Thursday, January 14, 2016

Offensive Part Deux

Oh, and let me clarify about my I Am Offended--GET OUT blog--the rebel flag does not belong on the state house. Neither did the rainbow on the white house. The rebel flag is offensive to a large people group. I get that. I'm sorry, but that Gay Pride business is just as offensive to another demographic. How about we just get over ourselves and let both fly? True freedom of speech shuts this whole stupid mess down. Just let the rednecks have their flag and let the gays have their flag, and everyone goes home fat and happy.

(Sheesh. Gonna make people leave the Wal-Mart because of a stupid shirt? The Wal-Mart which has such a high standard of dress code in the first place. Keep in mind these are the same people who actually produced an ISIS cake after refusing to make a rebel flag cake. You, Sirs, are insane. A SHIRT! Where is my "I Hate Everyone" Shirt? I think ima wear that bad boy all week and see who I can offend.)

Other things that offend me:

  1. Stupidity (really, don't we all hate stupid people?). 
  2. People who spit in public (while not engaged in some sort of sporting activity).
  3. Anyone who disparages fried foods (see No. 1: Stupidity).
  4. Vegans (come on--you know you think your lifestyle is superior and are condescending to everyone about it). 
  5. The Geek Squad (who keep taking my stuff but not actually repairing it). 
  6. The entire ABC Family Channel (because most of the programming is actually inappropriate for my family).
  7. Hallmark movies (for being vapid). 
  8. Auburn (I really, really hate Auburn). 
  9. Women who try to steal my husband (it happens when you're married to a fantastic man, but I will cut you, Sister.). 
  10. People who say the F-word in public. I have kids. Yes, I know they've heard it before, but I'd prefer not to hear while standing next to them. Keep it to yourself.
  11. Packaging I can't open.
  12. People who fuss about church but don't actually go there or do anything but occupy a pew once they get there.
  13. Auburn. Auburn offends me. ROLL TIDE! 
Pass the Tylenol.

Full House

All summer I work at the school. (School Teacher Problems.) I like getting organized and ready for the school year. It's the most fantastic thing ever to know that you are preparing strong minds for the world.

This is part of my journal from Summer 2015.

I worked at the school several hours.  I'm going again tomorrow, but I'm taking slave labor reinforcements. So, some of those kids who are going with me to work are spending the night. It's like a huge sleepover around here all of the time. I wake up and find extra people in my house on a regular. It's quite exciting. Like a daily mystery

And I'm thankful that my house is "that house". You know the one where all of the kids congregate.

I like to say, "We are the party." And it's largely true. Since we live this very transparent life, everyone is welcome because there is nothing to hide. We are just what we are. Loud, crazy, funny, obnoxious, vibrant, insane people crammed into a small space.

Of course, that makes it sort of loud and crazy sometimes. (All the times)  The biggest miracle of God that I get to see on a daily is the "feeding of the 5,000". I thaw something out to eat and it's clearly enough for eight, but not enough for 16, then 16 people show up to eat. It's a problem. But here's the miracle; there is always enough.

I enjoy the youth and kids. They are a blessing to my life that I can't quite explain fully except that I thank God for allowing me to have a full quiver and to have so many Bonus Kids in my house. I am thankful.

Jesus and the "G" Word.

Not a single firearm on the show. Dozens of people brutally
murdered every week. 
What did Jesus actually say about being armed? 

Luke 11:21 "When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace."  

Being armed isn't the problem. Stop pretending it is. Hating other human beings is the problem. Evil is the problem. And sin in the world is the problem. 

Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" 

Every single person who watches The Walking Dead and Into the Badlands ought to understand both of those concepts clear as a bell. It isn't the weapon. It's the wielder. Every. Single. Time.

Show motto: Save the bullets; use a knife. 
I live in a very rural area in the county not in a city. I am 30-45 minutes away from first responders--police, fire, and ambulance. On any given night there are two deputies on patrol in a county that is 701 square miles with approximately 40,000 residents. If someone breaks into my house, and the two deputies are already busy or on the other side of the county it could be even longer than 30 minutes.

We have a massive drug problem in the county. Meth is our number one manufactured item. I am surrounded by desperately poor people.

Can you even begin to comprehend how long 30 minutes is if someone is coming into your home to do you or your children harm? It's a lifetime.

