Well behaved women Seldom make history.

Laura Ulrich used the above sentence in her history of unknown puritan women. You may have seen the slightly altered “Well behaved women rarely make history” on anything from a car to a mug to a t-shirt to a book. I read it in a book by a Christian Female Preacher. The Sweet Potato Queens put it into their theme song.

I admit it’s a brilliant quote.

But I  wasn’t surprised to read in Ulrich’s account of the slogan’s impact that it had caused a lot of women to justify the most wild and uncouth behavior.

Bad girls have more fun they say. Kind of like nice guys finish last.

Well I submit to you that nice guys only finish last with women who don’t like nice.

I wouldn’t be one of those. Though I admit I can’t stand tame.

And that’s the thing, I don’t think the term wild is a bad word. I hear it used as if it were bad. Wild is used as synonymous with out of control, crazy, rebellious, and bad behaved.

But in my book, wild just means something is in its natural state. Untamed by man. But it does not mean something is at odds with man.

Wild things can be a gift. The only way to survive in the wilderness is knowing how to live off wild stuff. A wild animal tends to have instincts that a domestic one doesn’t. There is something raw and yet vulnerable about wildness that touches us.

But what about being well behaved? I don’t think being ill behaved is the way to make history, not the kind of history I want to be remembered for. The attitude about this seems to be that as a long as a woman is making history, she is doing something noble and brave, no matter what kind of history she is making. In that way a sex icon is as important as Marie Curie.

I don’t think so. Every one has heard of Helen of Troy, everyone has heard of Joan of Arc. Which do we know more about? Which do we want to be like?

I love famous women, if they are good, and I love empowered women. I just never understood empowered to mean “Do whatever darn thing you want to get attention; talk trash about men; and abandon motherhood.” Come on ladies, is that really what it means? I bet you don’t agree with that idea either.

I think few women really think that’s how to be a real woman. Just as I hope few men think that shooting each other and getting girls knocked up is how to be a real man.

Now just for context, you guys should know I am not the kind of woman who sits back and shuts up by nature. I have been strongly hinted at that I should do this. And I can’t say, after what I’ve been reading about it, that I don’t wonder if I might have been treated differently had I been a man.

It’s hard to picture the same people telling a guy who was as enthusiastic as me to tone it down a notch. When does that ever happen?

I mean, it does happen to my dad, who’s like me in that way. So I guess it does happen to men.

I will say this, I think part of the problem is women who make themselves heard can have a very snooty attitude about it. Like we should listen to them just because they are a woman and outspoken. Funnily enough, don’t you immediately feel more interested in a woman if you hear that she’s outspoken and opinionated.

And also oddly enough, I rarely hear a man described that way. Men stating their opinions forcefully seems to be a given.

A woman who really is outspoken will be whether it’s considered normal or not. Take Katherine from “The Taming of the Shrew” as a fictional example. Women like that won’t shut up no matter how much men shake their heads. And that’s not always a positive.

I know women who will give their opinions when applied to, but they prefer to talk about more personal stuff. A woman has political opinions, sure, she probably has strong ones. She doesn’t let her husband speak for her because she’s afraid, she lets him because it’s not what she likes to talk about.

Women don’t like arguing with their friends. (Though they may like arguing with their husband or their mother.) So they don’t talk about hot topics amongst themselves. It gets too heated. It’s that simple.

I know I don’t bring up hot topics when I want to have fun with people because it’s too explosive. And I know men who don’t care if it is, but I don’t know any women like that.

This isn’t a lack of confidence, it’s just women preferring to bond without conflict. Men bond through conflict.

Not that a woman never can enjoy conflict. I enjoy it. Typically more with men then with women. I consider that to be a thing men bring out in women, for a good reason, strength calls out to strength.

In fact, women want to be part of a man’s world because the man is in it. I don’t care if I just ticked someone off. It’s still true.

