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Posts tagged ‘selfishness’

Southern Prospective – soap box time!

Recently, I’ve been engaged in conversations about the “north & south”.  I don’t like this subject, but will politely answer & comment. Well…it starts off politely anyway.  What makes these conversations intense is usually the opinions that are thrown into the mix. Very few people can carry on a conversation on the subject of differences of northern and southern people and produce only facts.

I’m from Tennessee – born & bred. I (like other people) am proud to be from the south. I would never say the south is the best, the end all-be all, or even the most preferred place to live, but it’s home. I love it here, even though I can’t breathe through my nose for the mass amounts of pollen and my car is constantly covered in a yellow film. Even though we have high taxes and very few people correctly pronounce most of the English language. I still love it!!

East TN has become a melting pot of people from all over. Many folks from the western and northern states have moved here as well as people from other countries.  I’d venture to guess that the population is half native and half  “visitors”. Many native folks here have never been too far from home and are not able to travel or are afraid to leave these mountains. I personally haven’t travelled much, but I’ve been out of the state a few times. I’ve been very blessed to have met, worked with, and made friends a great deal of folks from all over the world while right here in Knoxville.

So, back to the “north & south” conversations…I commonly hear that:

  • Southern people are backwards.           Hmm, I try to visualize this so I don’t take offense.

I can honestly reply that I’ve never seen a southerner with their head screwed on backwards. They usually walk in a forward moving motion and many have not only been successful in life, but have led this country as presidents, congressmen, and senators.

  • Southern people are close minded.        Really? …all southerners?? I am open to discovering why we are close minded. My rebuttal is that there are closed minded people everywhere, not just in the south. Some people here are incorrectly labeled as close minded because they are hesitant to repeat mistakes. What just happened there? Did I just present an open mind?
  • Southern people speak funny.           People from all over the world speak with different dialects and there are places where you will hear a very think southern draw. Southern draws vary also. The southern draw of a Texan will vary from a Tennessean, just as a Georgia draw will vary from a Carolina draw.  Don’t at make us special?
  • Southern people are uneducated.         This may be true with a passing generation of miners, farmers, and people that physically worked their fingers to the bone from youth through adulthood many years past, but school is not an option in the South. But somehow, we have several of the best schools in the country according to the president of the US. Besides, if we are so uneducated, why did you move your whole family here? You must be a bad parent if you truly thought that and enrolled your children in our schools!!
  • Southern people are racist/prejudice.        There are racist people everywhere, not just in the south. Not everyone in the south is a racist.  I’m not!! Racism is not just white against black or black against white. People are prejudice in all forms everywhere on this planet! People that claim to be above reproach on the subject, accepting all people are prejudice in some form. Okay…I’ll admit. I have one prejudice: People from Ohio driving their RV through TN, changing lanes on the main Interstates right on top of other drivers, without looking or signally burn me up! But that’s pretty much it 🙂 I don’t dislike people from Ohio and actually have Ohio on my bucket list. One day, I’m going there with MY RV and I dare any of them to say anything or blow their horns, hee hee…not!

Rich against Poor

Sinners against Saints

Poor against Rich

Saints against Sinners

Baptist against Methodist 

Methodist against Baptist

Women against Men

Men against Women

Believer against Believer

Geeks against Goth

Skaters against Nerds

White against Mexicans

Mexicans against Whites

Black against Whites

White against Black

 Republican against Democrats

Democrats against Republicans

Non Alcoholics against Alcoholics

Drug addicts against the World

Lower Management against Upper Management

Upper Management against Lower Management

Customer Service against the Customers

Customers against the Stock Clerks

People against Mosquitoes – They just want to suck your blood 😦

Northern drivers against Southern Roadways

Southern drivers against more than 5 lanes of traffic

There are so many prejudices that they cannot all be listed. People harbor prejudices against one another for countless reasons and because a prejudice is chalked up to “opinion” it’s acceptable in some circles to have those opinions. That doesn’t make it right though. Let’s move on now.