We have an escape plan for fire, home invasion, and animal attack. (Not even joking--packs of wild dogs roam the countryside--we had a local pastor attacked by pit bulls on his morning run just a week ago. We also see bobcats and coyote regularly.) I have an outdoor dog that will begin barking at you in the yard, but is trained to alert if you approach my house. Her bark sounds as if she is going to eat you alive. And she just might.

And we are armed. And if you approach my door and are a stranger, I have a weapon in my right hand as I ease the door open with my left. And I know how to use them. And my kids know how to use them. And I will shoot you without even thinking twice about it. And I have absolutely no intention of shooting to wound. I'm going to try to kill you.

Because When a strong man is armed he keepeth his palace and his goods are in peace. Jesus said so.

Haters Gonna Hate


I've been so angry lately that I feared anything I wrote in my foggy cloud of fury would be vindictive or punitive or riddled with bias and prejudice and quite simply, Not Nice Things. 

(And since my Momma raised me right, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.)

But finally, slowly, quietly the sun rose again in my small life. The rain burned off of the smoking blacktop, and my spirit was peaceful again, allowing me some clarity of thought and kindness of spirit. 

Because (and here it comes) if you jack around with my kids, I hate your guts. 

That's right. I said it. And I meant it. 

I. HATE. Your. Guts.

And that tiny, evil sentence requires me to breathe and pray and meditate on Scripture and repent and find my center again before I do something that can't be retracted or repaired. 

If you are being brutally honest with yourself, sometimes you feel this same way. You hate the coach, you hate the teacher, you hate that mean girl, you hate the boyfriend/girlfriend, you hate other parents...the key to getting over this is to remember this awful truth: 

The World Does Not Revolve Around Me or My Children.

Gak.  There it is. Painful, isn't it? Still truth. Because that person I hate probably isn't whistling Dixie about me either. They probably wish me ill daily. It's a disgusting thought, because it means I might have to change. And forgive. And move forward even when I've been wronged (or just perceived I have been wronged). 

Gee, thanks, God. (I hate that part.) Because I like wallowing in my anger and stewing in my righteous indignation. It's pickling me as I type. I'm fueled by that fury, channeling it into other areas of my life. Riding it around until it's dead. Kicking it for good measure just to make sure I can't mount up again. 

While I'm at it, how about this gem:
I Am Not Always Going to Be Treated Fairly. Neither Are My Kids.

Man, that stinks. I hate that one too. This Christ-centered life is becoming painful. It's hitting me too hard where I live. It's too much, God. It's not possible for me to forgive those who have wronged me and get over my petty complaints.

But You did; therefore, I can. And will. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

I Am Offended--GET OUT!!!!!

Wear it, tattoo it--whatever.

Well, it's finally happened.

Someone I know was walking in the local Wal-Mart and was asked to leave the store because his shirt design had a Rebel Flag on it and someone was offended by it. I don't care what you believe--this is America and it is my right to offend whoever I dadgum well want to offend so long as I don't infringe on their RIGHTS as Americans.

(Don't say 'dadgum'; it's offensive.)

How is it infringing on anyone's right to shop in the stupid Wal-Mart because of what someone else in the store happens to be wearing????

(Don't use the word 'stupid'; it's offensive.)
If you want to be gay, knock yourself out.
Here's the answer class: It doesn't infringe on anyone.

(Gay people better hope like heck that removing people who are wearing offensive clothing isn't a two-way street or they can't wear any pride gear into the Wal-Mart, because if half the populous in any given Wal-Mart has on camouflage, you are offending some folks. How'd you like to be asked to leave 'cause of that rainbow, eh? Not so much? That's what I thought.)

(Don't say 'heck'; it's offensive.)

Lots of things offend me. I now intend to tell you what they are publicly so you all can stop doing them. And if you don't stop, I'm going to find the manager and ask that you be removed from wherever you are so that I'm not offended anymore.

Dude on a plane was asked to get off because this image on his t-shirt was deemed offensive. Hello? Stupid person who didn't get the Princess Bride joke is OFFENDING ME BY BEING TOO STUPID TO RIDE BESIDE ME IN THE PLANE. GET OUT!!!!!

Like these things are offensive for instance: 

If you don't slap your screaming child right in the mouth when he/she is whining for something in the check out--YOU ARE OFFENDING ME BY BEING A CRAPPY PARENT!!! GET OUT!!!

(Don't say 'crappy'; it's offensive.)

If you are wearing white shoes after Labor Day---YOU ARE OFFENDING ME BY HAVING ABSOLUTELY NO FASHION SENSE!!!! GET OUT!!!!

