Monday, October 19, 2009

My Future House

Now that I'm married and living in a three room apartment (bedroom, bathroom and living room/kitchen), I'm really looking forward to having my own house. I know that my wish for a house probably won't materialize for a year or two, but it's still fun to dream. What do I miss most about a house?
Well, the first thing would be having a front yard and backyard. We live on the third floor of our apartment building and therefore have a balcony, but it's definitely not the same. When I was younger, I used to hate the thought of gardening, but now, I'd love to have a backyard to plant flowers in. I'd love to have a backyard with a big tree and a swing and grass to mow. If we lived in the city, the backyard would be fenced in and my kitty Nibbles could go outside and play. I could sit outside and no one would be able to see me. With the balcony that we have now, it overhangs the parking lot so people can see me when I'm sitting outside. Also, the sun doesn't reach our balcony (even in the summer) so today, when it was a beautiful day and I wanted to sit outside in the sun, I couldn't. I still sat outside, but it was in the shade and I could only gaze longingly at the sun areas around me.
One of the other things that I really miss is having a washer and dryer. Yes, there are two of each in the basement of our building but those cost money. It would be cheaper to go to the laundromat down the street from us, but that would require having the time to sit at a laundromat, waiting for laundry to get done. At least when I do it downstairs, I can leave it down there and not really worry about it. However, I still need a block of time during the day to get one or two loads done. When we have a house with a washer and dryer, I could put laundry in at night and let it go and just switch it in the morning. It probably doesn't seem like a big thing, but it's really getting to be a nuisance. So, I can't wait till we have our own house with our own washer and dryer.
The last thing I really miss is having our own property. Here at our apartment, we own nothing except what's in the apartment. When we buy a house, that house and the 1/2 acre or acre is our own.... well, it'll be the bank's for awhile, but you get what I mean. We wouldn't have to worry about doing car maintenance because we'd have a little garage to do it in. Here at the apartment, they don't want people working on their cars in the parking lot so you have to find somewhere else to do it. If we had a garage, we could clean out our cars when they get dirty. Here, there's no where to plug in a vacuum or run a hose. Everywhere we walk, someone else owns it. We pay money every month, but for what? It's not an investment. There's nothing long-term that we're putting the money towards. If we didn't pay our rent next month, we'd get kicked out and what would we have to show for the past eight months of paying rent? Nothing. There's nothing long-term about an apartment, nothing to make it really feel like your permanent home.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm very glad to have this apartment and I know that we're getting a pretty good deal on this one. Also, our building is going to be renovated in a couple months and then it'll be even better. And yes, our little apartment does feel like home right now. But I long for something that will be ours, mine and Daniel's. Our own house. Our own garage. Our own yard with a tree and grass. Our own home where we can have children and raise a family. It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Civil War

