Sunday, August 31, 2008

Speechless Friday

So it's not Friday anymore, BUT this blog is from Friday, my last shift before my three day weekend. I was trying very hard to be patient, kind, and remember the grace that Jesus gave me and to share it with others.

It's not uncommon for people to be rude to the person behind the counter - especially on Sundays, which is really sad. It's not uncommon in the service industry for the church people to be the worst people to serve. But I find it HILEROUS that they do not even HIDE it, but advertise that they are church people. When I'm advertising - even with a tiny cross necklace, garments under my clothes, a CTR braclet, or even a "Saturday is a Special Day" t-shirt, I am STILL extra special mindful of my actions because for me - I am representing even moreso Christ (if that makes sense) because I am advertising my specific church/religion of choice (Mormon or Protestant).

So, when this guy with this HUGE "A Blood Donor saved my LIFE" Evangelism t-shirt walked in and was very rude to me, all I could do was shake my head and have a speechless laugh. I tell you, these days - I'd make a better jaded atheist that a good Christian. People, use common sense. If you're going to behave like an ass, then please don't wear your Jesus Freak gear. If you're going to wear you're Jesus Freak gear, then please be on your best behavior. Otherwise, you're simply furthering a sterotype that is more and more becoming the norm. The people of this "world" - the ungodly, that will burn in "hell", are more well mannered and kind to the people behind the counter than the ones who have encountered Jesus, grace, mercy, etc and are supposed to be sharing it with the world. Oh wait - I guess that's what that damn T-shirt was doing. My bad, I forgot this whole stupid world has gotten to be so darn lazy that the t-shirt does the Evangelizing while the man acts anyway he darn well pleases because "once saved always saved". ;)

And that's my speechless Friday. :) Imagine if I wasn't a Christian. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vick's Dogs, Huey's Mart, and MORE!

I have way too much to blog about to really organize it - so consider this one long blog vomit. Sorry guys. First off, this past weekend - Animal Planet did a really amazing documentary on Michael Vicks and his dogs. I have to say - I wish they had clarified on a few things rather than leaving them open to the uneducated public and that they had NOT included so many graphic scenes of actual dog fights, but overall thanks to Donna over at Bad Rap, the second half of the documentary really helped show the breed for what it is - amazing and sensitive not the monsters the agenda driven media makes them out to be.

I highly recommend this documentary to anyone out there - whether you already have a tainted view of the breed, are interested in "pit bulls", or that you are an advocate. I do strongly advise AGAINST young children and adolescents viewing this because of the graphic scenes from dog fights which are highly disturbing. Also, I would like to clarify just a few minor - potentially huge points that the documentary left open. In one scene they showed "dog fighting paraphernalia" being taken from Vick's house and showed websites that sold it. But what they failed to clarify is that just because someone owns these things does not make them dog fighters. For example - they showed break sticks and stated that these were used to break up the dogs and put them back behind the scratch line. But, break sticks are also recommended for all responsible pit bull owners as well. Not just for dog fighters. They showed treadmills - which again are a great tool to exercise one's dog. Cesar Millan, the furtherest one can get from dog fighting recommends treadmills as a great way to help drain energy. We use a treadmill in our house - we certainly are not conditioning Maya for dog fighting. They showed Spring Poles, again - not always something abused by dog fighters but also something used by responsible and loving pittie owners. Pitties love them - they challenge them on physical and mental levels, they are not tools used to condition them to become more aggressive or to fight other dogs. Rather, they are just another way pitties can drain their energy (many owners say their pitties only does 10 minutes at a time on their Spring Poles), have a ton of fun, and stay in shape. We don't want or need fat, overweight dogs - if for no other reason, it's simply not healthy for them.

Finally, they also showed choke chains. Again, plenty of trainers - outside of dog fighters or those who would abuse the choke chain - recommend and use them. Again, including Cesar Millan who even went as far as invented a new type of choke chain called the Illusion Collar which keeps the choke chain high on the neck to keep the most control for corrections, etc over the dog. We have one for Maya - and again, we are certainly NOT conditioning her to be a fighter.

Again, these are simply clarifications - I would and have, highly recommend this documentary to anyone and everyone.

It looks like Maya has Food Allergies. I never knew dogs could have FA. Huh. Learn something new everyday. We give her Benedryl twice a day - but are now kicking up to Claritan. We have changed her over to a hollisitic diet for now - but if this doesn't help within 9 weeks we have to buy her a Low Allergen diet :( AND we have to bathe her once a week with this special Omega shampoo and creme rinse. Whew! But she is a wonderful dog, and true to her breed - loyal to our kids, a true "Nanny" like pitties are known for. So she is worth it. With more training she is going to be an excellent ambassador for her breed.

