I'm on vacation so this is a repost. I hope you enjoy it again.
I am sitting here eating an apple with pumpkin peanut butter dip and thinking about the lies we all tell or just believe. We all do whether we admit it or not. Don’t believe me? What do you say when someone says, “Hi, how are you?” Chances are you don’t say, “My back hurts, I have a cold and I just want to be home in bed.” No, you say, “Fine.” I do too.
The question itself is a lie. The words indicate that you truly care how the other person is. But we don’t. It’s just a social convention used as part of a greeting. I will at times not answer the question, instead just say hi. No one has ever stopped me to re-ask the question.
Another lie is that the dip is only to enhance the chip, fruit or veggie we are eating. We all know the dip is the main thing. The fruit or whatever is there only as a vehicle to get the dip into our mouths. How many times have you, after the veggie is gone stuck your finger into the dip left just to lick it off? Don’t lie to me. ;)
We can just as easily trap someone into having to lie. Women are good at this. “Honey, how do I look? Does this make me look fat? Do you like my outfit?” Why do we do this too ourselves and our husbands? We really know how we look. Is it fair to put our men in the position to answer a question like that? Not really. If they say that you look great, chances are you think they are lying. They may or may not be. It makes no difference. We assume they lie. If they say you look fat in that outfit… The doghouse. They can’t win for losing.
So let’s just admit it. We all tell small lies. Let’s also try to change our ways. Don’t ask how are you unless you care enough to hear. Don’t ask how you look unless you really want to know.
Right now I’m using apple slices to get the peanut butter pumpkin dip into my mouth.
I wrote this on Jan. 19 before we boarded our ship for the cruise we are presently on.
They say doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. So I must be insane. Well, people have been telling me that for years but now I guess I have to believe them.
We are on vacation leaving the cold and snow and wind of Illinois behind for two weeks on a ship going to Hawaii. Since the offspring are adults we escape each year. I told my husband years ago that when the younger son was out of high school I was going someplace warm during January. It's taken me almost nine years to get him up to around 16 days.
I do the packing and have learned to pack light. We go a day early for any cruise or resort week we plan. My goal is always to pack and plan so we don't have to open the suitcases in the hotel we stay in before boarding the ship or arriving at the resort. I have never been successful.
This morning I had to not open one suitcase I had to open both. Part of it was my fault. No... wait... all of it is my fault. I did the packing. I put the bag with the toothbrushes in the suitcase rather than the carry-on. No, we didn't brush last night.
I'd packed underwear in the carry-on but not a pair of my husband's socks. After I'd closed it from getting the toothbrushes and paste I had to open the suitcase again.
Then I decided to wear a different dress, so open the other case. This dress needs a slip so I had to open the first one again. GRRRR. Insanity. You'd have thought I'd learn to leave the cases open until I was done dressing, but no.
Well, everything is packed and ready to go to the ship. I'll be able to unpack for two weeks. We are staying in LA for one night on the way home. I wonder if I can pack so I don't have to open the suitcases the next morning? Insanity.
In a writer's group online every Friday they choose two cards from the game Apples to Apples. This is the super short story from the cards Repulsive Ninjas.
“And I say it’s all your fault. You’re the one who was in front.” Deke shot an irritated glance at Clay.
“Just because I can run faster than any of you guys doesn’t make it my fault. If you knew what was in front of us you could have said something,” Clay said defensively.
“Stop it,” said Nan. The only female in the group of ninjas, it seemed like she was always stopping quarrels and propping up the egos of her partners. “It doesn’t make any difference whose fault it was. We lost them and will need to pick up the trail again later. All I want now is to get back to headquarters and clean up."
“As do I.” Lance’s words made the others look at him. Lance barely spoke and never complained so his tone, in addition to actually contributing to the conversation, indicated his level of displeasure.
The foursome fell silent then. They had a long walk back to headquarters. It wasn’t physical tiredness or the distance to get there, instead the fact that that had failed to capture the criminals weighed most heavily. That and the smell.
For Ninja Force Chi the humiliation of returning without apprehended the four men suspected in a number of burglaries and assaults was magnified by the fact that this foursome was the best, most elite and respected team in the force. Then there was the other factor which they would hear about for years to come. It would most likely be talked about for years after they all retired.
“I can hear the talk now.” Deke kicked a rock down the path. “Chi Force, the most repulsive ninjas in the force.”
“Maybe we’ll pass a lake or pond or river,” Nan said. “At least we could clean up a bit.”
“Yeah,” said Clay. “Lance, you use that keen smeller of yours to sniff out some water.” His three partners looked at him.
“Right,” said Lance with derision. “As if I can smell water over the stench of us.”
“Looks like we’ll have to track our way back and simply hope to find some. Too bad our electronics were all ruined.” Deke pulled his cellphone from a pocket and pressed the button to activate it. No beep came. No screen lit up.