For the last several months, I've been reading a book called "The Civil War: Strange and Fascinating Facts." (The reason it took me so long is because it's a "bathroom book", not because I'm a slow reader :)) For those of you who know me well, you know that I love American history and I especially love the Civil War and the Old West.
I think that one of the most fascinating things about the Civil War is how much the Confederates believed in their cause. In fact, I'm convinced that if the South had as many soldiers as the North was able to supply, the South would have won the war. The South believed much more strongly in their cause than the North did. The South was fighting for one thing and one thing only: they wanted the right to decide, to choose, for themselves. Despite what a lot of people will say, the war wasn't about slavery, at least not for the South. The war was about whether or not a state could decide for itself if it wanted to have slavery. Southerners were fiercely independent. Unlike today, states, not the federal government, had the most power. And the people in the Southern states wanted the states, not the federal government, to decide about slavery. Many Southerners had decided that, if Lincoln was elected, they would secede. They knew that Lincoln would try to abolish slavery (whether or not he actually would have will never be known). The South was united behind The Cause.
However, it was a different story in the Northern states. Many people in the North were disconnected from what was going on. Men and women got up each day, went to work in the fields or factories, went home at night, ate supper and went to bed. Yes, many of them didn't want slavery and believed it was wrong, but they also had more important things to worry about. After all, it wasn't their way of life that was being threatened. In fact, in the North at that time, there were many people who had never even seen a black person. These men and women would go to church on Sunday and their preacher might expound on the evils of slavery and many of the men knew that, if it came to war, they would fight. "But... what exactly would I be fighting for? To end slavery? Well, sure, that's a noble cause, I suppose. But if I go to war, who will take care of my family? With seven children under the age of fourteen, I need to be here at home."
Granted, not all Northerners thought this way. In fact, many of the youth who signed up were looking forward to fighting those "Johnny Rebs". But why were they fighting? The adventure, of course. And then there were those Northerners who would fight forever if it would mean the end of slavery. However, if the Northerners were fighting to end slavery, than they were fighting for something that was different than what the South was fighting for. The South was fighting for the right to choose, to decide for themselves. The North was fighting to end slavery.
However, when Lincoln declared war on the South, it wasn't to end slavery! He declared war because he didn't think the Southern states had the right to secede. It wasn't until the end of 1862 and beginning of 1863 that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Which, if you really think about it, was a mildly ridiculous thing to do. At that point, the war was only half over and the North was certainly not decisively winning. In fact, until the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), the South seemed to be winning. Sure, Lincoln said that all the slaves were free... and who in the South was going to listen to him or carry out his orders?
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm glad Lincoln put an end to slavery. I think it's morally reprehensible that one race of people thinks they can treat another race of people like they're animals. But the sequence of events seems confusing. If the only cause that the Northerners would unite behind was an end to slavery (which, by and large, is why they were fighting), why would Lincoln wait so long to issue the Emancipation Proclamation? Because Lincoln himself didn't declare war to end slavery. He declared war to bring the Southern states back into the Union.
The Southern states wanted the right to choose, so they seceded when they thought that right would be threatened. Lincoln declared war because he didn't think that the Southern states had the right to just leave the Union. However, in the North, the widespread reason for the war was to end slavery.
Ironically, the very way of life that the South was fighting to defend was their downfall. The South produced cotton, not guns or ammunition or powder or uniforms or ships or men. Plus, because of the large number of slaves, the white population was extremely small compared to the white population in the North. The South was fighting to defend a way of life that couldn't even support their fight to defend it.
Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts on the Civil War.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stand By Your Man

A few days ago when I was skimming www.foxnews.com, something I do several times a day if I can, I came across a rather interesting article that I'd like to share with you, my readers. Here's the link if you want to read it: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,559360,00.html.
The article is about the political wives who've stood by their men when their men have been caught cheating on them, whether it be with other women or other men. The interesting thing about this article is that all these wives are portrayed as "good wives" for standing by their men. Most of these women (I can't say all, since I don't know the whole story for some of them) are, in my opinion, weak-willed women who have become doormats. Now, you might be surprised that I'd say that. Didn't these women do the right thing in standing by their man when he was caught cheating? Weren't they right to forgive and forget? Shouldn't they be heralded for having the strength to stick it out through the tough times? The short answers are: no, yes, and no.
Now, before you get the wrong idea about me, I completely disagree with divorce in every single case except marital unfaithfulness (which is the only instance where God allows it). Divorce is always always always wrong except when one or the other spouse is caught cheating. Okay, I think I've made myself clear on divorce. So, because these men were caught cheating, am I saying that these women should have divorced them? That is one question I can't answer. However, the point I'm trying to get to is this: standing by your man (or woman, if your wife is caught cheating) is not always a good thing, is not always the right thing and, in many cases, can make the situation worse. If I could sit down and talk to these women, I'd ask them one question. Where's the consequences for your husband's actions? These men cheated. In God's eyes, these wives would be justified in divorcing their husbands. If they decide to stay and try to work it out, that's their decision and it's neither wrong nor right. However, there still needs to be consequences. Where was the phone call where the wife tells her husband that his belongings are out on the front lawn and he isn't allowed back home until he's ready to fix this and promise that it'll never happen again? From a political point of view, these men regretted what they did - most of them had to resign whatever office they were holding and were disgraced in the public eye. But that's just humiliation and can be forgotten. (And public humiliation evidently isn't a good deterrent because men keep on getting caught cheating and have to resign). Now that these men don't hold political office anymore, they don't have to worry about public humiliation. So what's stopping them from cheating again? Why did they do it in the first place? Somewhere along the line, they crossed a line in their head that said they could cheat on their wife. How did that happen? Does the wife, perhaps, hold some responsibility in the matter? (And no, it's never the other spouse's fault when the first spouse cheats, but they still can hold some responsibility). If these men knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their belongings would be out on the front lawn and they wouldn't be allowed back home if they were caught cheating, would these men still have cheated? I don't know. What I do know is, their belongings weren't out on the front lawn. In some cases, their wives covered for them. If these husbands cheated again, they know their wives would still be there for them, supporting them, covering for them. So where's the deterrent? What's stopping them from cheating again? (In the case of John Edwards, he's still seeing his mistress. The whole standing by your man thing didn't do a lot of good, now did it? Maybe if she'd had some consequences for him at the time, she could've either saved their marriage or ended the agony at that point.)
If my husband knew that he could cheat and I'd still be here for him and there'd be no consequences, there's a much better chance that he'd cheat. However, he knows that if he cheats, he'll lose his family. So even if he weren't an honorable man (which he is), that, in and of itself, would be a good deterrent. It takes a pretty morally-corrupt man to cheat when he knows he'll be kicked out of his house and lose his family. (I don't like using my husband as an example here, because I know he'd never cheat on me. However, I can't use any other husband as an example since he's the only one that I've got :))
For those wives, strength is not standing by your man, no matter what. Strength is telling your man: "ya know what? You cheated on me. You broke your vows to me and to God. We're going to be separated for the next six months as I work through the pain and betrayal. During that time, I'll decide if I'm willing to stay with you or if I'm going to divorce you." These men obviously don't value their wives and families. Maybe when they're faced with the possibility of losing it all, it'll knock some sense into them.
Why is it that, in the marriage relationship, consequences are seen as a bad thing and in every other relationship, are seen as a good thing? Your pet makes a mess on the carpet right in front of you, he gets a spank. Your child steals from the store, he gets grounded. You steal from the store, you're thrown in jail. You sin, God punishes you. Why is it that, when an egregious offense is committed in marriage, there's no consequences? It doesn't make sense.
One last thing - forgiveness is not an option. You have to forgive your husband or wife, no matter what.
Tough love is not easy but it is necessary.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What Did He Say?