And I've started working full time this week. My Aunt and Uncle were AMAZING and gave us their minivan (I am officially a mini-van mom now yippie!) so we are finally after five years (in September) a one car family - back to two cars! We are so thrilled - we are not even sure what to do with this new found freedom. This week has been trying - so many kudos (many many many times over) to working outside the home mamas out there! I totally should not even be blogging right now - but am having withdrawals so I carving time out just for me, to blog about this. I get up super early (3:30 am) to bike 4 miles with Maya (1 hour). Yes, it can be done. I'm super sweaty and tired - but so is she. This prepares her for coming up 6 hours by her lonesome by getting her prepped for "resting" mode (as CM calls it). Steve will feed her when he gets up (which will fall outside the hour guidelines that vet gave us - we must wait one hour after her runs before feeding her or face MAJOR tummy upset and possible fatal results in rare cases). Then, I have her sit, and give her two TEENY TINY pieces of cubed cheese with her Benedryl hidden inside them. I shower and get ready for work. I grab my stuff and head out no later than 5:10 (and that's really pushing it if there were bad traffic). I chat with my best friend the whole drive there and then we pray this awesome prayer book she mailed me (although we've only gotten to pray once this week together - maybe we'll do better next week).

I then work eight hours of pure entertainment, hard work, and at times - pure frustration. People can really make your day, they can really suck, and they can really hit close to home making you think about the person you are. There are some amazing people who really make my day - Mr. Modelo or Mr. Smiley as I call him - he is always smiling and it always makes me smile, no matter how many bad customers I had before him. I love it when he comes in. And then there are the customers that really make you think about yourself. A summer ago I had a huge heart for the homeless, now I cannot even be bothered to help them count their money. I'd rather be right than be a humble servant of God. Jesus said that what we do to the least of these is what we do to Him - and thinking upon that and hearing one of the homeless girls, who yes irritates the living daylights out of me say to me now two days in a row (I guess God knew it did prick me on day 1), "You make me feel horrible about myself," really made me think about how I am coming across to her. I think being right is more important than being compassionate, humble, and patient. Wow - what a crock, I need to come down some notches and think about what an example Jesus set for me and if I'd count His money if He asked me to over and over and over again - seventy times seven times. Would I be willing to compromise for Him? Or is being right more important to me? Am I willing to learn patience and humility at this store, when I am so largely lacking these things in my life right now, or am I going to stomp on through being a brat and not listening to anyone?

There are also the customers who you just want to SCREAM at and frustrate the hell out of you - or maybe INTO you. :P There were some wanna be thugs in our store who were 10 cents short on their cigars - no I was not going to give them store credit and NO I was not going to cover it myself. When they started asking other customers for the money - I told them that was not okay, because that is strictly against store policy. My co-worker went out and talked to them (later telling me that she "kept the peace") and gave them the .10 cents. Which of course made me look the bad bitch - and of course they let me know made me look like the bad bitch, "Why can't you pay for it?"

"Because I'm not going to."

"Well why?"

"Because I'm not going to. You either have the money or you don't. If you don't, then you don't." Seems pretty easy to me - I don't go to the supermarket and expect the cashier behind the counter to cover my shortage because I decided I wanted something that I just didn't need. And then to top it off, my lovely co-worker then shared this story about me - the "vigilante" with all the co-workers as they came in to start their shifts. Uh, excuse me - I don't know that you guys 86 some people for soliciting (which they had - twice that very day) money from customers and not others because they are wanna be thugs and that we are expected to pull money out of our own pockets to cover these wanna be thugs or short the drawer so they don't come back and "shoot up" the store. Uh, when I worked there before - this was NEVER an issue. If that was the case, then why the heck was my Aunt chasing people down with the "peace maker" when they stole from her? But I suppose that's neither here or there. I am torn between reporting all this back to my family and being the "tattle tale" (which I never hide the fact that I do talk to my family about the store, the employees, and the going ons when we get together) and just shutting up so as not stir the pot.

I also found out that I am really offensive when I compare this situation verbally to giving my dog a treat when she pees on the carpet or calling these wanna be thugs rabid dogs because they are behaving like animals. Call me conservative - when people behave like animals, I think we should be able to call them out on it.