  • People from the South are Hillbillies.       Well, we do live in the mountains and hills. I don’t care anymore, call us hillbilly if it makes your life better 🙂
  • Southerners are stubborn.        Isn’t that true everywhere you go? Surely this does not only apply to southerners.
  • People in the South walk around shirtless and barefoot.         Try to walk on asphalt barefoot and tell me how your feet feel. Kind of hot huh? Now, take off your shoes and walk on grass. Nice and cool huh? If you don’t leave your yard, why do you need shoes? Men do work with their shirts off, but don’t men in warmer climates do this? I saw people at the beach that were barefoot and shirtless. I even saw women that were topless and barefoot!  A person must wear shirt and shoes when in public though 🙂
  • Southern men spit.        Northern men do too!
  • Southern women need to be rescued.          Really? You’ve watched waaaay too many daytime talk shows. There are women everywhere that dream of  being “rescued in life”, not just in the South. There are also a great deal of women everywhere, not just in the south, that are hard-working and  independent, raising their family! They wouldn’t dream of being rescued.
  • Southern people are rude.          This one blows me away, seriously.  Why do people come from all over to be in the heart of our “southern hospitality” if we are so rude? Why did people in the north and western states label us with “southern hospitality?” Why did they start saying that?  Who coined that phrase? 
  • Southern women lie.         I’m pretty sure women and men every where lie. Not all women lie. I am sorry that you have that opinion. It’s sad.
  • Southern men don’t take responsibility for their children, stick around to raise them, or pay child support.              I searched on-line and discovered the 9 states that have the largest percentages of deadbeat dads with the largest arrears are: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Out of these 9 states, only 2 of those are southern states. Click here for the case study analysis.
There are more statements about southern people I have heard lately.  I’ve not spoken to just one westerner or northerner.  Sadly, I have spoken to many. I don’t bring the subject up, but somehow, it always ends up being brought into a conversation.
My thoughts are: People will always judge others by their own standards. If their opinions are that low of others, their opinions of themselves must be pretty low also.  It’s sad 😦
No matter where you are from, have you had a short positive or negative experience you can share about people from the northern, western, or southern states? Personally, I have had wonderful experiences in every state I’ve ventured into 🙂 People have great hearts everywhere I’ve been and I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people 🙂

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Yet another evil of PTSD

Another evil of PTSD is depression. It’s not always present and can be controlled for some by medication.

I hate depression. It rips life from a person and steals tears from its miss-perceived victims. Depression can take a beautiful day and make it cloudy, gloomy, and undesirable. It has much company when it takes root in one’s soul; for it invites anger, sadness, and self loathing with it. These rascally fiends take over and throw a misery party showcasing every wrong move, thought, word spoken, or deed done in the past. Their heart wrenching film plays over and over until the unassuming audience has become completely trapped by its clutches.

Depression is a beastly evil of PTSD.

Depression is one of the most commonly occurring disorders in PTSD. In fact, it has been found that among people who have or have had a diagnosis of PTSD, approximately 48% also had current or past depression. People who have had PTSD at some point in their life are almost 7 times as likely as people without PTSD to also have depression. Another study found that 44.5% of people with PTSD one month after experiencing a traumatic event also had a diagnosis of depression.

For more information on how PTSD and depression could be linked click here.

For another view on depression click here.Click Me, Click Me!

So, the question is, how does someone with depression associated with PTSD cope? PRAYER! A lot of Prayer!!

On this roller coaster ride we call life, there are always rainbows after every storm. We have to choose to see the rainbow instead of the destruction that the storm left in its wake. It’s also a lot easier to write about it than to put it into practice, by the way 😉

I need a game plan. I need to figure out why I stop wanting to take part in life. The Lord and I are the only two that can work together on this giant feat and obtain any lasting success. Medication will only place a bandage over the wound that depression leaves. The longer I let it wound me, the deeper and larger that wound will be. I can’t let that wound turn into a scar or I will have given up and become lost in the misery party that depression wants to host.

Here I go! Wish me luck!! 🙂 I’m ready to tackle the evil beastly depression monster brought along with the sinister PTSD villan!!

Wet Wet Wet

There once was a lovely song by the music group Wet Wet Wet that I loved to sing, titled LOVE IS ALL AROUND.

Who would have ever thought a song by a water-logged band would have meaning in my life? Ha!

?

I haven’t written much lately because I have been preoccupied with our house. In the past, I have written about the damages our house had endured over the last 2 years. We have had more rainfall recently than I can personally remember during the 17 years I have lived in our home. In January of 2009, record rain fall hit Knoxville, TN and the ground began to saturate. Midway through 2009, it was pretty soggy here in the eastern TN area.  {Enter the Soggy Bottom Boys}.

By 2010, the ground had swelled so much with precipitation that there was nowhere for this water to absorb any longer. County and state built run-offs began to flood and streams, lakes, ponds, and of course – my land began to over flow. In fact, Norris Lake (which is closest to my home) was so full (12 ft over flood level), the dam was overflowing and TVA had to release the dammed water off their schedule cycle. This inadvertently flooded much land that normally was not under water in the eastern Tennessee valley. As we begin 2012, the precipitation continues. Each forecast from the weather man with precipitation throws me into a state of dread now that my home has become a swamp.

Our home has become a wet land, and it is time for a re-evaluation of life once more. There have been 5 contractors look at the house and dust their feet of our situation. They wouldn’t touch it. 2 huge men said they were afraid to get under the house for fear it may fall on them. All 5 companies walked away saying that I should just “level the place” and build all over again or buy a mobile home and place it on my new-found wet land. Tears have flown from my eyes until they were sore and swollen. But, I am not defeated!

