Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Free! Live Life Without Being Sressed Out.

Right off, I want you to know, I put the word "Free" in the title because I was amazed that people really wanted to sell their answer to how to be less stressed. Not only that, but a bunch of people wanted to pay to get a program, training, book, seminar, DVD, etc. to learn stress-free techniques.

I am not selling anything in my post. So you may be able to relax, and just read.

"Are you too stressed out? I need your opinion on this" ... is how a twit read (that is a post on www.twitter.com). So I took a look at the blog post, and was totally amazed at how many people responded to such a simple question. Not only did I read the post but I skimmed the nearly 60+ comments.

Clearly, people responded because they respect the blog-author's (www.twitter.com/ebenpagan) opinion and want to hear what he had to say. Also, people wanted to feel connected to him in some way. They find it important if he considers what they are saying, and many offered to join him in his quest to help put together a program to help people eliminate negative stress. People also responded because they were living way too stressed out. They wanted an answer.

Coming from being a teen in the 70's, I remember when everything was diagnosed as being cause by stress. By the 90's no one wanted to hear that anymore, especially from doctors. I recalled, myself, telling doctors, "And don't say it is stress, you have got to have another answer?"

So as researching began uncovering the workings of cells and DNA (genetic coding) and brain activity could actually been seen in color pictures, doctors began identifying what in our DNA/cellular level caused physical, emotional, mental disorders. Medications were being made to deal with results of stress. Of course, most everyone agrees diet and exercise are still two major factors to health, and less stress.

Now I am seeing a big swing back to stress in the past few years. It seems like a new concept to many, but I have already lived through "stress" being the end all answer to every problem. What is interesting is that there is truly, "nothing new under the sun." (quoted by one of the wisest men and ruler ever to live- Solomon).

Why are we so stress? We are not living the way we were created to live. We are trying to find the answer within ourselves or maybe someone who we trust or consider wiser, with more knowledgeable and/or experience.

The answer to living stress-free is simple, and because of this it will not be followed, but tossed away as folly. There is no one, two, three (four, five, six, etc.) step for everyone to follow like we are a bunch of cookie-cut people...like one program or plan fits all.

Stress comes when we do not live in a right relationship with God and others. Jesus surprised many religious leaders of His time when He said that all rules/laws/ life plans could be summed up in two: 1) Love the Lord your God with all your mind, soul and might, 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. And this is not a two step program, it is a constant moment by moment way to live life!

(OK, if you survived my comment about Jesus and you haven't clicked off figuring I am just another church lady...stay tune to the FREE information, it could save you hundreds of dollars and lots of time following a man-made program.)

This advice is free to you, and it really doesn't need to be packaged as a program, and it is kinda old-fashion, so it doesn't need to be taught in a business/ social seminar.... because it is a relationship. Does someone need to teach you how to get to know other person? Well, if you do, you can start by saying, "Hello" and listening as much as you talk. Really try to get to know the person, and let them get to know you.

Everyone wants inner peace. Sure to disconnect emotionally you would free you from the stress, but you would also be not relating or living. Ignoring stress does not make it go away. If you want to strengthen your inner self, then strengthen your relationship with Jesus. He doesn't promise a stress-free life, but He will guide, protect, counsel, provide, unconditionally love, encourage, defend and anything else you may need while you live your life.

We will never be able to stop stressors in life, but we can learn how to live in and through them, and even allow them to help us to be better people within.

What do you think? Do you need a program to help you with your stress? Is it easier to listen to what a person has to say about how to deal with life/stress than God? If you had a choice of paying someone $50...$100 for a packaged CD program with lots of nice things to try or to have a growing relationship with God....what one would you want?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Twitter - Friends or Business? Can it be for both?


I have only been on twitter since August, 2008. Our local Newspaper ran an article about it so I looked into it on the web to see what it was. I must admit that I went at it with the twitter original purpose intent. Just a place to let people know what I was doing at that moment in my life. I loved it!

I told one of my girlfriends what one or two of my twitterfriends were saying or doing and she thought I fell off the deep end of being addicted to "blogging" (that is what she called it because she didn't speak twitter termonology yet. We laugh about it, because she now has her own twitter group of friends that she keeps up with. They are nutty, goof-balls, and I say that with all kindness. It is really funny that we twitter in different circles.

Over a few weeks I developed some relationships with people I would have never met in a lifetime because of distance around the globe. It was fun to see what other people where doing and the aspect of being able to reach out to others in need and to pray or help was most rewarding. I found that the smaller your circle of friends the closer/more intimate your relationship developed.