How many women say they are independent of men even while saying they’ll beat them at their own game.

If you’re trying to beat the men, you’re not exactly independent of them. You have to have someone to beat.

It also backhandedly admits that men have done a lot of amazing things. And I think men have every right to keep dong amazing things. I get a real kick of beating men at stuff. But I don’t grudge them their right to win also.

I think the wild side of men is what stirs up the wild side of women. I see it all the time, women sneak into men’s conferences, women read books about what men should be like just to know what to look for, women like movies that are geared for men. (I liked Braveheart. Most women who saw it did.)

That’s not because women are weak. It’s because women are smart. We know there’s something for us in both worlds. And if men are smart, they’ll pay attention to what women like too. I don’t begrudge a man the enjoyment of a few chick flicks , some of them are meaningful stories.

Some men enjoy more feminine dominated stuff. That’s okay. In the end, it’s not what you do but the way that you do it that shows the differences between people and between genders.

I win like a girl, because I am one.

Until next time–Natasha.

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Believer and Pain.

You may have heard that song by Imagine Dragons, “Believer.”

I am not a huge fan of Imagine Dragons, but I still want to give them a shout out for having the band name I would want to have if I was in it. I freaking love the name Imagine Dragons.

But their music is a little to heavy metal/pop for me.

However, I’ve heard this song, who hasn’t of a certain age? And since I actually watch lyric videos to find out what a song is about, I watched one for it and found out the song is about something a bit unusual.

It’s become typical to have, pardon the word, bad-ass songs. (I really want a clean equivalent of that word to use.) The “in your face” song.

I like some of them. And this song is technically in that category, but it has a profound twist. The song is about pain. The pain, as the words say, making you a believer.

People love this song. In the past the idea of pain being what made you a believer would have seemed problematic to me. I’m a huge believer in beauty being an inspiration, love being motivation, and peace being what gets you through.

Yet, in the past few months, my most constant companion has been PAIN.

What does a dreamer like me do when pain seems to be taking over their life. For weeks I didn’t want to write or even read, or think about all the stuff I wanted to do with my life, because how could I do it? I felt crippled by something that was mostly in my head.

Now this song didn’t bring me any great revelation. But it has made some people decide to keep going, and I read one person decided not to kill themselves after hearing it.

And I can say it’s because the song is true.

The words “My life, my love, my God, they came from pain.” I don’ think it means pain makes any of those things, but it’s a honest realization that without pain we’ll never know if those things are real.

To be honest with you guys, I haven’t seen a flat out miracle in a long time. I haven’t seen the things that make people think Christians are doing LSD. ( we aren’t.) I haven’t seen a miraculous healing in a long time. And I’ve never seen happen to me.

Like I said, I’m a dreamer. I believe in all those things. Call me crazy. There are things in this world that cannot be explained away.

yet I still have no personal evidence.

And what do you do with that when you’re suffering for months for seemingly no reason.

I admit freely I got pretty mad at God over it. I gave him a piece of my mind. But in the end I always come back to Him. I guess you could say I’m addicted.

It’s rough too when people get tired of hearing you complain about what you’re going through. And the only response I got from God was “trust Me.”

You Christians who read this, you ever wonder why you trust God? What He’s done to make you so confident?

I have.

Yet, I began to notice there was a miracle taking place in my life. I was being plagued by fears about how I was feeling, and anxiety. Then gradually that changed. I started to be less afraid. I have a low pain tolerance, and do not handle it well, but now I was pushing on through it. Moving on with my life. Drawing closer to God.

And oddly enough, I came to see that pain can be a gift. It’s not one anyone wants to keep. (I would hope.) I wouldn’t take it. But if it comes, and you accept that, then it is a gift.

Pain jolts you out of your stupor that the distractions of this world can put you into.

I know Christians who ware waiting for the next revival, the next breakthrough, the next movement of God. I think they don’t realize that they are waiting for pain.

