Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A hard few days . . .

This past Thursday, I had a doctor's appointment where I was told that I needed to get back on the low/no-carb diet I had been on. I caved on the low-carb diet after two and a half weeks because I was tired of being hungry all the time. I was told that I needed to do this diet because I have arterial/gut inflammation.  I am supposed to go back to the doc in six weeks and then maybe they can add some carbs back into the diet then.

I also had a treatment done on my bladder for chronic bladder pain, a treatment which is not covered by insurance. The supplements I take through this doctor are rather pricey as well. And Matthew sees a naturopath, which also isn't covered by insurance and who can also be very pricey. Hanging over my head is the massive student loan debt we have. The loans are on deferral for right now.

I feel like the woman with the issue of blood who spent everything she had on doctors, and instead, got worse. My husband seems to think it would be good for me to go get a part-time job. He's ignoring the fact that someone has to watch Matthew during the summers. I'm afraid to ask God for total healing, or for financial relief, because what if he says no? And I'm afraid to ask others for help because I am afraid of being told "no" in such a way that will make me sorry I asked to begin with, or "yes" in such a way that the person is really saying, I hope you realize that I'm really putting myself out to do this for you.

I have been totally depressed for the last several days. No one else in my family will eat like I eat. My husband doesn't see the need to, and Matthew is such a picky eater that I just don't feel like dying on that particular hill. And sometimes I wonder, who's telling the truth about food or about health? I don't know who to believe half the time, or who to trust.

Saturday I went shopping for some paleo wraps that were recommended to me. Seven of them cost 12.99. THAT IS CRAZY! And then at Costco, when I was at the checkout counter, I discovered I'd left my debit card at home and I had to put back half the stuff that I'd gotten. 

To give you an idea of what the response on Facebook was to my posting about the diet and other issues, I'll give you a few examples:  

--Several nice messages of support
--Advice to try eating gluten-free (we've tried twice and no one else will eat it.  Matthew doesn't like it and Frank doesn't like it.)
--Run from the naturopath and find a "real" doctor.  (I started going to these people because "real" doctors 
couldn't diagnose the periodic fatigue I've been having.)
--Put all your faith in God, and do what he says and tithe.  (We do tithe.  We have it set up to where our contribution is automatically deducted from our account on the first of the month.)

I can't shake these feelings of depression and failure.  This one has really hit me hard, and I don' t know why.

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

Monday, March 31, 2014

When all else fails, buy a beanie propeller hat . . .

I haven't been having a good day these last few days.  Part of it is my own fault.  I am off a med because I didn't call my doc before the med ran out, and now I'm waiting for him either to a) call in a prescription or b) wait until Friday for my appointment.  I have left a grand total of THREE messages for him.  The med I am off of is Cymbalta.

The withdrawal from this drug has been pure hell.  Minor nausea, headache, lack of sleep, irritability. The one thing I can say is that I haven't eaten anyone alive--yet--and I don't think I've snapped at anyone--yet.  And I've been trying to keep my sense of humor about me.

I hoarded a pill until last night, because I have to drive today.  So I took the last Cymbalta pill I had last night.  I'm feeling better, but if I don't get the script this week, I will be feeling awful until Friday.  I called my pharmacy and they don't have samples for me.

Yesterday Matthew's tablet decided to go on the fritz.  I think it's a problem with the charger.  I've ordered two chargers and they should be here in a few days.  But if it's not the charger, I may have to send it in to be fixed, and I'm not looking forward to Matthew's reaction when I have to tell him that.

I'm also not terribly happy with certain current events, and I just feel a sense of helplessness there.

So what does all this have to do with a beanie propeller hat?

Well, tomorrow is April Fool's Day, and I couldn't think of a prank to play on my ladies' group (which meets tomorrow).  So I decided to wear a funny hat . . . like a beanie propeller hat.

I went looking for a hat at Party City, and found two appropriate ones:

One is a beanie propeller hat, the other is a jester's hat.

I feel better already.

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

Monday, March 24, 2014

"The cool kids" revisited . . .

My Little Pony has been trending recently in the cyberworld, but it's not for reasons that the company would like.  

A 9-year-old boy was told he could not bring his My Little Pony backpack to school because it might be a distraction.  He had been the target of bullies who were bullying him about the backpack.  