A defining moment in my twitter life was when someone was sharing that they were eating hot apple pie and I twitted back telling her that I love cheddar cheese on my apple pie. I was blown away with joy (it kind of surprised me - the feeling I had) to know that my little twit comment influence another person to experience something new and she commented back that she tried melting a cheddar cheese slice on her apple pie for the first time in her life and she liked it! That experience in twittering was just pure fun!

During the election months twitter turned a political corner. People, including me, started to voice our political concerns. Honestly, it was what we were doing and thinking about, but lines were being drawn between the presidential candidate you supported. I felt it was important for me to keep people in my twitter circle that were not for my candidate... I did not only want to hear one voice, from people with the same thoughts.

This was one of the true gems in twitter! I could co-exist with people who had very differing point of views and learn how people felt that were passionate about life in ways that were not interpreted through my worldview. I really enjoy people! And I find it is a great asset to understanding people if you can listen to others speak and try to see life through their eyes, or walk in life. I treasure my "different opinion" twitter friends as much as I do those which I have a kindred spirit.

Shortly after November, Twitter began to make another major shift. Really this shift had been growing along with the election months (year!), but I was more interested in the election comments. When the political comments ended, the "social media networking" rose to the top. Twitter was being invaded and almost taken over by people who were trying to sell, and meet people to build a "social network". This was all brand new to me. I have been in multilevel marketing type companies but deplored the "making friends with the object of sharing the business plan" concept.

I remember a few years ago being in my first real pushy multilevel marketing company. We were taught how to view every person to person contact as a potential client and business contact. I could no longer just sit at the Y with my children and interact with them playing. I was scoping out the crowd looking for potential clients and business contacts. When I drove down my neighborhood street I thought about which neighbor I should drop by to share "the business". One Sunday I sat in church and found myself scanning the people in the pews to see who could "benefit" from joining the bandwagon of selling the product.

When the message was over and the altar call came I went to the front on knelt at the steps. I was overcome with selfishness and guilt. How could I look at people and think about them as potential customers/ business partners and not know their condition of their soul? How did God look at these precious people? He isn't trying to find people to improve His business. He was caring deeply about the person's heart and soul condition.

So many new twitters join trying to sell something...here is an example of some real bios:

  • If you have been looking for someone to help you with your acne problem it's high time that you should get help from the real professionals, or
  • Promises Made Promises Kept ReMax Realtor in Victoria with 35 Years Experience to Help You With Your Real Estate Needs, or
  • Marketing furniture and an antique obsession mean I see in shades of brown, or
  • Free obituary, funeral planning help and grief support forums/chat rooms.
I do not like to follow people who are just into twitter to hook me as their fish. It is like a bait and switch tactic. These people dangle a few lines on twitter hoping for a bite, as they try to follow as many people as allowed. The goal is not building a relationship but instead it is building their influence in a social media network for personal gain.

Another more subtle community developing is people who twitter to drive blog traffic. When I began twittering, I learned some twittering ideas from a pro blogger. He suggested way to increase readership. I must admit that I still like a lot of what I learned from him, and I do post on twitter when I finish a blog. But to me, this is more of a way to inform people that follow me what I am up to. If my blog or book-writing was all I twitted about, I wouldn't consider myself to be a real twitter.

So, that is the BIG question, what is a real twitter? Officially this is how twitter began "Jack Dorsey had grown interested in the simple idea of being able to know what his friends were doing. Specifically, Jack wondered if there might be an opportunity to build something compelling around this simple status concept. When he brought the idea up to his colleagues, it was decided that a prototype should be built."
(quoted from about us on www.twitter.com)

Now even the twitter originators admit that the scope of twitter has changed from 'being able to know what friends are doing' to "In countries all around the world, people follow the sources most relevant to them and access information via Twitter as it happens—from breaking world news to updates from friends."
(quoted from www.twitter.com about us)

I know people will continue to use (and I do mean USE) twitters wonderful networking ability to grow their own businesses, egos, website/blogs, and support for a specific cause. But from my personal experience, and it may be because I am a people person, I still like to read as many twits as I can each day and comment back to people about what is going on in their life. This is what drew me to twitter to begin with and it is the only reason I stay. I enjoy my new community of friends around the world. It is so interesting to see what people do and to find out what is happening in their life.

To me, this will always be what real twitters are about. Real twitters are interested in building and maintaining relationships, by sharing with people what they really are doing.

How has twitter impacted you? What is your purpose for twittering? What do you feel about social marketing/networking for business?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Drummer for Jesus

Come, they told me, pa, rampa, pom pom,
A new born King to see, pa, rampa, pom pom
Our finest gifts we bring, pa, rampa pom pom
To lay before our King, pa rampa pom pom rampa pom pom rampa pom pom
So to honor Him, pa rampa pom pom
Me and my drum......


