Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What's happened to TV?

Is it just me or has television simply gone to hell in a hand basket? (Does that sound like somebody's grandma talking or what? ☺) We recently spent a couple of years living overseas where our TV viewing was minimal and somewhat "tame." We moved back to the States a few months ago and all I can say is... Wow! What a difference a couple of years makes! I'm completely and utterly taken aback by the "in your face" shows we're bombarded with these days. Seemingly nothing is off-limits. The more drama and dirt, the better.

There are some shows that have actually been on the air for several years, which I still find hard to believe. Need an example? Okay, how about The Jerry Springer Show? Who watches this garbage? Show of hands, please. This is seriously the most pathetic form of entertainment ever! They round up these dysfunctional people who seemingly can't wait to air their dirty laundry for the whole world to see and hear. Is it all real? Do people truly stoop this low to in order to be seen on television? I can't watch this show in its entirety. I've tried, for the sheer sake of giving it a chance before I judged it too harshly, but it's impossible. I'm embarrassed for the guests and I want to ask Jerry Springer if he feels good about himself for the role he plays in perpetuating the aggressive, vulgar, totally inappropriate behavior his guests display show after show.

Have you ever watched daytime soap operas? I've been a big fan of the ABC shows... All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital. I started thinking about what happens on these shows and have realized that the storylines are full of indecency... people sleeping around, cheating on their significant others, ruining lives, etc. How uplifting is that? I don't want my kids to see any of that nonsense.

Some of the newer shows on TV that make me crazy are these reality shows such as Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, Jerseylicious and Real Housewives of ___________ (You can literally fill in the blank here as there are multiple versions of this show). These shows put fame, fortune and all things fake on a big ol' pedestal. They scream, "Look at me! Look at me!" Everyone wants to be seen, no matter what. Just listen to this (You'll need to turn off the music on the right-hand side of this blog & then click on the video below.).

Now I ask you... have you ever seen as much makeup, big hair, bling and cleavage in your life? OK, maybe you have, but is this something I really care to look at week after week? And that's just the visual! What about the language? This whole scenario may be 100% fake, but my question is ... WHO CARES? What kind of message are they trying to send viewers? I guess I don't understand the point of the show. It's like junior high on steroids with the cat fights, back stabbing and trash talk. There is nothing... I mean NO-THING redeeming about this show.

TV shows aside... What about our news media? Boy, they are over the top with their coverage of negative stories, aren't they? It's like they take great pleasure in exposing the most ugly, sordid details of people's lives and situations. Think about the people you see in the news most often and the reason(s) why. There seems to be a heck of a lot more negative than positive press, wouldn't you agree?

One would have to be deaf and blind not to realize this is actor Charlie Sheen, particularly since his wild, erratic behavior is a very popular topic right now. He's such a talented actor, but his personal life is a hot mess, and his business has become everyone's business because the media makes sure he's everywhere we turn... TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, the internet... you name it, Charlie's there.

It's no secret who this young lady is, especially since the photo happens to include her name. I chose an older photo of Miley Cyrus to post here because this was before all the drama in her life seemingly started. This is a younger, more carefree & innocent Miley. I don't know anything about her other than what the media would have us believe, and how true any of that is... well, it's anybody's guess. Her provocative photos must sell because we certainly see lots of them in the media.

I keep hearing the song Dirty Laundry by Don Henley playing in the back of my mind. Do you know that song? The lyrics ring so true... "People love it when you lose. They love dirty laundry...... Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down." As much as we may think it would be cool to be famous, I think celebrity status carries with it a huge burden. Living your life in the spotlight for all to see, being constantly under the microscope and having people who don't even know you judge your every action must be very difficult.

What is it about our society that makes us want to watch and celebrate others make complete messes of their lives? Why are we obsessed with people who are "train wrecks waiting to happen"? We seem to get pleasure out of other people's pain and misfortune. The more they misbehave, the more attention they get... because we give it to them. We watch the shows and read the articles that gossip about others. Why? Does it make us feel better about our own lives?

TV can be fun, entertaining and educational, and I truly enjoy watching sometimes, but I find myself tuning out more than in these days because quite frankly, I'm tired of the negative messages I'm receiving. Whatever happened to shows like The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pray continually... and have a good attitude about it!

The subject of praying continually has been on my mind and in my heart a lot lately, so much so that I decided to blog about it here.

Sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed with the number of prayer requests I receive every week. Do you know what I'm talking about? The cares and concerns of family members and friends are often enough to make me want to hang my head and cry. There are so many hurting people! I find myself almost wanting to turn a deaf ear to yet one more need, one more sad situation. I often just don't know how to pray effectively, but guess what? We're called to pray. And not just pray, but pray continually.