As I was reading Revelation tonight ("The Ending", so to speak), I also was thinking about "The Beginning". I was thinking about Satan's arrogance, his desire to be God, his deception of 1/3 of the angels, and his fall from heaven. And, dear readers, I would like you to think about something and give me an answer if you can.
Satan was able to deceive 1/3 of all the angels in heaven. Think about that. He didn't just deceive 1 or 2 or even 10 or 20. He deceived 1/3 of them. And, considering Jesus said, at the time of his crucifixion, that He could call 12 legions (a legion is 4,500 to 6,000) of angels to come and rescue Him if He so desired, there must be a heck of a lot of angels. These angels were living in heaven... with God. Everything was perfect, there was no suffering, no tears, no pain. And they weren't even people, they were angels! Would you leave a place like that? I doubt it. And yet, Satan got 1/3 of the angels to follow him. So my question is, what did he say? What could Satan possibly have said to them to get them to follow him when they were living in a perfect place with God Himself? What did he say?

God Gets The Blame

There's a saying "God gets all the blame but none of the credit." I was thinking about that tonight as I was reading the end of Revelation, about the Second Coming, the Last Battle, the Thousand Year Reign, etc. When something bad happens, God usually gets blamed... "if God really loved me, fill in the blank wouldn't have happened. Why would He let this happen?" And yet, that statement shows how "this life" focused people are. I think that, if Christians were really kingdom focused, there'd be a lot less blaming and a lot more praising. When a Christian sins, what keeps him from immediately being punished and sent to hell? God's love and mercy and forgiveness. The simple fact that we aren't all headed straight to hell is a testament of how much God loves us. The fact that we're still on earth (Jesus hasn't come back yet) is a testament of how much He loves us. God continuously gives us second chances to get things right. Yet, we're so caught up in the things that happen here on earth that we can't see the bigger picture, we can't see God's goodness through the fog of badness. Bad things happen, yes, but think of how much worse they could be. Yes, your house burned down, but at least no one died. Why does God get the blame for the house burning down but doesn't get the praise that no one died? A world completely devoid of goodness, kindness, love and mercy is a world where God doesn't love people. While those things still exist, we can be assured that God still loves us. And yes, a world devoid of those things DOES exist... it's called hell.