Friday, September 18, 2015

When People Cry Wolf...

     I remember living in Florida and watching local news broadcasters interviewing people before a coming hurricane about the preparations that they were making - or not making.  I also remember a number of storms where it felt like we were being chastised for our lack of preparation, as if we were naughty children not obeying our parents.  Guess who thought they were the parent.  These "journalists" stood in front of the camera, often in the wind and rain on the open beach, talking about the dangers of hurricanes and why preparations are so important.  The storm passed.  A few trees fell down.  Everything was mostly fine.  Then, again, came the lecture about preparation and what could have happened.

     Fast forward to yesterday.  I am flipping through my Google+ feed on my tablet and find this:

     Dear Lord!  A Tsunami Advisory in Los Angeles!  Millions of people live there.  This is awful.  And then my brain promptly clicks over to Indonesia.  My panic for all of those poor people increases.  My mind is racing with images from 2006.  I imagine a wall of water.  But this Google+ post has almost no information.  I'm worried for the people who live there.  I want to know what is happening.  I turn on the news and find an interview with ...Carly Fiorina?  Really?  So, I switch to another news feed.  Again, everyone is rambling on about the previous night's debate.  I go to my weather channel on my Roku.  Surely they have information.  Nothing.  Then I found out why I couldn't find anything.  I actually hunted down a full article on this situation - on The Weather Channel's website.  Wave height was expected to increase by approximately one foot.  Yes.  You read that right.  The image above correlates to a story about strong rip currents and waves increasing by a single foot.

     Have you heard about "Godzilla El Nino" yet?  That's what they have decided to call this year's El Nino because predictions say it is going to be so bad.  Remember Snowmageddon?  I know I am not the only person who thinks that these headlines on weather have gotten ridiculous and out of control. 

     Now, switch to storm warnings. used to offer a text service for severe weather alerts.  They discontinued this service on September 10.  While it ran, it was ridiculous.  I received 87 texts from April 30 - September 4 all warning of some type of weather event.  The most common was Severe Thunderstorm Warning.  Sometimes I received 5 or 6 warnings in a single day about the same storm - just updated hour after hour, and I would watch out my living room window as grey clouds passed over and light drizzling rain fell.  There were exactly two storms throughout the entire summer that affected my area and may have merited text warnings.  I should have discontinued the silly service long ago, but having grown up in Florida around hurricanes, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  I'm glad to have it gone now.

     There is a book that my friends and family all read when we were very young.  I had always assumed that everyone had at least heard this story before.  Lately I am not so sure.  My suggestion is that if you haven't read this book, you should.  The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf 

     I am posting about The Weather Channel because this obnoxious example appeared on my Google+ feed yesterday.  But, to be perfectly honest, the media as a whole is guilty of participating in this activity.  They are all so desperate for attention and ratings that the things they post in headlines are the exact equivalent of the bored, lonely boy calling "Wolf! Wolf!" to get the attention of the townspeople.    It didn't turn out well for that little boy and it won't turn out well in our world either.  Except, instead of the little boy being the one who's life is endangered, it will be the innocent townspeople - you and me.  Because instead of begging for help, the little boy will be telling us to run for our lives and we will be ignoring him.  Maybe that is why these people don't care about what they are doing.  They are endangering innocent people and not themselves.

Friday, September 11, 2015

You Can Do Anything

                You can do absolutely anything.  Sure there are some things in this life that require intensive study and training before you can do them.  Surgery and flying both come to mind.  But overall, that’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the millions of little things in your life.  I’m talking about all of those things that have one simple, basic requirement – a willingness to fail.

                Yup.  You read that right.  All you have to do is be willing to fail.  And that means you need to be willing to accept the consequences of your possible failure, both the good and the bad.  Are there good consequences to failure?  Of course there are.  It’s called learning.  I understand that we are all being brainwashed to believe that learning doesn’t happen anywhere outside of a structured school environment, but that just isn’t true.  The biggest lessons in my life have been learned through colossal failure brought about by incredibly bad decisions.  And yet my time in the public school system is one enormous blur where outside of reading, writing, and math not a whole lot of it has impacted my life today.
              My first recommendation to you is to skip the incredibly bad decision part, if at all possible.  I mean, we all make them, but the goal here is trying to limit them as much as we can.   The best way to do that is to have a really solid foundation in your life.  My foundation is Jesus Christ.  Does that mean I won’t make mistakes?  No.  Sometimes I will wander off the path that God has placed before me.  I will do things wrong.  I am not perfect.  In fact, some days I feel like I am a walking, talking train wreck.  But I will say this… when I finally made Jesus the foundation in my life, my incredibly bad decisions seem to have diminished by an astonishing  amount.  So, find your foundation.