The story went viral, and public outcry was such that the decision was reversed and the boy can now carry the backpack to school.

I fear, though, that the boy has already been targeted because of the publicity.  

I also wondered, if the person carrying the backpack was considered "hip", "cool", or "in", would he/she have been the target of bullying?

Back in 2009, I wrote on my previous blog the following about "the cool kids".  

Some time ago, I heard Matthew singing the theme to “Wonder Pets” while he was watching an episode.  [Note:  Matthew was ten when I wrote this; he's now 15 and hasn't watched "Wonder Pets" in some time.]

The first thing I thought was, “If he were a so-called ‘normal’ kid and anyone found out he still liked Wonder Pets (Matthew was about eight or nine at the time), he would never hear the end of it.”

And then I thought, “If Rosie O’Donnell had a kid Matthew’s age who said they liked Wonder Pets, the ratings of Nick Jr. would immediately go through the roof.”

Sometimes I really do think that the whole world is run by “the cool kids”. They were the ones we wanted to be like in high school. If they had an outfit, we wanted it. If they wore their hair a certain way, we did the same thing. If they were in a particular club, everyone else wanted to be in it. Everyone looked up to them and wanted to be like them. They set the trends, they set the styles, and woe be unto anyone that didn’t conform.

Knitting wasn’t cool until Julia Roberts said that she knitted. Now knitting is considered a “cool” thing to do.

Recently Madonna was photographed wearing a fanny pack. The accompanying caption read something along the lines of how fanny packs were considered frumpy but that Madonna was bringing them back.

At the presidential inauguration, Malia and Sasha Obama wore J. Crew coats. Within a week, sales of J. Crew skyrocketed.

Who remembers E.T.? Remember how the sales of Reese’s Pieces skyrocketed after they were featured in the movie?

And who remembers how the whole “spring break in Fort Lauderdale” tradition started? It was with a movie, “Where the Boys Are”, back in 1962.

I heard on NPR a while back [note:  towards the beginning of his term in 2009] that President Obama could get away with a lot because, “he’s hip, he’s cool”.

Apparently if you have the reputation of being “cool”, anything goes. You can do anything and people will want to do it because you did it.

More recently, it seems that “the cool kids” on the Internet are people who are liberal, Democratic, and who attachment-parent their kids and do nothing but breast-feed. They get about 200 responses to their posts and most of them agree with the poster. The people that don’t agree? The “cool kids” are able to out-argue and out-scream them.

Back in high school, it seemed that one of the trends was the Adidas T-shirt. Well, I got one because it seemed like most of the popular kids were wearing them. When I wore it to school, I overheard someone say that they would never wear an Adidas shirt again.

Later, someone came up to me and asked me, “Did you go to the Adidas concert?”  (Now, how are you supposed to answer that, when you KNOW that no matter what you say, you’re going to look like a fool, and the whole reason that question was asked was to MAKE you look like a fool!)

In the church I was part of in college, “the cool kids” were the ones who invited a lot of people to church, got a lot of people to come, studied the Bible with a lot of people, and helped convert people to Christianity. They were the ones held up as examples, and the implication was that we needed to be like them.

I’ve never been considered one of “the cool kids” in my life, at least not that I’m aware of. I’m shy and I don’t do very well in social situations. I don’t argue well. I don’t know how to figure out the perfect comeback on the fly.

Sometimes I want to know, by what right were the rules invented that made some people “cool” and some people “not cool”? What makes a “cool kid”?

I think also I just plain resent the fact that I never have been a “cool kid”. A while back, I gave up discussing politics because I was tired of being slammed for my opinions. I’m a Christian, conservative, and a Republican, and in too many people’s eyes, those are the three strikes that put me OUT of the ballgame. Not only do I have the wrong opinion, I’m not even supposed to have an opinion to begin with!

When I’ve talked about how it’s a bad idea to have government-run health care because of funding problems–and I say this as the mother of someone who DOES get Medicaid–I have been told that I don’t care about my son because I don’t think taxpayer funded health care is a good idea. Trying to explain my position only led to more fighting. (I am still hurt by this incident and there are days I despair of forgiving the person who said it.) [Note:  I am making progress with the forgiveness.]