Rain Rain, go away

2 1/2 hours after the rain stopped

No. We are not defeated! My risen savior is Alive! We are protected and loved.

  • Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
  • Luke 1:37  “For nothing is impossible with God.”

Don’t take me wrong, I have been very upset during the last year and half while trying to save my home from ruin. I have sworn, said foul things, hibernate and tried to hide from the world,  threw my hands up in the air, and screamed in frustration!!  Then, the Lord brought some very important scriptures before me. It was like he allowed me to have my humanistic temper tantrum, then he sent me comfort. It poured in taking the form of many people and objects for a little while, then he stopped me all together and taught me several lessons.

  • Proverbs 10:19  “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

This one hit me like a tons of bricks. Immediately I felt guilty for the things I had said in selfish anger about our lives and our home. Once something is said though, it cannot be taken back. Once a wound has been inflicted, it leaves a visible scar as a reminder so we do not repeat the same injury. My words during my rants are my scars now. I have and will continue to learn from them.

  • Proverbs 27:1  “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”
  • Matthew 6:34   “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
  • James 4:13-14   “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

I was trying to be the conductor, the Supervisor, the CEO of my life and I thought I could fix it all.

         For those of you who know me well, you know this is not like me at all!  Previously, I had always lived my life 100% by faith and I knew I had no control over my life. I knew that God was in control and I would have never thought about trying to fill his shoes. So, what happened? When did I pick up all of my burdens and begin carrying them again? The answer to this one bites…When Nick died.

 I was in denial. During the grieving process there are many stages. Doctors, counselors, and psychiatrist will tell you about all the stages they believe you will go through as a survivor, but there is one stage that they omit. Selfishness. They will tell you that you will experience:

SHOCK & DENIAL

PAIN & GUILT

ANGER & BARGAINING

DEPRESSION, REFLECTION, LONELINESS

THE UPWARD TURN

RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH

and finally – ACCEPTANCE & HOPE

What they will not tell you is that somewhere mixed in the 7 stages of grief, you will become self-absorbed. So many people will tell you to “take time for yourself” cause “you deserve it”. You were a great person (just because you are sad and you could burst into uncomfortable tears at any moment) so “do something nice for yourself”. Afterall, you were “so strong” and you are a “survivor”.  People mean well when they say these things. As a widow, a surviving child, or a surviving parent – be careful that you do not follow in my path. I heard it over and over. I began to agree with it, even though it was wrong! I fell into the “let’s just make her feel better for now” trap. I let it go to my head. I became self-absorbed and I forgot from whence my help comes from.

I didn’t go out, hit up every bar in town, go clubbing often, change my hair and make-up, buy a whole new wardrobe, or become promiscuous. But, what I did led to a path of self-destruction just the same. Go through this post. Count how many times I have written I, Me, My, or Mine. The good thing is that I have finally been rebuked enough to learn from it 🙂 I cannot do anything on my own. I am nothing without God. I can do nothing without him. I, nor my family, can prosper without giving him 100% of the glory and praise.

  • Proverbs 27:17  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

The Lord revealed that he would send different people to us, one by one, to bless us.  I had to be obedient and accept the blessings to allow the person He sent to be blessed in return.

  • Proverbs 27:18   “The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored.”

God, my master, deserves all the honor and glory for every aspect of our existence.

  • Proverbs 27:19   “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.
  • Proverbs 27:20   “Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes.”

So, with these lessons learned in the swamp, from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. I am thankful today for the swamp. It’s not mine. It belongs to the Lord. Why was I worried that I would lose it? It’s not mine to lose. I am just a steward over it for a little while and after I am gone…someone else will be a steward over the swamp 🙂 I sincerely hope that the next person is not as stubborn as I was. I hope they are prosperous and lean-to the Lord for all their understanding so they are blessed beyond belief in that wet land 🙂

I am so tired now.

I am tired of saying “I“.

Guest Poetry – Bigger than No

Bigger Than No

Because…You Know

Written 11-3-2011 by Jim R Hensley

Photography by Christina Bruner

December

Halls Swamp

Have you ever prayed so hard, long, and positive that you just knew YES came from the Answered Prayer Store packaged in a YES bag, delivered by the AngelYes”?

Remember how you felt to know the answer was No, or at least the answer for now from heaven is NO. At this point, this will not change No Not Now.

This No is more of a life change than you think.

Have you grown past or above No? 

Of Course, we understand No especially if it’s a divine definite No. 