Because pain is a part of creating life in this world. from childbirth to starting a business or becoming a professional athlete, it’s going to hurt.

Pain sucks, and no mistake. I don’t enjoy it. But I know it’s necessary. I still wish it wasn’t when I’m feeling it, but looking back I don’t want to change it.

Pain can indeed make you a believer, because you don’t know where you believe till you’ve been through the fire, the rain, and all that.

Sometimes the miracle is not being saved from suffering, but in seeing yourself changed by it.

So, good for Imagine Dragons. They hit something profound.

Until next time–Natasha.

Real Life Stories.

Permit me to write about something that probably makes me a geek: Story Structure and Cliches.

If you are not into film reviews like I am, or book discussions, you may not feel this subject is important, but I submit to you that it is and it affects your life more than you think.

Let’s jump in:

First of all, a story structure is the type of story you have constructed. Each genre has a few different structures to it. Romances have a comedic structure, or a sappy structure, or even a adventurous structure. It all over laps.

The structure, as you can probably guess, is the blueprint of how the story plays out. Its’s how you use your characters and plot devices, how you narrate the story, and how long it is. A short story has a different structure from a long (in this case 300+ pages) story.

The reason story structure is important to the non-writer or reader is because it will be present in pretty much every area of your life that you hear anecdotes, sermons, lessons, plans, or ideas in.

It can tell you a lot about a person when you know the structure they use to talk about themselves. Are they dramatic? Are they pragmatic? Are the emotional or are they stoic? What does their self;narration tell you about them.

I think, ladies and gentlemen, that the adage that life is a story is the truest way to describe it. The way we measure each other is through the elements of story. The way we talk is shaped by it.

You may have heard the saying that we are each the hero of our own story. I do not think that is true. It is quite possible to be the villain of your own story.

I was just watching a Superman movie, and before it came on some creators of a different Superman story were shown talking about their own personal kryptonite. The last man said “I would say I am probably my own kryptonite.”

That man is honest.

We have other weaknesses, but we are our own worst enemy most of the time.

Ever wonder why the protagonist who constantly makes mistakes and misses the point annoys you so much? They remind you of you.

People have acknowledge that we dislike the most human characters most strongly. In real life that is also true. People who screw up constantly frustrate us. The one worker on the job who has to be re-shown how to do something again and again, that student who’s a little slow, that junkie who won’t stay clean, you when you look at what you’ve accomplished in your life and think you could have done so much more.

We are vicious on these people as a society, and sadly often as individuals, I do it too.

But are we really just mad at ourselves?

I’m not the first person to suggest that, and I won’t be the last either. I am just throwing it out there.

In a story we root for the capable and the good. I’ve known some commentators to think this is delusional of us. That we don’t want to face up to our humanity in the flawed characters.

But writers understand why the good characters have to be the role model. They are the best of us and we only get better when we have a better person to admire and imitate. The human characters cannot do that for us because they can never be our superiors. In life you cannot look up to the person that is failing constantly. You have to find someone who is succeeding more that you.

Let’s talk about cliches/tropes now:

A cliche or trope is thing that writers use a lot, if it’s a trope it’s just a way to tell the story that is necessary to the style. But a cliche is overused, unoriginal or lazy.

In real life cliches show up everywhere as old poetical slogans, cheesy commercials, lame excuses. Don’t you hate them?

I know I roll my eyes.

But tropes are more interesting. I often, as part of the people group of internet review watchers, here people complain that a solution was used in a movie or book that seemed like magic, or too good to be true. Or even occasionally too bad to be true.

Tropes are fascinating simply because they show up in real life, tropes are what make stories seem real to us.

Here’s a few of them:

  1. The Chosen one.
  2. The magical happy ending
  3. Redeeming Wicked Characters

You’d be surprise how angry people get over the last one.

The chosen one means the hero is selected, one might say called, to be the answer to the stories problem.