I've started making a mental list of those I have been asked to pray for lately, and honestly, the number is staggering. I have family and friends who are currently...

coping with divorce,

exhausted caretakers of elderly parents with major physical & emotional issues,

living with life-threatening illnesses,

struggling to help their nearly-grown child, who frequently finds drama and trouble, to learn from past mistakes and to move forward,

on an emergency trip home to visit a sick family member whose prognosis is unknown,

on an emergency trip home to attend a funeral after the unexpected death of a beloved parent,

living with Alzheimer's,

struggling with how to best serve the Lord; they have willing hearts, but unable bodies to serve in the way they had originally planned,

going through yet another military deployment,

dealing with family members' alcohol addiction...

The list could truly go on and on. You may have a similar list of needs and concerns, whether written or in your heart, that you're constantly praying over. It's easy to get depressed when I realize how much suffering there is in our world, just among the people I know personally. How can I possibly help any of these people? I can't. Not alone anyway. But I know someone who can, and hopefully you do too. Our Heavenly Father has the ability. He is mighty and capable, and He knows our deepest needs.

Amazingly enough, this same topic of praying continually came up today in the women's Bible study I attend. Coincidence? Nah, I totally think it was a God thing. I ♥ God things, don't you? Anyway, here's what the Bible tells us about praying continually...

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV, 2011)

How on earth is it possible to rejoice and give thanks while praying over unhappy circumstances? Is God serious? Does He really expect us to be able to have a good attitude in the process? Yes... He really does! Admittedly, that's a huge challenge for me. I don't have what I would call a strong prayer life. I'm selfish with my time and I'm not exactly the most faithful prayer warrior. I'm aware, however, that I'm a work in progress, and God is patient with my inadequacies. I'm trying to be more faithful with my prayer time. And let's face it, our world needs all the prayers we can pray... and then some!

The rejoicing & giving thanks part of prayer... well, I have to work on those aspects too. I don't think God expects me to be "happy" about the sorrow and suffering of others. I think He wants me to find hope & joy in the relationship I'm continually building with Him as I pour out my heart to Him and intercede for others, and that's where I can eventually find that thankful spirit. I can be thankful having the knowledge that God is always with me (and you) and He's not going anywhere. He hears our prayers, mine and yours.

I've often thought that there are certain times when praying is simply all we can do, but it's always the best we can do.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Where's HGTV when I need them?

We're contemplating a few home decorating upgrades. We've had some of our furniture for years, items that were passed down to us from family members, which we were grateful to receive when we were newlyweds. We've purchased several new things over the years, but we also still have many of the hand-me-downs as well. Now that we've been in this house for more than 6 months, we've decided we want to make some changes and replace a few pieces of furniture, as well as add some paint and window treatments in a couple of rooms. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? In theory, yes, but in reality, not so much.

We've moved many times in the past 15 years, and so often I've made the mistake of rushing out to purchase bedding or curtains (just fill in the blank here) to hurry up and make our house a home, one that reflects our personal style. (Luckily my husband and I do have similar tastes, which is a blessing.) I literally jump the gun and end up regretting choices I've made, because I eventually find something I like more. I hate that!

I vow every time we move that I'm not going to do that this time, however, old habits die hard, and I get so excited and anxious to get things in order that I don't allow myself time to mull things over before making final decisions. Life in the military can be so chaotic and uncertain, therefore I figure I can at least organize and decorate our home, an area over which I can actually take control. Am I speaking to anybody?

Now I'm more cautious and consider things for a longer period of time, but I'm starting to lose my focus and have come to a standstill in all projects. I can't make up my mind about anything. I'm afraid I have no style. I see these awesome ideas on TV, in catalogs & magazines, but when it comes to putting those ideas that appeal to me into motion, I draw a blank. I just want a professional to swoop in and do it all... furniture, window treatments, painting... all of it! Please?

Monday, February 7, 2011

I ♥ Bookworm! I'm not kidding. There are days when I could literally sit at my computer for hours on end playing this awesome game. It's a word game, so I'm exercising my brain, which is a good thing, right? It's not like I'm totally wasting my time. Please!

Okay, so I've let the laundry pile up a bit. I'll catch up. The kids can cook their own dinner once in a while. I've been meaning to teach them a little more responsibility lately anyway. Hey, it's okay to go without showering for a few days, right? Everybody does it! What's the big deal? Yes, I know my shoulder, arm and wrist ache, but that's certainly not due to tennis elbow as a result of playing a harmless online computer game. For heaven's sake!

Hi, my name is Marva and I'm a Bookworm addict. There... I've admitted my problem. Isn't that the first step to recovery?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

God Will Take Care of You

This is just about the sweetest video ever. I don't even need to add any commentary here. Just check it out.

Told ya so, didn't I?

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Good Napkins

Someone emailed the following story to me and it made me giggle, which I've been needing to do more often lately. I have no idea where it originated, or if it's even true. Does it matter anyway? I think not. I figured I'd share it with you in hopes that it will make you giggle as well... Enjoy!


My mother taught me to read when I was four years old (her first mistake). One day I was in the bathroom and noticed one of the cabinet doors was ajar. I read the box in the cabinet. I then asked my mother why she was keeping "napkins" in the bathroom. Didn't they belong in the kitchen? Not wanting to burden me with unnecessary facts, she told me that those were for "special occasions" (her second mistake).