                Next on my list of suggestions is to use the internet.  There is an ocean of knowledge at your fingertips.  You just need to find it hiding somewhere in the midst of all of the cat videos and gossip about reality television stars.  You can learn to do new things, or you can find terrific tips on things you already learned.  I promise you that there is always something new out there.

                Finally, you absolutely, positively have to trust yourself.  Because if you don’t trust yourself, then what on earth makes you think you should trust someone else?  Think about it.  You know everything about you – your flaws, your shortcomings, your weaknesses.  When you see something that isn’t going to work for you, you know it, right?  And you can adjust for that.  How do you know that the way someone else is doing something hasn’t already been adjusted to compensate for their own weaknesses?  You don’t.  So, when you see something that isn’t going to work for you, don’t assume that there is something wrong with you or that you can’t do it.  Maybe you just need to adjust the project a little bit so that it fits you.

                  I have tried my hand at refinishing furniture, reupholstering furniture, building furniture from scratch, appliance repair and electronics repair (both with lots of help from YouTube), sewing, quilting, cross stitch, embroidery, crocheting, knitting, spinning, gardening, canning, writing a novel (which I never finished), and probably hundreds of various small things that I can’t begin to remember or list.  

My mother is always astonished that I do these things.  She wants to know where I learned all of it.  But, you see, that’s the thing… I didn’t really learn all of it.  I just did all of it.  And when I was finished and the completed project was sitting in front of me – for better or worse – that was the point when I was able to say that I had just learned something.  And I have loved every moment of it.  Today my reupholstering is limited to simple chair seats, but knowing that I could reupholster my sofa if the need ever arose is a really great feeling.  The best thing I learned, though, is that I can do anything.  And, like I said at the beginning of this post, so can you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

We Are Not Stupid!

                I can’t be the only person who is sick and tired of being talked down to by the “experts” and so I think this is a perfect place to start this blog.  This morning I turned on my television and opened the news menu on my Roku.  I like to peruse headlines.  It has become a diversion for me because the headlines seem to get more absurd with every passing day.   Today we passed absurd and flew into the realm of downright ridiculous and insulting.

Screenshot captured from AOL On app
  • Finn: How Should NFL Fans View the Pats? (Sports)
  • You’ve Been Hula Hooping Wrong Your Entire Childhood (Lifestyle) 
  •  Learn How to Boil Water From a Pro (Lifestyle)

I will happily admit that these headlines don’t come from the Top Stories or Business section.  That does not, however, change my point.  And my point is We Are Not Stupid!

First of all, let me say that we do not need anyone to tell us how we SHOULD view anything.  God blessed each and every one of us with a brain and common sense.  We are perfectly capable of thinking for ourselves and deciding for ourselves what we think about something.  I should view the Patriots however my personal opinions and moral compass tell me to view them – not how some guy named Finn says I should view them.  And so should you.  

Next on this list is hula hooping – something I haven’t done in many years, but I can guarantee you that I was doing it right.  How do I know that?  Because I was having fun.  And I was laughing.  And my friends were having fun and laughing with me.  Simple.  Who cares if some “expert” has figured out the optimally scientific way to move the hula hoop just right?  Not me.  And if you do care, why?  I mean, seriously…  Isn’t there anything left in the world that we can just enjoy without analyzing it and being told by some know-it-all that we are doing it wrong?  

And speaking of doing something wrong – weren’t you just dying to have a “pro” explain to you the best way to boil water?  Not just that, but explain it in a video that is two minutes and fifty one seconds long.  Yes.  Two minutes and fifty one seconds to teach you “Get the water hot!”  

In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I did not watch these videos.  Then again, that is kind of my point.  We don’t need to watch these videos.  We don’t need to be told these things.  What we need to do is think for ourselves and use our common sense.  Stop letting other people tell us that we are doing everything wrong.  Stop letting other people tell us what to feel and think.  Stop letting other people convince us that they have some magical answer to every minute detail of our lives.  Start living our lives instead.