On the other hand, in the “Christian, conservative and Republican” area, “the cool kids” are the ones who bash Barack Obama at every opportunity and who continue to insist (without ANY concrete evidence) that Obama is NOT a citizen of the US and that he is a secret Muslim. (Note: copies of a supposedly false birth certificate posted on the Internet don’t count as “proof” in my book. Anyone can digitize anything and post it and say it’s real.)

When I said on a group that Obama isn’t a Muslim, I was asked, “Can you prove he’s not?” I shot back, “Can you prove he IS??” (The one way to prove that Obama IS a Muslim would be to find out if he’s ever recited what is called the “shahadah”, which is basically their declaration of faith–similar to a Christian’s getting baptized.)

It makes me angry that I don’t argue or debate well, because I think I do have some good, reasonable arguments for my positions and I think I have some good, reasonable reasons for why I think the way I do.

But because I’m not one of “the cool kids”, the odds that *my* opinions are going to be heard aren’t that high. Because I really think that “the cool kids” expect everyone to listen to them and agree with them–but to ask a “cool kid” to give the same respect to someone else is asking the impossible.

Mitchell Russo’s video of “The In Crowd” sort up sums up some of what I think at times. (I’ve seen it on Disney; it has aired during some of my son’s favorite programs.)

Spin away the combination for the last time
Say goodbye to this year
I wish I could avoid the empty summer days that await me.
The fakers smile goodbye celebrating their new freedom
I sit alone on the couch
Wondering why

I wonder what it’s like to have it all
To never be afraid that I would fall
But I don’t think I’ve ever known a time
That I was part of the in crowd

Here we go another day another disgrace
Fall flat on my face
I wish I had a bunch of money
Catch a plane head out west
Go on and play around
All full of the fans and freedom
I sit alone on the couch
Wondering why

I wonder what it’s like to have it all
To never be afraid that I would fall
But I don’t think I’ve ever known a time
That I was part of the in crowd

Chorus [#2]:
Doesn’t anyone here live an original life
What did you surrender to be on the inside,
When you disappear they won’t remember your name
And you’ll fade away and someone takes your place.
Takes your place
In the in crowd

Spin away the combination for the last time
Say goodbye to this year
I wish I could avoid the empty summer days that await me
The fakers smile goodbye celebrating their new freedom
I sit alone on the couch
But I’m ready to fly

I wonder what it’s like to have it all
To never be afraid that I would fall
But I don’t think I’ve ever known a time
I wonder what it’s like to have it all
To never be afraid that I would fall
But I don’t think I’ve ever known a time
That I was part of the in crowd.

Of the in crowd
In the in crowd

I don’t need anything that I can’t find in me
I’m alive I have been out of line at the end
Waiting for something more something new to begin
Waiting for something more someway to fit in

In the in crowd
In the in crowd

I guess I want to know that if *I* said something or did something, I could at least be respected for it without having to be a “cool kid”. But I fear that the odds are against me.

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What happened?

I recently located a person I went to church with down in Miami.  One of the things we talked about was the split into independent house churches.  She made this observation:  "I have never been with a more 'right' group of people!  They were 'right' when they believed one thing and then 'right' when they believed something else . . .always 'right'."

That statement neatly sums up my frustrations with many things religious these days.

It also brought up this question for me:

What happened?

When the decision was made in Miami to split into independent house churches, it was touted as "the Biblical way" to meet.  My husband, on the other hand, is of the opinion that the main reason for the split was financial--we were about to lose the building we were meeting in and this was just a very convenient way to get us out from under property that we could no longer afford.

I really don't know which story is true.  I do know that our old minister had dropped comments about "the way the early church met" into his sermons before the decision to split was made.  I also know that we were in a very, very bad spot financially.  We bought a building we couldn't afford, counting on an increase in membership to support it.  (That was called "living by faith" or "stepping out on faith".)  Well, we never got the membership increase we thought we were going to get.

So what happened?  What in the world triggered this decision?

I have that question with so many events in the world, in my life, in other peoples' lives . . . I know of several people who have gone through divorces.  What happened?  What turned them against each other?  What brought them to the point of deciding that they could no longer go through with a marriage?

I don't completely know the story of the split that resulted in the church that I attended in Tallahassee, Florida.  The split happened before I came on the scene, and the story I was given was that those that split away were somehow "more committed" than those that didn't split.  (I got the same impression with the split that happened in Miami--that those who went with the house churches were somehow "more spiritual" than those who didn't.)  Well, if you talk to people on the other side of the Tallahassee split, you will hear that there was a takeover attempt by the "more committed" group.  So what happened?