Are we obedient enough to humble ourselves even more and say to the Lord,

Yes, Lord Yes. Thank you for your No to me. I love you Lord and respect your decision. I know you see far enough ahead to protect me from myself now and in the future. Whether it be my mouth, my denial, or even if I am innocent…you have and do keep the evils of Yes from overtaking me, mine, and most of all Yours.  I am bigger than No because I know YouI know You are looking out for me. Your finality finalizes with No argument. You are My Answer and My Answerer.  If you always told me No, I would accept No.  If  Yes wasn’t in my understanding, I would settle into You… as I did in the beginning when I knew nothing of No or Yes.  Lord, thank you also for being the Yes of my Life. You are my balancer, weighing in on my substance. “?

Even the Yes, as positive as it is, is hard for me to believe.

I’ll say it:

I can’t believe You say No.

But when you say Yes, I’m in awe.  Thanks for your In-put.

Dec 2011 Decision Bridge at Halls Swamp

Decision Bridge at Halls Swamp

Post Concussion Syndrome

If banging my head hard enough to black out wasn’t enough of an eye opener, I’ve had an opportunity to see the compassionate nature of people & the uncaring, self absorbed part of a few people as well.

Plaqued by strange symptoms, fears of fading memories, and the anxiety that comes with this type of accident, have allowed me to see life differently again.

On Sunday night, July 10th, I had experienced enough pain in various places to scare me into going to the ER. Over the course of 3 days, my left leg kept going to sleep (numb) at random times. It didn’t last long at first, just a few minutes. Then I would have have a pain in my right arm. My head continued to pound an enormous drum. Then my right leg started to pain up, as if I had ciatica. I drove myself to Ft Sanders Hospital ER. There I had a CT scan done (after I peed in a cup because they thought I could be a druggee) or had a concussion. The Dr came to me a few hours later & told me that I would be fine. He said you have PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome). He told me to go home & sleep for 24 hrs, with no stress, noise, or bright lights.

Wow, this was sounding more & more like a migraine, not a concussion. I know migraines too well! Anyway, they decided that I just needed to rest.

To be honest, I’m not sure how I got home that evening. I don’t remember much from that point.
I actually don’t remember what I wrote above either. I must have written this entry the day of or the day after. I find myself with short term memory farts now. The one thing I do remember & may never forget is how my boss handled it.

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Incoming…Take cover!

First, I’ll say I am not against partying or having fun. My personal philosophy is to enjoy as much of every day possible. Now, on with this adventure…

Every year, around the 4th of  July, my neighbors decide it’s party time. They are evening drinkers every day after work & they love to have large get-togethers at their home for sporting events, birthdays, pool parties, etc. In this way, they are pretty normal neighbors. But, on July 4th, they get a bit extreme. They buy hundreds of dollars of fireworks, liquor, & beer inviting as many people into their home & pool as will squeeze into their space.

I love July 4th, the freedom it represents, seeing family, friends, the day off work, and the fireworks.

This year was different than last year though. The festivities started on Thursday, June 30th.  I got home from work around 7pm. The street I live on is a small, narrow, deadend – no outlet street. When I pulled in, I couldn’t get home. There were cars parked on the street (which is illegal where I live). This left no place to drive the short distance to my home. After a few minutes of sitting at the entrance of the road, an owner of one of the vechiles staggered into view & said:

“Well hi dare huney, Ount me ta move a car for too?”

I smiled, nodded my head in agreement, and tried not to giggle as he started his car. He backed into a car parked behind him, put the car in drive, drove straight into the car parked in front if him, then backed up again & pulled out. I don’t know where he went, but I never saw him again.
I finally made it to my driveway. About 5 hours later, the fireworks started. Ah, I love to watch fireworks. The colors, the smell, the way they light up the vibrant night sky and illuminate the evening.  It didn’t bother me at all…until I realized my house was under attack!
Throughout the evening, my neighbors had continued to drink & obviously they were wasted. They were aiming the fireworks at my house! Then, one hit my car. I’m was pretty ticked at this point.

I went outside and immediately I heard my drunken neighbors,

“Sorry Babydoll. Axxideeet. Really, Uhmmmm, wanna beer?”

I went to bed and prayed the house didn’t burn down in the middle of the night. Two days later on July 2nd, around 9pm, the fireworks started again.
This time two of my neighbors were shooting. Both neighbors were aiming over my house. Both neighbors were drunk off their arse and one was having a pool party. Some were shooting fireworks from their hands while in the pool! That’s New 😛
On July 3rd, I decided to arm myself with some fireworks of my own…so I could join in the fun & SHOOT back 🙂
We had been shooting back & forth at each other for 30 minutes when one neighbor called a truce. (I think I made a pretty impression on the trunk of his car with the Mini Pearls I launched his way.
So, the firework war has iced for now. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

On the flip side, the boys & my dog had a lot of fun.

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