IF I can see any part of your undergarments through, beside, or under your actual clothing--YOU ARE OFFENDING ME BY BEING A COMPLETE SLEAZE!!!!!   GET OUT!!!!

If you have a tattoo that is of any kind of cartoon character--YOU ARE OFFENDING ME!!!! GET OUT!!!!! (Because you're sort of lame, dude.)

I am OFFENDED by these things, and you need to stop them immediately.

Slytherin are offended by this flag.
I am also offended by bad grammar, bad spelling, a general lack of common sense, people who don't wear deodorant, people who don't like Harry Potter, people who say they love the Lord and post foul-mouthed rants against people of any kind, jacked-up trucks (because they look ridiculous), hybrid cars (because they look ridiculous), beets, people who say they are "fixing to" do anything, people who say, "Well, I'm a Christian, we don't do that."


And I have yet another reason never to step into a Wal-Mart again. (Thank Goodness.)

If you want to be gay--GO BE GAY! (That's between you and God and has really nothing to do with me.)

If you want to tattoo the rebel flag on your face--GET THAT TATTOO! (You're an idiot, but whatever, this is America and it's your face--do what you'd like with it.)

(Don't say 'idiot'; it's offensive.)

If you want to be Muslim, Christian, Buddhist--BUDDY, KNOCK YOURSELF OUT! 


Praise Jesus, Hallelujah, Pass the Tylenol.  That is all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Please, God, Please

Well, here it is. The moment I've been dreading. The beginning of the end. We got one behind the wheel (Sister has been driving for six months now, and it still scares me to death.) And now, here are the Wonder Twins, on the road. I have three teen drivers. It's something, let me tell you.

Before I can get to the point of this blog, I'll give you a brief recap about my drivers. The real stuff will be at the end.  


Sister got her permit and learned to drive in the same car as her sisters a year earlier. Fun times. :-) I thought I'd have a heart attack that first time rolling in the car with her too. (I think that I am the common denominator here.)

She's a good driver.   We keep expecting her to play bumper cars, but so far, so good. I trust her to pay attention and focus more than anyone else in Johnsonville.

The Shorties have all learned to drive in Nana's whip. The 1998 Toyota Avalon has been worth every dime. Hey, the air is cold, the leather isn't cracked, the power windows all work, the sunroof opens, and it has a radio new enough to have an aux. cord. Don't be hatin'.

The grands bought her a car to roll around in. Super sweet! (And marginally cooler than the Green Machine.) Ahem.








Big E:

Unlike Sister, who had some prior experience, the Wonder Twins have never driven anywhere ever.

This is Big E ready to drive for the very first time EVER. She'd never even put the car in drive before or sat behind the wheel

E was quick to stomp that break and gas. She's a lefty, so learning to use that right foot in a fine motor skill activity has been some more exciting.

We made it back to the house in one piece. I really wasn't sure there a few times. We passed several church members. (I think Heedy almost fell out when he saw E behind the wheel. I also wish I had a photo of his face to put up on here.) She got so distracted waving at him she forgot to turn the vehicle and we sat in the road. Thank goodness we live in the country.



(Who was smart enough to know that photos would follow and kept a smile plastered on her face the entire time she was driving.) Seriously, she did great. A wee bit nervous but not as scared as Sissy. 

I love that they all have the same photo series--learning to drive the same car, practicing, happy faces when holding that precious piece of paper.
Now, Naynuh's situation is a little bit different than her sisters'. She likes to be at home and isn't itching to break free, so I have to actually talk her into the driving lessons. Like sometimes bribery has to be involved (we'll go to Sonic and get a shake if you drive there.) I'm not delusional enough to believe that this will last. Once she realizes she can go and do as she pleases if she masters this skill set, I think I will be nothing but a waving person in her rear view mirror.

So, I've been a person of prayer since my salvation, but probably more so since I gave birth to The Little Flower. She was a special situation, and God and I came to an understanding during that very difficult trial. Our understanding is this:

He is in charge, and I am obedient. 

Since that time eleven years ago, my prayer life has blossomed into something entirely other. Something bigger than before.

And now that I am putting three of my most precious people on the road driving motorized vehicles (probably the single most dangerous thing they will ever do), I have found myself in daily prayer about their safety.

See, we live next to a graveyard filled with all kinds of people. Most of them lived long, fruitful lives, but some of them...well, some of them died too early and tragically.  Several of the people buried literally yards from my house were killed in traffic incidents.