I dated a guy in college, who also attended my church, and we eventually stopped because he told me that he just wasn't sure if I was "the one".  (Which I could respect).  He left the church about a year later.  I have no idea what led up to his decision.  What happened?

Even back farther in my history:  what in the world happened that led people to start bullying me?

The biggest "what happened" in the news lately has been the disappearance of Malaysian Air Flight 370. Ten days ago, it went off radar and no sign of the plane or of its passengers has been found.  So the question is obviously:  what happened?

With some of my own personal "what happened" questions:  I don't know how much of the answers are my business (as to why certain people got divorced.)

And I guess I want closure that I may never get.

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sigh . . .

I think I picked the wrong thing to give up for Lent.  The second day, I had to crawl back into bed because I was just too sleepy . . . and I think it caused an adrenaline crash later in the week, because I have been just "out of it" off and on since then.  I stayed home from church on Sunday.

So, no Lenten reflections for right now.

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lenten reflections, day one . . .

I struggled to stay awake this morning.  But so far, I have resisted the call of the nap.

What I added in its place was a reading from a devotional our minister did at the beginning of this year.  This was actually written as a lead-up to the announcement of the new plans for our church.  I'm afraid I didn't read through the postings then, but I also figure that it's better late than never.  (Our current sermon series can be found here.)

I also went to the daily prayer at the Church of England's website--which is a stretch for me, since I am not Anglican or high church anything. :-)

This is Ash Wednesday.  Yesterday was Mardi Gras.  I'm afraid that my perception of Mardi Gras is that of "one last orgy by Catholics before you have to repent and be good for Lent".  (And maybe that is how some people practice it.)  I didn't go to a Mardi Gras parade, nor did I eat pancakes or paczki (a Polish donut traditionally eaten on Fat Tuesday.)

Today I will not be going to an Ash Wednesday service.  But this morning, I read through our minister's devotional and prayed, and I read through the Church of England prayers and prayed, trying to make it as personal as possible.

This is a day, traditionally among Catholics (and other churches) calling for repentance and renewal.  One of the CofE readings was from Psalm 51.

I want more from my prayers than just beginning with, "Dear God, thank you for this day . . ." listing off my prayer requests--usually phrased as, "Dear God, be with . . . Dear God, bless . . . Dear God, help . . ." and ending with the sing-songy recitation of, "In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."  That is ritual, and I don't want that.

I want a deeper walk with Jesus.

And that is why I am doing Lent this year.

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


This year, I am going to do something that I have never done before.

I grew up Baptist and I never did it.

I became a member of the Church of Christ at 18, and still have never done it.

I, Tina Seward, am going to observe Lent.

Okay, any of you that know me are probably thinking, "You're doing what? Observing what? Have you turned Catholic on us? Or, at the least, high church?"

No, I have not converted to Catholicism, or any other "high church" religion.

I have just heard about people doing it and have wondered about doing it myself for a while now.  So why not do it this year?

Lent is the 40-day period leading up to Easter.  Many Christians use this as a time of preparation parallel to Christ's 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan.  I think most of us are familiar with Lent when we heard about someone "giving up something for Lent".  Usually, it's along the lines of chocolate or other luxuries.  Some decide to fast from the Internet.

Here's some information about Lent from About.com: 

Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting,repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.
Not all Christian churches observe Lent. Lent is mostly observed by the LutheranMethodist,Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman CatholicsEastern Orthodox churches observe Lent or Great Lent, during the 6 weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Orthodox Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday (called Clean Monday) and Ash Wednesday is not observed.
Since I'm not Catholic, I don't plan to have ashes put on my forehead tomorrow.  
But I do know what I'm going to give up for Lent.
I have fallen into a bad habit of going back to bed after Matthew leaves for school.  What I'm trying to do is to break that habit so I can be more productive during the day.  And perhaps it will help me sleep better at night.
For my devotional reading, I'm going to use the readings at this website, which is our minister's introduction to our "Love First" theme.  I didn't do it when we were really supposed to be doing it as a congregation.  Perhaps now is a good time. 
So, Happy Mardi Gras everyone.  I'll see you on Ash Wednesday.
Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.