No H8ers – why all the H8?

You keep using that word...Unless you’ve been living under a rock – or avoiding ALL forms of media, you may be aware that Central Texas has been a hotbed of debate over abortion recently. A catheter and brightly colored sneaker sporting single mother who chose life has been heralded as a ‘hero’ for enacting a nearly 14 hour filibuster to prevent the passage of a bill that would prevent abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and would ensure that abortion clinics had the same surgical care requirements as your local Lasik location. The bill that would protect women seeking an abortion from dying from things such as a perforated uterus was considered ‘anti-woman’. In the end, the bill wasn’t passed because of a wild disruption in the gallery of the Senate that prevented the vote from taking place prior to midnight (it was passed 19-10 at 3 minutes after midnight). ‘Democracy’ shouted those who prevented its passing.

What became clear while watching what was happening at the Capitol was the amount of anger on display – but not by those wearing the blue shirts. Reports of the chants of ‘Hail Satan’ are widely known – but there was much spitting on and harassing of those in blue shirts by those in orange. What I don’t understand is the anger?

Last night I came across a retweet of a tweet from Dan Savage. I was initially struck by his negativity and anger – oddly, I decided to go to his Twitter feed and began reading his other Tweets. Many had made the one I initially read look happy and glee filled.

Rather than simply accepting that there are those who disagree with his lifestyle, Dan Savage has become what he hates. Or, perhaps he always has been what he hates. His story about being bullied and treated poorly because of his life choices is both sad and compelling. He has, however, lost his way as a role model in his anger and vitriol. Here are some samples of Tweets from a man who preaches no H8. Warning – vile and graphic language.

And celebrating his porn contest:

This is the man that President Obama and the White House celebrated and promoted as part of their support of the ‘It Gets Better’ project. After reading some of the Tweets above, I’m perplexed as to whether it really has gotten better for Dan Savage or whether he has become stuck in the place of an embittered and unhappy human being who spends his life feeding on the negativity that he and others so openly, willingly and widely spew.

How is it that he cannot see how he has become the very thing he hates? Perhaps he does, but he doesn’t care because he sees himself being paid very handsomely for doing so.

So very very sad. A man in need of prayers.

Dear Kids of the United States

Dear Kids of the US,

On behalf of the adults in this country, I’d like to apologize for our role in messing you up. It occurred to me to today that if you listened to the government we elect, you’d have no idea what we expect of you.

As of this year, we have new ‘anti-hunger’ federal guidelines that limit your high school lunches to 850 calories including 2 oz of protein which has left you – well, hungry. While we have told you we don’t believe you can manage your food intake, we have also told you that you can obtain sterilization (without a co-pay!) at age 15 without parental consent (of course, your parents will likely find out when they open their health insurance statements).

At 16 you are old enough to careen through town in control of a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds, but not old enough to legally obtain alcohol. At 18, you are old enough to vote and sacrifice your life for your country by joining the military, but still not old enough to legally obtain alcohol. We tell you that at 25 you are old enough to represent us in the US House of Representatives, but you are still considered a ‘child’ according to health insurance laws.

In municipalities like New York City, no one is permitted to buy soft drinks in sizes larger than 16oz and schools are not permitted to administer pain relief such as Tylenol to children without parental consent. So, if you have a headache and they can’t reach your parents, you’ll just have to deal with it. The school can, however, help you if you think you might be pregnant by administering ‘the morning after’ pill to children as young as 14 without parental consent.

On behalf of those to purport to be ‘adults’ in charge. I do sincerely apologize.

The truth really does set you free.

This past week my family went on a vacation to the beaches along the Florida Gulf Coast. We have driven this route several times and are familiar with the speed limits and also the speed traps along the way. I’ll admit, I’ve never been one to drive slow but have only ever received two speeding tickets in my many many many (far TOO many!) years of driving. I also have friends who are police officers who have given me many suggestions for managing my speed along highways. As a result, I never go more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. I must be getting old, because lately my average has been roughly 5-7 miles per hour over.

As we were on our way to our vacation, we drove along a particular stretch of interstate highway along the Atchafalaya Basin (amazing – I spelled that without having the spell check correct me!) where the speed limit is 60 mph. I know that there are often police along the raised highway so I set the cruise control at a cool 65. There were four cars clumped together with me in the left lane and two immediately behind and the fourth car a bit further back in the right lane. I saw the police car up ahead and as I passed I saw him hit his brake lights and knew that he was going to pull me over. I slowed down and got into the right lane as he drove up behind me. I pulled over to the side of the road and he motioned for me to get out of the car. I did so with my driver’s license and insurance in my hand.

I should note that I have a very healthy fear of the law and shake when I get pulled over. It makes me very nervous. I walked back to his car where he stood in front of his bumper and he said, “Ma’am, I clocked you doing 74 when the posted speed limit is 60 mph.”

It took me a minute to pick my jaw up off the concrete shoulder and I said, “Officer, with all due respect, I promise you that I wasn’t going 74 mph.” The look on my face must have been something he wasn’t used to seeing when pulling someone over because the look on his face changed as well. I think he knew that I was being sincerely honest in my statement.