It’s something we see in real life a lot. We know some [people are born to do certain things, and could not be happy unless they did them. Artists are born, writers are born, speakers, and those are just the common language ones. There’s thousands more.

We can see how historical figures were meant to shape the world. Gandhi being one of our more popular examples now.

The magical happy ending can be unrealistic, but more often then not it comes because the chosen one set things right. Peace is restored. People begin to thrive again. How often have we seen this in history? And even in our own lives. Maybe our happy endings don’t last,  but the principle remains. You notice any time a story becomes a series the happy ending is temporary. It is meant to resolve one problem, not every problem, and that is how we live it out in our lives.

As for redeeming evil characters, we don’t see this as often. But when we do it’s surprisingly true to how stories portray it. People change because someone is kind to them; because they realize what they’ve become; because they have a revelation of truth. This is how characters change in stories, and it’s true to life.

Why does all this matter to the person who does not care about assessing stories?

Because stories are going to shape how you think about this stuff in real life. IF you don’t believe someone in a story can change, chances are you don’t believe people can change.

It’s funny to me whenever someone acts like how they view fiction and how they view reality are separate. Like it’s not their mind and beliefs in both areas. Give me a break.

I hope this was enlightening or interesting to everyone, until next time–Natasha.

Upgrading kids.

“College is a waste of Time and Money.” is the ironically titled essay I had to read for last week’s classes. I was almost convinced to drop out of the college.

That was a joke obviously. But let’s be serious, is this opinion valid?

The Essayist thinks that if you’re only going out of a sense of obligation, or because you think it’s just what you do after high school, then it is a waste for you.

I do question, as a born and bred homeschooler, how effective institutional education is.

One of the points the essayist brought up is that college is like an extended adolescence for many kids. They aren’t ready to face the world, so they go to school, school is familiar.

That’s so sad, especially when I think how kids used to be raring to get done with school and enter the world at large to make a place in it.

As this essayist or one of the others I read observed, the world just doesn’t seem to have a place for these college kids. They go to college in the hopes that they will find a place afterward. When they are more useful.

I can’t say I blame them. How many kids know how to work?

I don’t blame the kids, by the way, most of them would have been happy to learn a skill if we just stressed it’s relevance, they don’t want to waste their time learning stuff they’ll never use.

When I briefly worked retail they taught me organization, but that was about it. I just needed to be fast and efficient. Which I wasn’t.

We were talking in class about how businesses see workers as liabilities now, not assets. With a few exceptions. So if you screw up, you’re out.

Which explained to me why I got fired. It didn’t matter to them whether I was honest or more dependable, I was just too slow. (Speed takes practice to build up.) Instead of being an asset they could train, I was just a liability.

After all, machines do it better and you don’t have to teach them.

But when we like our machines more than our people, what motivates us to train kids in hardworking jobs?

The great irony of electronics is that they are sucked up by Millennials and younger, even while they bite them in the rear by making those very age groups less necessary and less of a priority to businesses and organizations.

We don’t know much except for how to organize and drive forklifts and run computers.

I’d rather do a real day’s work so long as it was for something good. Some people have said I’m a hard worker, some people say I’m slow. Some people say this younger generation is lazy and indolent, others say we’re full of energy.

I think it’s a matter of perspective. One thing we aren’t is dependable. It hasn’t sunk in to us that there are things that have to be committed to all the way if they’re going to work out. Unfortunately, even schools tend to coddle students, all those second chances and programs to help them get by with less effort.

I’m all for helping someone who really needs it, but our methods don’t seem to working.

One thing people tell me is that I am stubborn. Or determined, to put it more nicely. They usually say it about how I pursue the things of God. But a positive side effect is that determination spreads to all areas of your life. I was not always a persistent worker, but I’ve changed a lot since becoming a Christian, because now I have a a reason to pursue goals.

I had a reason. So I changed. Sometimes either you upgrade, or you shut down.