My sweet husband has been a drummer since he was a teen. He played in smokey lounges, lodges, parties and a few bars with all kinds of bands - top 40, Jazz, and rock. He was not a serious musicians that spent hours of disciplined practice. He just loved it and had fun.

After our first year of marriage, my dear husband decided to move to Los Angeles to try to "make it in the "Music Industry". He wanted to be an A&R person for a record label. So being young, in our early twenties and so 'footloose and fancy-free", we sold all of our possessions except for what we could fit in our Sunbird (we bought a carrier for the top!) and headed west to Californ-i-a!

Probably one of the biggest mistakes of this move, we sold his white Slingerland set (collectors items now), with all the cymbals and cases to a Penacostal church (of all places)! At least the set would be drums for Jesus!

We lived there for about 4 months and came back to the South knowing we two Southerners were living like a duck without water in such a "godless" city. I still love that we went! It was an experience of a lifetime. We saw the Grand Canyon twice - once when it was snowing.

We ended back in Tuscaloosa, AL and lived in an apartment without furniture...well, we had that futon mattress we picked up in LA and our trusty alarm clock and microwave! Another move to TN and an accounting degree later, my dear husband became a tax accountant.

Now back to the drums.....

We have a 13 yo son, and guess what? Of course, He is a drummer like his dad! Not that he grew up watching his dad drum.... it is just in him, that talent to drum...natural like walking to him. So of course last year I convinced my dear husband that a drum set would be our son's "school equipment" needed for our middle school homeschool family.

I am sure there was a little hint of joy in my husband's heart to purchase a used Pearl Black kit, and take it home to our son's room. Yes, he has played on it a time or two. But the greatest outcome is that they have something in common to share. Parents need a place to bond, to connect, to see heart to heart with their children.

My dear husband took our son to Drummer's for Jesus. They simply loved it! Some of the best drummers in town showed up and my husband even got to play.

Our son is taking lessons, and just yesterday my sweet husband said his jaw dropped when he heard how fast our son could do a drum roll. It is exciting to see him blossom in the talents He has been given by God.

Most mom's would rather have their head blown up before listening to a drummer practice... but to me it is always such sweet music. I love hearing him play. I know he is happy, in a safe environment, developing a skill, and burning energy (so needed in a young teen)!

Just this morning I could hear him quietly strum his chimes and tap ever so lightly on the heads eagerly awaiting everyone to wake up, so he could let it roll!

So here is our gift to you God, here is your son you gave us to take care of for you, here is your drummer for Jesus.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

iPod - to be or not to be - That is the Question.



December 12th, Friday night, my dear husband (dh) and I are just loving having the night out to be together and think about gifts to give to our precious tween/teen children.

And of course, we end up in electronic mecca of our city, the New Best Buys! (Didn't they get the largest chunk of last years Christmas budget? - just a disjointed thought breezing by- thought I'd throw it in)

DS lite games, Wii games, Music DVDs, mini refrigerators, CD Stero systems, video cameras.... you name it, they have it, and best of all (or is it worst of all) they have it in stock!!! Well, our middle son, 13, affectionately called Teddy Bear on this site, only listed two items that he wanted... a crash cymbal for his drum kit and a memory card. This is now fun. We get to think about our son. His likes and dislikes, his personality. What would he just love to be surprised with on Christmas? Isn't great to have a child that doesn't ask for so much?!?! It makes me feel great inside.

He loves music, and listens a lot to his radio. He also keeps it running all night and plays music while he does his school work. He loves to play when drums, especially if mom has just aggravated him (say this smiling). TeddyBear did you fold and put up your laundry....up the stairs, drum concert.... clothes get put up. Fortunately, I love to hear him play drums!

"What about an iPod?", says my dh. Hmm. I am in thought. "He would love one," I nod my head, "let's go see. where are they?" Looking up to the sky to see all the dangling signs hanging from the Best Buys ceiling.

We get to the iPod island. All colors, all sizes, all prices stare back at us. "Do we really want to do this?" my dh poses this question. He continues, "You really have to think about the gift. What we get will impact his life, his personality." "Oh, forgot about that you are so right," I reply, "No, definitely not! We made that mistake with ds 15 (SilverKnight) last year for Christmas. He is now much more unsocial, isolated, always has those freaking headphones on." "Yeah, we don't want to loose TeddyBear. He is still so connected with us and people."


