a great time and was enjoying myself.  It didn’t even slow down.  It didn’t speed up and whiz by when I was going through a low point, either.  The minutes and hours just methodically vanished, one by one, for fifty years.

My oldest child is 13 years old.  Thirteen.  I’ve missed the true fullness that God has offered me in those 7 million minutes.  Oh, sure, I haven’t been absent, like so many fathers have been, due to military deployments, job travel or divorce.  I haven’t been a drunk, or incarcerated.  But, even though I’ve physically been present, I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed the blessings of my children, my wife, my home or friends, either.  Not to the fullest, anyway.

So, just take a few words of advice from an old, blurry dude I met this morning…don’t let the minutes, hours and years tick by without realizing that each and every day that passes truly is a day that the Lord has made.  Instead, rejoice and be glad in it.

Okay, so the conversation last night went something like this:

Me: “I think I’m going to get me something to eat.”

Sherry: “Are you going to get ice cream?”

Me: “Well, I can’t decide between ice cream or a bowl of cereal.”

Sherry: “Oh.  If you were going to have ice cream I’d have some vanilla.”

Me: “Vanilla?  But you like chocolate more!”

(No response)

Me: “Yeah, I’m going to have ice cream.”

Sherry: “Are you going to have both flavors?”

Me: “Nah, just chocolate.”

Sherry: “I’d have some too, please.”

So, I get up and decide I do want both flavors, so I dish me up some vanilla and chocolate, and Sherry some chocolate.  She likes chocolate more than vanilla.  Just when I’m getting ready to take both bowls into the living room, she’s standing there, and the conversation continues:

Sherry: “I thought you were only getting chocolate!”

Me: “Well, I changed my mind and got both.”

Sherry: “But all you gave me was chocolate, and I said I wanted vanilla!”

Me: “But, I thought you said you wanted vanilla only because you thought I was only going to get vanilla.  You like chocolate more, so I got you chocolate.”

Sherry: “Yeah, but you got both flavors for yourself, and only chocolate for me!”

Me: “But I said I was only getting chocolate, and you said you’d have some, too!”

Sherry: “But, I said vanilla before I said chocolate and I asked if you were going to get both.  Then when you said you were only getting chocolate, I said I’d take some chocolate because you weren’t getting vanilla.  Since you got both, and since I said I wanted vanilla first, that’s what you should have gotten for me.  Don’t you know what I want by now?”

Me: “Sure.  You usually want chocolate.  When you said vanilla, I thought, well, if I was going to get chocolate, that’s what you would want, because you like chocolate more than vanilla.  Don’t you see why the male species is doomed from the start?  I got you chocolate because you asked for vanilla, but I know you like chocolate more, so I tried to make you happy.  How can we ever figure out women if you can’t even stick with one flavor of ice cream?”

Needless to say, I did get her vanilla with her chocolate.  Anything to keep her happy.

Would the day ever get here?  Would the car ever be ready?

We’re off in a few hours to let Mason compete in his first Pinewood Derby.  I don’t know who’s more excited, father or son.  All the sanding, painting, weighing is finished.  Now all that’s left is the winning!

We’ll let you know the outcome at the end of the day.  Wish him luck!

Mason's Derby entry

Well.  I didn’t know that I would begin to get more work than I could handle.  Not quite there yet, but getting close.  I have two jobs going now, and a third inquiry came in today.  I’m not complaining…not yet, anyway!  I’m really getting into making proposals, getting offers, negotiating prices, etc.  A new experience to me.

Two out of three nights so far.  Not bad.  Survivor is on tonight…but I have work to do.  Sherry and I will have to watch it later.  Wow.  Almost sounded all grown up, didn’t it?

Okay.  So here it is.  My first attempt at blogging.  Tuesday, April 20, 2010, and I’m finally in the 21st century.  Not too bad, really.  It didn’t even hurt.

Goals…they’re like resolutions, made to be missed.  But, for posterity, I am going to try to write daily.  That is, unless Survivor is on, and then my goal is every other day.  Unless it’s Cub Scout night, at which time I’ll strive to blog a couple of times a week.  But, I sometimes get busy, so I’ll shoot for monthly.  That pretty much makes my goal attainable, right?

We’ll see how this goes.  I’m entering into the formidable world of freelancing.  Dark and scary.  But, I want to take this opportunity to shout out to the world, “I JUST COMPLETED MY VERY FIRST FREELANCING PROJECT!”  I am pretty proud of it, and I will soon have a portfolio page where it will be posted.  I’d like to thank Steve F. for giving me the chance to prove myself.  No, I’m not Tom Snyder…it’s his original work (16 pages) that I condensed into this blog entry.  Feel free to throw comments my way.  I’m liking this freelancing stuff already.

Now, good night.  NCIS is on.

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