Next to my house are graves full of people who were in motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, car wrecks, four-wheeler accidents, drunk driving incidents...and the list goes on and on.

My husband is a chaplain for the sheriff's office. He goes on death notifications when tragedies occur.
  • He has seen what it looks like to be slung out of a car. 
  • He has seen what it looks like when people don't wear seatbelts. 
  • He has seen what it looks like when people drive too fast (which is everywhere in rural areas). 
  • He has seen what it looks like when new drivers over correct. 
  • He has seen countless drunk and high people injured and injuring innocent people in their wake.
He has to go to people's houses--people just like ours--and tell them that their child has died on the roadside in a wreck. We have some families like that in our church who have lost loved ones in car accidents.

It keeps me up at night.

So, I'm begging my children to understand why I want to know where they are going, who they are going with, and how long they will be gone.

I want them to understand that it is better to be late for curfew instead of speeding home.
I want them to know that I'll come anywhere, anytime without asking a single question to pick them up if they need me. The reason is irrelevant. I will come.

I want them to know that it is brave to tell someone driving when you are riding (including your siblings, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents of friends) to slow down or you want out of the car.

I want them to know that if I ever see them or they are seen anywhere without a seat belt (front seat or back) on I will sell their vehicles without a single hesitation, and they can walk everywhere from now on.

I want them to know that speed kills, and it's not important enough to risk your life. Miss the movie. Miss the curfew. Miss the whatever--but please, please, I'm begging you, don't speed.

And if you love me, please never text or talk while driving or drive under the influence of anything mind altering.

There is nothing in the whole physical world more precious to me than you are. Nothing. So, please, don't drive distracted. Focus. Pay attention. Both hands on the wheel. And know that I am at home praying for you and for your safety to and from work and school and wherever you travel.

I love you. Be careful. The rest I'll leave up to God.

Monday, June 22, 2015

First Born; THIRD Permit

Naynuh, Lumpy, Friend

Driving Part Two: Naynuh gets her permit. 

This outing looked more like normal Johnson business than Big E's solo permit outing.

We took an entire posse (this means it looked like the clown car was unloading in the three ring circus center stage when we all piled out) to the DMV in Selma and partook in the right of passage otherwise known as: Getting the Driver's Permit. 
No. 1 Son, Friend, Naynuh, Lumpy, Sister, Goot

I went with Lump's mom, Lumpy, his little sister (Goot--again, I didn't make that one up either--that's her actual nickname proving that truth is always more interesting that fiction), Naynuh, Sister, The Number One Son, and another friend from church who was ready for her permit but didn't have transport.

Naynuh did great and had that thing in hand in moments. So did the other two monkeys. It was easy peasy.

Waiting to be called back. We take up an entire hallway.
The entertainment is always in the comings and goings in Johnsonville. We had to wait just a few minutes to get in and did our little song and dance in the lobby. It was quite irritating entertaining for the other folks waiting.

Hanging in the lobby (Lump, Sister, No. 1 Son)
Got those papers
No, they aren't a couple, just enjoy harassing each other.
Notice said frog is pumping gas. It's in a gas station. Ahem
After the big test, we ate at a local place called The Barking Frog Cafe in Maplesville, Alabama. It's in a gas station. (Hey, don't knock it till you try it.) Their steaks and shrimp are kicking. The fried chicken was pretty righteous too. And if you happen to stop in, get the ribbon fries. (Just trust me on this one.)

But a restaurant in a gas station called The Barking Frog Cafe isn't even close to the weirdest thing happening in Maplesville. It's one of the more interesting places in the universe.

Their high school team is the Red Devils, and they once posted my favorite high school football sign of all time.

Satan is our homeboy.

Stephen King ain't got nothing on real life. Seriously--Devils vs. Holy Spirit. What the? I'm sorry, but I'm not rooting for the Devils over the Holy Spirit even if my own son was running the ball for Satan's team.

And who had the brilliant idea to put Satan as the mascot on the sign? It's on the "Welcome to Maplesville" sign as you drive into town. No joke--a cartoon Satan is on the sign.


So, in summary...
We went.
We laughed (too loudly).
We passed the test (handily). 
We ate good food (blissfully).
We drove (successfully).
We swam late afternoon (heavenly).
We are all spending the night (overwhelmingly).

In other words?

Typical Johnsonville Monday.

Eating lunch in the Frog.