But returning to my earlier statement - am I going to be right, or compassionate? I am so frustrated on one hand because I don't feel I should give the dogs cookies for peeing on the carpet (so to speak) but at the same time, who knows - perhaps these kids were neglected, abused, etc and were only trained to behave as beasts. A dog will only behave in a way that it is trained/told/exampled to behave - the same applies with kids - if you model a behavior then they will grow up and mirror that themselves. Perhaps these guys simply do not know any better. When then, do you hold them accountable? And what then, is the best approach to this situation? I obviously don't think we should continue to reward them by giving them money every time they are short - today it's .10 cents - tomorrow it's .15, maybe next week it's .50 - maybe next month it's more or even a whole 18 pack. Maybe I'm thinking about it 100% wrongly - which I am atleast trying to be open to.

At the end of the day, these kids are still kids and I would like to be to approach the situation with them (and others like them) with more patience, respect, and kindness.

That's it for now! Off to do chores! Still gotta get dinner going, clean, and prepare for tomorrow! Steve is a Grad Student as of this week so we are extra busy here which means an extra messy house. Whew. I cannot wait for some time to regroup this weekend and just relax. :)

p.s. - I do promise to write up a blog somewhere in the near future that is religious in nature (ie Mormon and Christian) but being as how busy I've been . . . but I promise for any interested - an update blog is coming. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Random Update

I realized I hadn't really blogged in quite awhile. Not that I haven't had a ton to blog about, just have been really lacking in time to blog in general. Been working a ton, training Maya, and we have a foster for the month. Very very busy.

We took the kids to the "Butterfly Park" a couple of days ago - to escape the sizzling heat and get out of the house. It's so dang hot out here, that it feels like we spend all our time indoors, even though we don't.

I have been given a full time position at my family's store starting this month. Yikes! A little scary - it'll be my first time working full time outside the home in years. It's unknown how long this position is open for, so we'll see how it goes. It's a shift I've been really pestering my parents to give me, and finally have - while it's an early shift, it's a Monday-Friday shift so I'd finally have a regular normal work schedule.

We also have the chance this month to be fostering a total sweetheart named Tye. He's an eight month old American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). He's been very good with the kids (which "pits bulls" are known for). Maya has been challenged on being a less jealous girl while he is here, but it has really given her a chance to grow and us a chance to train with her as well.

In the last 10 weeks, I have worked my way up to walking/biking from zero a day to now 6-8 miles a day. During this time, I've also dropped 22 lbs. Of course, I'm super stoked about this and hope to keep up the momentium. And to think, all I had to do is adopt a high energy dog. ;)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Turning the NoIsE down

Today was a very refreshing day at church. Today the Family Ministries pastor, Ty Neal began a series called, "Volume" - starting with a sermon called, "Turn it Down". I particularly enjoyed it because I found myself really relating a lot to his spinning plates analogies. I hope Ty has more opportunities to teach "big church" more often.

Ty's message also brought some confirmation to some out of order thoughts I've been having as well. As I try to measure a few things in my walk with God, my life, and where exactly I am supposed to be - I feel more and more strongly about just unity. Unity among believers. Ty really hit this home at the end when he talked about priorities in our lives and things that are eternal - to love God and to love people. All these other doctrinal issues that we pound away at each other against and for are just divisions that hurt people and divide the body.

On Rav the other day, someone posed the question - what if all the world's major religions united together to make a difference instead of bickering? It was a good question. Why can't Muslims, Jews, Christians, and other major world religions sit down and say, "Hey, I know we believe differently. But we've got starving people here, here, and here. Let's unite our resources and go feed them. Then meet back here at 0600 on this date and decide what we want to do then." Sure, they may each believe the other will be tortured to an eternity (or not - depending on various belief systems) - but RIGHT now, each one can unite to make a difference and glorify their deity.

I once read a story about a small town in which an adult (porn) store set up shot. The town was upset and wanted them gone. Local religious leaders set up a time, date, and location to meet to decide how best to handle the situation. When the LDS Bishop and EQ President entered the situation, the Christian pastors stood up and said, "If the Mormons are involved, we're leaving." They'd rather have the porn store, than the Mormons help. I'm sure there are a hundred stories like this only substitute and move around those involved.

After the sermon I pondered over ways to take out the noise in my life, and overall be more unified with those around me. I realized, that it's really easy to be negative, to be short, ill tempered, angry. So, I'll be even more conscious to not be those things - not just to those I can relate to - parents, cashiers, service people, but to everyone I met. Including the difficult kids in my neighborhood. Attitude goes a long way - and sometimes, my attitude hasn't always been the best. Forgiveness and grace are supposed to be more apart of who I am, they were freely given to me, and I am supposed to freely give them to others. Seeing the glory of God in those different from me. This I am sure, will be more challenging since I am more of a Mormon who attends a Protestant church BUT I am sure it will work out with a little patience, a lot of prayer, and a whole lot of grace.