I told him, “Officer, I know that I wasn’t going 74 because I know that I was going 65 mph – 67 perhaps as I was passing another car, but I promise you it wasn’t 74 mph.”

He paused for a moment while looking at me and knew that I was telling the truth. The odd thing was that I was telling the truth – while also revealing that I had been speeding by 5-7 mph. I think he was somewhat perplexed by this but knew in his heart that there must have been a mistake. He said to me, “Ma’am, I’m going to take your word for it.” and let me go.

I got back in the car and my husband looked at me asking what had happened. As I told him, he put his hand up for me to give him a high five. “Way to witness!” he said.

The whole experience was rather interesting, but it really did make me realize what a great example it had been of the power of telling the truth – even when there is a risk involved. While I was not happy to have been pulled over with my kids in the car and had to explain to them, they were also aware of the significance of how the truth had set me free at that very moment.

Getting closer to God? Expect to get ‘busy’.

Some time ago, I was at our Parish and heard the wonderful Kristin Armstrong speak about  ’Time Out For Moms – Hitting the Pause Button in Fast Forward Fall‘. She talked about her disdain for the word ‘busy’ and instead preferred to use the word ‘full’ to describe her life. I thought it an inspiring message and have been doing my best to avoid using the word ‘busy’ whenever possible. These days, my life is *very* full.

I’ll spare you the sob story of why my life is *full* because, in reality, it really doesn’t matter ‘why’ its full or ‘with what’ it is filled. Those aspects are insignificant because they are all relative. I’m fully willing to accept that the things that are filling my time may appear to be blessings to others and maybe even trivial to others. The point isn’t to pull out the world’s smallest violin and play myself a sad concerto of pity, but to look at ‘why’ my life is full right now.

As I continue to grow in my spiritual life, the closeness I feel to Christ comes in ebbs and tides. Some of this has to do with my own choices and behavior, but I believe that there are outside forces that seek to separate me from my relationship with my God and Saviour. Hmmmm…. who might want to do that?

I’ve done enough reading and listening to authorities on scripture to know that Satan is real and does exist, and that his goal is to keep as many of us away from Christ as possible. The further and more productive I became in keeping up with my blog (which, sadly, hadn’t been updated since Easter Sunday!), the more and more full my life became.

Rather than be distraught by this, I see it as an exercise in awareness. While I find myself being ‘distracted’ by the ‘fullness’, I also recognize that God has led me down a path where I can be aware of these intentions and work to stop them – as I have done today by breaking my ‘fullness’ and taking the time to post this here today. He also did so by helping me recognize that my prayer time had slipped to next to none and needed to be ramped up if I had any hope of navigating my way through the circumstances that exist right now.

I feel like I just did a little off-roading for the past few weeks leaving me a little bruised and battered from the bumps along the way. If I just keep along the path (or ‘the straight and narrow’ as my Grandmother used to say!), the ride is a lot easier as the path in front has been cleared somewhat.

Thank you Jesus! Amen.

RIP Andrew Breitbart

Andrew Breitbart, whether you agreed with him or not – or liked him or not, was a force with which to be reckoned. His willingness to say it like it was and call it like he saw it was had been made even more enjoyable by his sense of humor and general cheerfulness. As a fan of the Dennis Miller Radio show (too funny – I like to listen while working at my desk), Andrew was always my favorite guest host.

In Memoriam: Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)

Today, I feel sad. I keep hoping that at some point I will find out that this is a hoax.

7 qualities of a great leader

Recently I’ve thought about leadership and the qualities of leadership. I did a bit of research and found these on Seven Qualities of a Good Leader. It seemed an excellent synopsis.

Seven Personal Qualities Found In A Good Leader

1. A good leader has an exemplary character. It is of utmost importance that a leader is trustworthy to lead others.

2. A good leader is enthusiastic about their work or cause and also about their role as leader.

3. A good leader is confident. In order to lead and set direction a leader needs to appear confident as a person and in the leadership role. Such a person inspires confidence in others and draws out the trust and best efforts of the team to complete the task well. A leader who conveys confidence towards the proposed objective inspires the best effort from team members.

4. A leader also needs to function in an orderly and purposeful manner in situations of uncertainty. People look to the leader during times of uncertainty and unfamiliarity and find reassurance and security when the leader portrays confidence and a positive demeanor.

5. Good leaders are tolerant of ambiguity and remain calm, composed and steadfast to the main purpose. Storms, emotions, and crises come and go and a good leader takes these as part of the journey and keeps a cool head.

6. A good leader as well as keeping the main goal in focus is able to think analytically. Not only does a good leader view a situation as a whole, but is able to break it down into sub parts for closer inspection. Not only is the goal in view but a good leader can break it down into manageable steps and make progress towards it.

7. A good leader is committed to excellence. Second best does not lead to success. The good leader not only maintains high standards, but also is proactive in raising the bar in order to achieve excellence in all areas.