As they walked on in silence each member thought over how they had gotten into this situation. They’d nearly caught up to the gang when they found the abandoned vehicle and trailed them into the woods. Running along the trail none had thought of what might be lurking ahead.
As the trees thinned they saw the men ahead on the grassy plain just below. There were long low buildings placed along the slight bluff. The ninjas aimed for the area between, ran straight off the bluff knowing they could easily land, roll and rise running not having lost any time.
Nearly in an even row, off the bluff they went landing, not on the ground but in a slurry tank filled with hog manure. The buildings on either side were hog confinements.
Struggling to the surface they held their breaths as they swam to the side of the tank and climbed out. The gang was long gone by then. They were covered in manure and stunk to high heaven.
“Chi Force,” Clay said again. “The most elite and respected ninjas in the force. Oh yeah, the most repulsive ninjas too.”
Women do guilt so well it just stinks. We are guilty about whatever we do. If we work outside the home, if we don't. If we are strict with the kids or not. If we shortcut on supper and microwave a frozen pizza. If we spent too much time fixing an elaborate meal. If we baked Christmas cookies or if we didn't. You get the picture.
Another thing we guilt ourselves with is taking on anything that is asked of us whether we have the time or not. We feel that we will hurt someone's feelings or deprive our kids, church, friends, etc. if we say no. If we do say no we compound our guilt by explaining why was can't do the request. Are we dumb or what?
I'm going to help you free yourself from at least a little bit of all that guilt, if you'll let me. IT IS OKAY TO SAY NO AND GIVE NO REASON.
"Will you help with the school play? Will you do this whatever for whatever group you may or may not belong to or are interested in? Will you haul kids to the game? Heck, will you even go to the game? I know your kid is playing, but it won't damage them for life if you don't. It might just reduce your stress level if you don't.
You can say no to any and all of them and not give a reason. We who do the guilt thing seem to think we have to justify our refusal. Why? Because we feel guilty that we don't want to do what's been asked. It's not a valid guilt. It's a self imposed guilt with no basis in reality.
The world will not come crashing down around us if we say no and give no reason. It will keep rotating and revolving. Either someone else will do whatever it is or not. It might be that the activity needs to die a quiet death and you are helping it along. If a friend or colleague is hurt that you refused they aren't much of a friend or they would take what you say, that minimum, "I'm sorry but I can't fit that into my schedule" at face value and believe you.
Practice saying no in front of your mirror so you are ready the next time someone asks. "I'm sorry, but that won't fit into my schedule right now." Nothing else. Just that sentence. I'll bet few if any will ever challenge you for a reason why.
So give up the guilt, the stress and give no excuses. Guilt doesn't have to fit into your schedule. Just say no.
A good friend of mine, George McVey, (PG to those of us who know him) has released his first novel, Redeeming Reputation. If you've read Giving Love you've met the main character.
David Nathan Ryder the Third is traveling to Redemption New Mexico in 1888 planning on being the circuit riding pastor. Being the grandson of Nugget Nate Ryder he also knows how to handle a gun as well as fight with his fists.
Trouble seems to follow him once he gets to Franklin, MO where he's supposed to meet up with his grandfather. Within two days he's earned the reputation as a gunslinger and met the woman of his dreams.
The books spans only a few weeks but is packed with action, salvation and Nathan's dilemma of wanting to preach God's salvation message and his newly acquired notoriety of expert gun hand as he takes over temporarily as Franklin's sheriff and the body count rises.
PG and I have become very good friends online and have an uncanny similarity in thought as we write and bounce ideas off each other. We critique each others work. As I was writing Giving Love we decided to connect the characters we've created by making Nugget Nate Ryder Aggie Cuttler's older brother.
We had so much fun discussing and creating the scenes when Nate, Penny and Nathan came to Cottonwood we've decided to write a book together. Later this year Redeeming Cottonwood will have Nathan returning to gain counsel and wisdom from Peter Lendery.
I can't in good conscience post reviews on Amazon or other sites as we are collaborating on a novel. Here I can. The story is a true western which both men and women will enjoy. The major and minor characters are delightful and the personal issues they deal with are believable. PG knows a great deal about the old west and uses some terms I had to ask the meaning of. I'd have looked them up if I hadn't had access to the source. They add realism to the dialog and I always like learning new things.
Although he has always teased me about being a romantic and that he doesn't write romance PG found out that he actually does. The love story is sweet and has challenges which cause problems for Nathan and Grace.
Redeeming Reputation is a 5 star read, in my humble opinion. You'll find it in Kindle here, and Smashwords here. A print version will be available soon. PG has also written several non-fiction spiritual works. You can find out more about Pastor George McVey on his Amazon Author page.
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