Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chicken Nuggets, Trick-or-Treat & Disney Porn?

Two things that amaze me:

Firstly, it never ceases to amaze me how some issues get BLOWN-UP in the media.   Aren't there enough problems in the world without making up dumb things to worry about?   This is America people!   We are ALL free to believe whatever we want.   For purposes of this story, I'll call the current morality crisis the "Chicken People" crisis & the people involved the "Chicken Peeps".  I use the term "crisis" loosely.  I don't really think there is one.  I, personally, think the flames are being fanned by a competitor or a media outlet.  IF the Chicken Peeps were denying service or employment to gay people...THAT WOULD BE A STORY!   That would be a reason to boycott.   The fact that the owner doesn't like gay marriage or gay people... who cares?  I don't know him & will never meet him.  If I took the time to research every business owner's personal beliefs, I'd probably stop shopping anywhere!   

Secondly,  it also amazes me that some groups have such double standards.    The same groups picketing for Muslim groups to have the right to open a mosque near Ground Zero are against Christian groups taking a stand on ANYTHING.    The same groups who climb trees to protect a spotted owl's life think it's perfectly acceptable to kill an unborn child?  Tell me how that makes sense?   To me, life is life.  Respect it or not.  But that's another subject entirely.   Getting back to the topic at hand, let me quickly tell you my beliefs.  Anyone who knows me can tell you that I'm not religious.  I am, however, very spiritual.  I love Jesus & He loves me.   I believe everyone has the right, in this country, to practice their beliefs without interference or bullying.     

Ironically, this crazy situation reminds me of others that I can recall in my adult lifetime.  Funnily enough, some of them stirred into a frenzy by the very people standing to "defend" the Chicken Peeps.   Here are just a couple of examples:

THE DEVIL HOLIDAY -  Back in the 80's many church leaders suddenly decided that Halloween was a "devil holiday" & tried to shame their congregations into not participating.  I, at the time, even felt guilty & made my kids stop trick or treating for a few years.  Not because I felt convicted about participating in this fun holiday, filled with wonderful family memories for me, but because I felt bullied by my peers.   Thankfully I realized how ludicrous the whole notion was & let my kids enjoy their childhood treats, as I did.  

EVIL DISNEY ANIMATORS - Let's never forget the supposedly embedded, secret messages in Disney animated features.  Somebody, apparently with lots of time on their hands, slowed the films down & accused Disney animators of  putting hidden messages in them.  Example:  The Genie in Aladdin supposedly is heard telling "teenagers to take off their clothes"? Really?  Why would somebody go to all the trouble to say that?   How dumb. But it was top news for a while & I personally know a few families who cancelled their trips to Disney World because of it!  There are probably still some folks that believe it.   How gullible we can all be sometimes. 

Of course for there to be a morality crisis, there has to be leaders.  We all know somebody who always seems to be on the front lines of the latest morality crisis & leading the charge of the controversy front & center, on Facebook or other social media.   I sometimes wonder if those self-same people would have been present when the National Guard were trying to protect those sweet little black children walking into an all-white schoolhouse in Alabama in the 60's which side they would be standing on?   Would they be standing toe-to-toe yelling hate messages straight out of the bible?... or would they be giving those precious children of God smiles & encouraging words?  

Life can be so confusing sometimes.   We are all crammed onto this little planet & we'll always have one crisis or another.  We'll always have hate, bullies & those who just like to stir the pot.  I'm so thankful that there is a GOD & that He loves us.  With that fact, comes hope.  Let's all remember that God told us above all, to LOVE..... on that note, here are some things I LOVE: 

  • I LOVE JESUS (and btw..HE loves me too)..... 
  • I LOVE ChickfilA (not because of any cause--but because they got some slammin' chicken & biscuits :) 
  • I LOVE gay people (my son is gay & he's one of the best human beings on this planet & he has NO maniacal plans to take over the world..he's just trying to live his life with love & laughter)...
  • I LOVE Halloween & trick-or-treat & silly costumes (some of my favorite childhood memories)...
  • I LOVE dogs, cats, owls & most animals (don't like lizards but I don't wish them dead just want them to stay clear of me lol)...
  • I LOVE old people & little people (and I don't mean "little" little people"..I mean children...but that doesn't mean I don't like "little" little people. I just don't know any....
  • I LOVE people who LOVE others, even if they don't agree with them about every single thing (sort of like Jesus)...

If you don't like what I LOVE... it's okay..I LOVE You anyway..but if you don't want to be my friend any more.. just hit the big old DELETE button... I may not notice but I'll love you anyway :)

What do you love?   