And kids don’t have a reason to upgrade, so they shut down.

After all, do they really feel like society needs them? Do most kids feel like their family needs them?

I had a alteration in my perspective after my family moved and I realized that my parents really needed me to be more responsible, and my siblings needed me to be strong and able to help them. I was the bridge between the two.

Because parents tend to shield their kids from responsibility so the kids won’t worry, the kids feel they have nothing to offer. When was the last time you heard a kid talk about being necessary to something. They probably wouldn’t have used that word, but it would have been implied in their tone.

Before the past 50-60 years happened, kids were absolute necessary, even from the age of 6, to their families. They represented difficulties, but once they got older the parents needed them to help with chores, with the business, or with keeping house so the parents could work.

You see prosperity is meant to grow as your family grows. Ideally your business starts small but by the time your kids are old enough to help it’s gotten too big for you to handle. And then from family you get community as you bring in outside workers also.

It used to be that way. But things have inflated too much.

Still, we need our young people. Moms would not be so overwhelmed if they taught their older kids to help more and let them be responsible for stuff. Maybe we can’t let them work jobs (though child labor is only a bad thing when it is excessive, a few hours of it never hurt any kid as long as they were doing something they could handle) but we can let them help us.

There are always going to be mishaps. But adults forget their car keys, leave their phones as home, and lose paper work. Should we judge kids if they knock stuff over or do something wrong because we didn’t explain it to them?

Kids may not like working at first because we’ve taught them they shouldn’t have to do it. But once they get used to the idea, nothing is more rewarding for them then feeling they helped mom or dad do something difficult.

That’s a feeling I think young people shouldn’t be robbed of.

Until next time–Natasha.

Wiser than my teachers.

“You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.” (Psalm 199:98-100)

When I first read this passage, years ago now, U think what came to my mind was the many clashes I was having with teachers and elders at that time. I shared in a recent post how I am a free spirit.

Well, free spirits can have a lot of issues with authority.

We hate being bossed around.

Over the years, I have not really changed much when it comes to how I see authority.

I am not one to say I know more about fishing than a fisherman, or anything like that, of course I don’t. Yet it’s been my observation that even the experts in a field can be blind to the most obvious things about it, sometimes you need a novice person to make you see the profoundest things.

And to be honest, one of the chief problems with humanities approach to education is thinking that the person who knows the most facts and figures about something is the one who understands it best.

Facts and figures are crucial, and no mistake, but they feed only the mind. As C. S. Lewis pointed out in “The Abolition of Man” when we know with our mind but not with our soul, we are on dangerous and inhuman footing. We will question the very existence of reality and truth, and become unfeeling, uncompassionate, machine like people.

Which is exactly what is happening to many of us, sadly enough; and both the Left and Right, the Atheist and Theist, are noticing this problem. To their credit, Liberals and Atheists seem to care about it just as much as the sides of the spectrum I come into agreement with, and that should wake us all up.

One of the reasons I have always distinguished myself in Academics is not because I know the most facts about everything, I also don’t know much about math. I barely got through it with a B.

In five weeks of college I am already starting to get positive attention from my professors. Teachers can spot the different types of students a mile away. And it never takes long for mine to identify me as the smart, nice, girl. Who cares about what she’s doing. (Except for math, which is why I don’t take it.)

I appreciate the positivity I get from teachers, I enjoy it, who wouldn’t? I’ve been fortunate to be home-schooled and never picked on for being a geek or teacher’s pet. I have hopefully dodged that bullet since in college is really makes no sense for kids to make fun of each other for that.

Though I am getting on one of my classmates nerves, I can tell, for being white and ignorant of the lower classes problems.

Please. I wonder if she’s been to Skid-row. At least I’ve done something to help the lower class.

I am somewhat ignorant. Because I’ve had little contact with those people, I can’t help that, I am open to learning more. I read books and watch movies about their situation. What else can I do?