Now fast forward a few months .... It's Thanksgiving Day, and my folks are leaving to pick up my uncle and his wife for dinner. Mom had assignments for all of us while they were gone. Mine was to set the table.

When they returned, my uncle came in first and immediately burst into laughter. Next came his wife who gasped, and then began giggling. Next came my father, who roared with laughter. Last came Mom, who almost died of embarrassment when she saw each place setting on the table with a "special occasion" Kotex napkin at each plate, with the fork carefully arranged on top. I had even tucked the little tail in so they didn't hang off the edge!

My mother asked me why I used these and, of course, my response sent the other adults into further fits of laughter. "But, Mom, you said they were for special occasions!"

Pass this on to your girlfriends who need a good laugh.

Life is too short for drama & petty things, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly... and for heaven's sake, use the good napkins whenever you can.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where do I belong?

Do you ever feel like a spectator, seemingly always observing, but never truly participating in anything? That's sort of where I am at this point in my life. I don't say that to garner sympathy, only to perhaps see if anyone else is experiencing a similar feeling, and if so, how you're handling it.

The military lifestyle has called our family to move frequently, which has naturally meant that we've found ourselves in unfamiliar surroundings and situations over the years. We've been the "new family" in the _____________ (Fill in the blank with whatever word happens to be appropriate... squadron, church, school) many, many times. That doesn't normally bother me, as I'm not particularly shy, but I think the tables are turning for me and I'm finding that I'm not as comfortable in these settings as I once was, and I'm growing weary of being that new person everywhere I go.

You're probably familiar with the phrase "Bloom where you're planted." That's been my mantra for years. I know that we're only going to be residing in a place for a short time, and I have a choice of either sitting at home all alone or embracing my new surroundings, which, for me, means exploring the area, meeting new people and getting involved. I end up investing in a group of friends and it's always hard to leave and move on to the next place. I think that's the way it should be.

Leaving Spain to move back to the States was difficult. I had an awesome group of close friends and we did everything together. I think overseas assignments can tend to be very intimidating and isolating, therefore they lend themselves well to these types of tight-knit relationships. While I knew I was blessed to be there and to have these wonderful women in my life, I truly had no idea just how blessed. Don't you hate figuring these things out after the fact? I'd have treasured those people and that time in my life even more if I'd only known then what I know now.

I really thought that moving back to the States would be a fairly easy transition though. I mean, we'd lived in this area of Illinois before, so it was familiar territory. We had a church lined up, a beautiful home we'd purchased and good schools for the boys (That's debatable at times, but that's another post). So why do I feel this way? And what does "this way" mean? I can't verbalize it other than to say that it's unfamiliar to me and not at all what I'd expected.

Our military base is very "rank heavy," meaning there are lots of high-ranking officers stationed here. I have been in several situations over the last 6 months that have left me feeling very unwelcomed and discontented, situations where people are obviously name dropping, I suppose to impress others with the fact that they know "So & So." I've endured conversations where all people can talk about is their husbands' jobs and who's making general. I think it's great that people are being promoted, and they have my respect, especially considering how difficult it can be to make such a high rank, not to mention the time and attention their jobs require. I just know that these folks put on their pants the same way I do every day.

Quite frankly, I'm not interested in superficial relationships at this point in my life because they have no substance. I don't want to get to know someone just because her spouse is a general. Don't people see the insincerity of those who so are so obviously playing the game? I just want to be friends with someone because I enjoy her company and have a common interest. I don't really care what her spouse does. Does rank have to be a prerequisite for friendship?

I'm extremely proud of my husband for his military accomplishments because I know he's worked very hard in his career. I admire his stamina and dedication to being the best he can be, but not just in terms of his military career. I'm even more proud of the person he is, and how blessed the boys and I are that he's my husband and their father. My husband's rank has no real bearing on my feelings for him. Am I proud that he's earned his rank? Yes, of course I am. Does it make him more important/special in my eyes? No, it does not. And more to the point, does/should his rank elevate me as a person? Absolutely not! I could go the rest of my life without hearing "What does your husband do?" and be just fine.

I've always considered myself to be outgoing and hospitable. I'm all about inclusion and have tried to go out of my way over the years to reach out to newcomers, knowing how it feels to be in their shoes, and also knowing how great it is to be on the receiving end of a warm welcome. There's no better feeling!

I don't feel warmth here, not yet anyway. I'm still searching, and trying not to let my own judgmental feelings get in the way. Not everyone is careless and calculating. I know there are other women here who want the same things I do. I'm attempting to surround myself with positive, genuine people. One of the loneliest feelings for me is not having a sense of belonging. I no longer belong to the group of people I just left, and I don't yet belong to a group of people in my new surroundings. In the meantime, I wonder... Where DO I belong? God willing, I will eventually figure that out, hopefully sooner than later.