Take good care,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Poem

I love to write.  I've always loved to read & write.  Some of my favorite memories as a child are spent with my nose stuck in a book.  I was a shy little girl and the living, breathing definition of a "book worm".   I grew up in a great old house with plenty of nooks & secret places to read.   One of my momma's favorite stories is the time I fell asleep while reading behind a loveseat in the parlor.   We had 10' windows that you could literally walk through and my sisters & I used to take the very long drapes and make ourselves a little "tent" with the drapery panel over the loveseats. It was the perfect place to hide & enjoy the cool breeze.   One summer day I crawled underneath the loveseat with a "tent" to read & apparently I fell asleep (which was my 2nd favorite thing to do, behind reading).  My momma was working & my daddy was home.  She called him to check in & he thought she'd taken me to work.   My momma flew into a panic when she realized I'd been missing.  Apparently it caused quite a stir.   They were tearing apart the neighborhood looking for me & all the while I was fast asleep tucked out of site beneath the love seat.   My poor daddy was so happy to see me he almost crushed me to death with his hugs! 

I also loved to visit the Jackson Library.   The librarians were the Turnipseed sisters, Ms. Dot & Ms. Nell.   They looked so much alike I would forget which was which.  In fact, I think Ms. Dot was actually the librarian but Ms. Nell would fill in for her sometimes, but I'm not really positive.  I can still remember the musty smell of that old building & the I LOVED the particular smell of cracking open one of the many books I checked out every summer. 

My love of reading has fueled my love of writing.    I have at least 4 books in various stages of completion.   I may never finish any of them, but I think it's the actual writing that I enjoy so I'm okay with that.  My son, Garrett, is also a writer at heart and he's quite good at it.  Since I read to my boys almost every night & treasure books I like to think it's a love I've passed on to them all.    Nowadays I get the extreme privilege of reading to my grandsons.  Their mom (my daughter-in-law) is also a book lover so who knows?  The next great American writer may be named Shotwell!  

I also love poetry.   I've been thinking and reading a lot about heaven lately.  I was outside the other day making shapes out of clouds & this came to me.  As a Christian, I have NO fear of death.  In fact, I know when it's my time I have some lovely things to look forward too.    This is my attempt at sharing how I think it'll feel to leave my earthly body & enter God's Kingdom:

A ship’s silence pushing forth into depths unknown
            A soul breaks free, adrift to Glory.

Bathed in golden light and joy unspoken.
             Suspended aloft in peace overwhelming.

All doubt cast aside beyond mind’s understanding.
            Fullness of knowledge dissolving all fear.

Cindy Shotwell  © 2012

Take good care,

Friday, July 6, 2012

To Heaven & Back

I rarely find a book that I feel strongly enough about to share with others.   Of course, I love my fiction.   As any of my friends will tell you, I'm a huge fan of John Irving & Larry McMurtry, among others.    Of late, however, I've been on a non-fiction kick.  My summer reading up 'til now has consisted of reading journals & diaries from the Civil War, WWII & western frontier eras.   All of these are written by women.  I LOVE to know what other women were thinking as they faced adversities & different social situations.   What always surprises me is that people are basically the same now as they've always been.   Human nature is a constant.  

That being said, I recently stumbled upon another non-fiction book that literally has changed my life & the way I think.  That doesn't happen very often.  Overall I consider myself to be a pretty opened minded person; however, I have very well thought-out opinions and belief systems.   This book didn't so much as change those as it did give me a different perspective on life & death.

I am a professing Christian.   (Notice I didn't mention a particular religion.  I believe God CAN use ALL religions to reach different personalities.)   Admittedly, some of my beliefs may be considered sort of "out there" by some.   I have had many encounters with God throughout my life & have a healthy sense of my soul & spiritual things.   Maybe that's why I was so open to this particular book.  That being said, I've worked out in the world enough to also have a healthy dose of skepticism.  This book, I believe, is "the real deal".

It's a little book called To Heaven and Back. It's written by Dr. Mary Neal.   Dr. Neal is an orthopedic surgeon.  This probably is why her writing style is very concise and clear.  It reads sometimes more like a narrative than a story.   But, that's also precisely why it's so easy to read.   The story covers both her death experience after a boating accident over 10 years ago & also the loss of her son.   The thoughts & feelings she shares are both moving & real.   I rarely cry when reading books; however, this book moved me to tears, twice.  First, at the beauty of her descriptions of heaven and heavenly beings who accompanied her on her journey.  Secondly, at the rawness of emotion that was evident after the death of her son & her later revelations about his life.    As a mom of sons,  it's my greatest fear to lose them.

This book both affirmed some beliefs that I already have and also made me look at some things in a different perspective.     It also stirred my spirit and prodded me to do the things that I know God wants me to do with my life & stop procrastinating so much.  It's a great reminder that we are all too busy with "busy" things when we should be trying to find out who we are and what we're here for.

I've included the link to the book below.    Enjoy & God Bless you!

Take good care,