Anyway, my point is, my approach to learning is very much based on the heart of the matter. I will try to find, in everything I study, something that ties it into life, and into humanity. If I can’t find that, then why would I care about learning it?

And the secret to loving learning I’m realizing that every single subject out there affects either your life or the life of someone you know or someone you will have heard of and felt sorry for.

My homeschooling background is the chief reason I see learning this way. I pity people who never got that because I think education without heart misses the whole point. Even in public schools some teachers try to pass this on to their students, hopefully with success, but it can’t compare to getting 12 years of it.

My faith shapes my views of learning also. Growing up, going to Sunday school was something I had to do, but I loved it. I love learning life lessons from stories. I really couldn’t grasp why, after years in Sunday school, my peers still got mixed up about details I had known since I was in Kindergarten. Really?

In the end, Learning is a gift, and I apply it to everything I do. Nowadays adults tell me I’m wise for my years, it’s because I learn.

And I am not as wise as I wish. If I could learn as fast with my heart as I can with my head, I would be like Solomon. I can say that without bragging because the fact is all of us would be like Solomon if facts translated to wisdom. But they don’t, do they?

But why did I start this with that passage from Psalms?

This was on my mind because in class this week I actually corrected one of my professors on several points. The Bible was the reference, so I had an advantage. I knew my teacher wouldn’t be offended since our class runs on discussion. He actually asked for further clarification during the break, which was awesome. Though I could practically feel the other students thinking “know it all Christian.” Oh well.

Because of my background I have found that in some ways I do understand things better than my teachers. I always have. Even as a kid this used to happen to me. I think the reason is God has given me, like David, understanding.

I forget facts, I barely pass some tests, I make errors, but I absorb the soul behind the subject. I think and grow and get new ideas.

That’s true learning, and the best thing about it is it never stops, and it’s never too late to start learning that way.

Until next time, Natasha.

P.S. (If you like my movie reviews I should have some new superhero ones out soon. Stay on the look out.)

Free spirits.

Do you know what the hardest thing about college is? Remembering your assignments and instructions.

Some students are going “amen sister.”

Why does the system have to be that we do everything the way the book says?

This is the home-schooler in me talking, I’m too used to putting my own spin on things. I mean, for example, if someone gives you a writing assignment and lists some possible topics you could use, but adds “Or you  could pick something yourself” I am that girl who will pick something herself.

I don’t think that means you have to do everything the opposite of what people suggest. I take advice, I follow important rules.

But when it comes to stuff that is non-essential, I like to shake things up.

I have gotten in trouble with teachers more for wanting to do things my own way, or actually for resisting doing everything their way, then I ever got for being flat out disobedient.

I don’t directly disobey authority, I try to obey it on my terms.

I think someone reading this is bound to relate.

I apply this to my religion also, In fact I give God all the responsibility for me being this way. (Yeah, I can play that card.) I don’t wish to offend anyone, but I could never be Jewish, Mormon, Amish, or any of the more organized forms of the faith.

I hate regimentation.

I know that there’s merit in tradition and discipline, and I have no beef with the above sects for doing things that way, but it would drive me crazy.

I don’t think this about being too good for conforming, so much as it’s my character is already too developed in the kind of freedom I’m used to.

I love a good tradition, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to storm about how Christmas tress are dull and Easter services are restrictive. And I need to be more disciplined.

But tradition and discipline are like salt and pepper, some like a lot, some like a little, but at bottom they are still seasonings.

The main dish of life is variety and flexibility. Because life is unpredictable.

And that is why people like me, though we seem helter-skelter to those of you who live by a schedule, tend to bounce back a lot faster when our plans go awry.

I will say this, you don’t have to have an outgoing personality to be into individual touch.