Walking away we think about the MP3 player we got SilverKnight last
year. We were total MP3 player virgins, clueless. If I had the chance again I
would never, NEVER, have given this gift to my oldest son. He is so not involved
with so much conversation time because he has those crazy headphones in his ear.

It probably bothers me the most in short car trips. "Oh, look at the
goat with the llama." (Now don't laugh... animals are still fun to look at, stop
rolling your eyes.) Silence. "Would you like to stop and look for shirts
at Plato's Closet?" Silence. "Can you get my purse, it slipped into the back
seat and my phone is ringing?" Silence. "HELLO! TAKE THOSE THINGS OUT OF YOUR EARS!" I scream.

Now the mommy lecture of great wisdom and facts of life, "You are so
missing out on togetherness and family time. What if there was an emergency and
I had to yell, everyone, out of the car? You would never hear me. You are so
disconnected from us. Can you turn the volume down I can hear it and I don't
even have the headphones on?"


My sweet husband I and walk away from iPod heaven at Best Buys. "Do
you remember the day SilverKnight said he lost his MP3 player?," recalls dh. "Yeah, I was
hoping he'd never find it," I replied. "In a day or two he found it. You know I
wish it would break. I would never get him another one," considered my dh.

My mind drifted to ways I could just accidentally step on it... maybe clean his room and it falls into the trash...oops. Well, I am just being honest. I did go there in my thoughts but would not dare do it because I would have to confess my evil act to my son... and God, who'd be watching.

It is great to know your children. To be able to determine what "toys" are healthy for them physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and socially. Some, let's be honest, alot of electronic products aren't good for our children. All you need to do is walk down the aisle for games. It is hard to find one that is about beating up, killing, invading, crushing, shooting, or controlling someone else.

At least my 11 yo dd, Cupcake, is still putting Kirby and Harvest Moon on her Christmas list. Hey, my oldest 15yo SilverKnight did ask for a mini-fridge for his room. I like that! We are looking for gifts that are quality, that have long playability, that are positive, healthy, creative...worth our money.

So, iPod, to be or not to be? In our home, it is not to be. He can always get one when he is on his own. We want to have as much interaction with him as possible during these last few years we get to have before he goes college.

So, maybe you can glean from our experience, put a little thought into what you give your child this year. Consider how it will affect their mind, spirit, body and behavior. And learn from you mistakes. In this case, we did. Happy Christmas Shopping!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Are Labor Unions Necessary in 21st Century America?

Where have all our factories gone, long time passing, where have all our factories gone, long time ago, where have all our factories gone, gone to un-unionized countries, everyone, when will we ever learn, when will we ever learn....

Being frustrated by a recent letter to the editor in our Nashville Tennessean Newspaper, I wrote the following letter back. Since I rarely get published by the Tennessean (I suppose the editor does not like my thoughts or comments), I figured I would publish it on my blog. Thank God will still have one uncensored place to write our opinions!

Is it not a little irresponsible to put a letter to the editor that quotes "working-class people worked for 10 cents a day" as a reason for Unions to be promoted in the workplace without identifying the year this occurred in American History. According the NY Times Archives (source:http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9A00E6D6123CE633A2575AC1A96F9C946396D6CF) it was occurring almost 100 years ago in 1910.

I think the fact that there are laws in place that cover minimum wage and many other workplace safety such as EOE, the time area of needing the Union is in the past. Hard working employees can earn a fair wage, and if they are skilled and keep educating themselves and learning their trade to improve abilities, the employees become more valuable and very less likely to be unemployed or treated terrible by an evil employer. I am over 40, and I have never once gone without employment when I needed or wanted it. I have worked in many different areas, such as nursing, education, administrative, banking and retail sales.

I have interviewed many times and never worked for an employer that mistreated me because I was as selective about my employer as my employer was about me. Being a Christian I trust God to be my intercessor (labor union) between me and my employer. I trust Him to take care of me and to provide for my needs. I never have signed up to be a union member, even when given the chance or when being excluded/shunned by fellow employees because 'I was not a union member'.

Even worse, was the stereo-typical quote by Mr. Ralph Kimro of "majority of the red votes in TN either come from rich Republican or or from uninformed working-class Americans"! What an ignorant, arrogant derogatory statement.

Anyone can look to the auto-industry or any other employee management that hands their hands overloaded with one grievance upon another pushing unqualified, complaining people into higher positions over highly qualified people competing for the same position, just to get the Union off their back. Much of the work of manager in union settings is not management but babysitting to whiners. Yes, that is my final answer.

You can log onto www.Tennessean.com to read the entire letter to the editor on Union promoted workplace rights published on December 10, 2008.

Please feel free to share your experience and or opinion in comments.