My mom, for example, is an introvert who doesn’t like the spotlight and will read the instruction manual before doing something. She likes organizations.

but I admire my Mom, because through her faith she’s learned to be flexible and change her plans a lot. She would naturally prefer organization, but she will stay the most calm in the chaos and crisis, and bounce back the fastest. Though her personality might lead you to believe she’d have a meltdown under pressure, that’s only if you don’t know her very well. All the people who know my mom know she’s tough.

But in a quiet way that’s very different form me. Yet she has that same “design it your own way” thing. Though she reads the manual, my mom believes in creativity.

Which goes to show you can’t put people in a box.

My dad on the other hand prefers things be done his way.

I can be like that too, maybe too much actually. (I have that oldest child bossiness thing.) But I prefer to go my own way.

On principle I tend to object to movies and books that send that message to kids. Because I believe kids need to be guided and they are not mature enough to know which way to go much of the time. But I do not believe at all in micromanagement. My mom never did that with us, and I think that’s why we turned out to be free spirits.

Young teens need to be able to express themselves outside of what their parents like or understand, but I would never advocate letting teens be rebels in the name of expression.

I don’t have kids, yet based on my own experience, I’d say freedom within certain boundaries is always the healthiest way to handle kids and their creativity.

To tie this back into the college students out there, I think this shapes our approach to academia.

I am so used to thriving when I can express myself with freedom. I’ve had a couple teachers in my life who understood me in that way. But college professors are so busy, how cant hey be expected to nurture that?

Well, the truth is, college is the last chance teachers have to awaken that in young people before they turn them loose on the world. It’s a slim chance, because 18-25 year olds are already pretty set in their ways, but there’s a chance.

We need college professors to care just as much, if not more, then high school teachers, because this is the last schooling most of us get before we set off on our career paths.No one is ever too old to be mentored.

I will praise my English professor for being the only one of mine to get this in some way. But there’s precious few like him. IF you have one, you better be thankful.

Any person who is willing to teach thickheaded freshmen for eight hours to 16 hours a week has patience, but not everyone has inspiration.

College is the only part of education that puts two adults together but still on unequal footing. We’re all allowed to choose for the first time what we will learn.

But no matter ho much responsibility we take, it can’t be denied that teachers play a pivotal role in inspiring the student.

That’s all for now, until l next time–Natasha.

Your image.

You know how celebrities have whole teams of people in charge of PR? Or at least one agent, (it probably depends on just how big a deal they are,) you likely also know that these people are said to be in charge of the image of the star.

Or if some celebrity is getting a bad rap, they need to work on their image.

That’s the idea I want you to keep in mind.

What about us ordinary people? Don’t we worry about our image also?

We just don’t call it that. But we all think about how people see us. It’s like some pop songs say “The world is watching you” and we all feel like that sometimes.

Or maybe we feel invisible.

I think I tend to feel more invisible. I’ve been that person that nobody really talks to, or just waves or says a superficial hello to, but no one is really interested in my company.

I actually have a friend now who just became my friend pretty much because they actually liked talking to me, which shocked me considerably.

Not that people don’t say I’m interesting but you get the idea.

I know that I’m not the only one, I’d say at least 50% of humanity feels ignored a lot of the time, event he ones in the spotlight at their job, or in their family, or in the eyes of the world, when they aren’t performing, they feel ignored. That’s why a lot of people perform, it’s too get attention.

How does attention effect our image? Image is all about what kind of attention we get. Negative attention means a bad image, positive means a good, and no attention means…bad pretty much. Who likes being ignored?

Maybe those who have learned to like it as a means of self defense.

There are those souls who just seem self sufficient. You probably know one or two, or you are one, they seem happy by themselves. They’re introverts. They could go on singing their merry song without interruptions.

But I guarantee that even those people blossom out when someone takes a special interest in them.

How much of what we think of people is based on what we see of them? Tabloids rely on photos to influence our perceptions of people, commercials rely on images to affect our emotions, we post pictures of ourselves to give the impression that we are having a good life. OR maybe to plead for sympathy. It depends.

There’s that saying that no man is an island after all. We don’t want to feel like Robinson Caruso in our lives.

People are deeply lonely, that may be one of the defining characteristics of humanity. even career women and successful men who love their jobs feel lonely.

Often our success is just our way to compensate to ourselves for our personal pain. WE decide that if we can’t have what we really crave, hen we’ll at least have an impact in another area.

It’s been observed by others that we all wear masks, that we hide our true self.

But even if we were true to ourselves, I think the loneliness would remain.

I mentioned in a recent post how pain and suffering can make me feel lonely. My dad is getting over a bad cold, and he said the same thing about getting lonely just lying around being sick.

But I think human pain itself makes us lonely. I think knowing how much other people are capable of hurting us makes us lonely, we have trouble trusting them.

IT’s terrible to not be able to trust, it makes us insecure.

You’ll find pretty much all your issues can be traced back to someone breaking your trust at one point, or you breaking your own trust. I know all my issues do back to those two things.

How does that effect your self-image?

Here’s where we get to the part where all this comes together.

A celebrity’s obsession with their image to the public is just a manifestation of their obsession with self-image. They only get to parade it around for the rest of us. Get to? More like we make them do it. Society can be cruel to its idols.

But is there a way to stop this? Can we ever cease to be lonely? Can we get over our mistrust?

Well, the world’s answer is no. You can manage your junk, but you can’t get rid of it.

The religious answer is that you can get rid of it someday if you do the right things now.

The Christian answer is the only one I know of that gives three different answers that don’t contradict each other.

The Christian answer is first of all that we need to realize our image is supposed to be reflecting God. Genesis 1 says we are made in His image and likeness.

This means that we are literally God-like.

But obviously our image has been screwed up.

The second thing we need to do is recognize that in this life, we’ll never be perfect. SO in a way the world is right, our junk does stay with us all our life.

But, and that’s a big but, thirdly, we know that there is a next life.

It’s actually part of Christian doctrine to believe that heaven effects earth even now. In other worlds, our eternal life bleeds into our mortal life.

Our junk, our pain, and our sin, they happened. Nothing changes that. But Jesus can take those things and transform them. Use all of them to drive us to him, and to redemption, instead of separation. The more we embrace that, the more our eternal life impacts our here and now.

In a sense, our junk is removed even before we really feel different.

Our image can change.

Personally, I think it’s a relief to not have to worry about my image anymore. I do get hurt still, but I have a way to bounce back.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

 

A lantern in our hands.

I just read another great book titled “A lantern in her hand.” This isn’t a review of it, but I want to credit the book with inspiring this post.

The book is, as it turned out, about love. And I am a sucker for any story where love is the focus and the savior as it were. I say sucker, but I don’t believe it’s really naive to think so.

Love gets a bad rap when it comes to making it the saving grace of a story, but I would wonder what else is better?

So I have a question to put to you, viewers, what makes life worth while? I mean, what makes anything we do important?

You see the main character of the book has dreams to be an artist, a singer, a painter, and an author. She wants to put something fine into the world. As a modern woman (or man) we can all empathize. Almost all of us aspire to greatness at one point in our lives, whatever we may settle for later, and movies and popular stories have certainly helped drive it into our heads that any life that doesn’t change the world is common and ordinary.

I personally relate. I think I tend to see life as wasted when you aren’t doing something big.

The point this book made is that being a mother and a wife is a big thing.

Now, to even suggest that motherhood might be enough of an aspiration is resented by most women.

I won’t say I haven’t seen it that way myself, but I know better.

It’s not that motherhood is all a woman is good for. That’s not it. The point is that what is done in love is done well.

If someone dreams big dreams, it’s a good thing, but they have no failed in life if at the end of it, they fulfilled different dreams.

Some women dream of doing big things, and also of being mothers. Is it a failure if they fulfilled the latter, and fall short of the former.

What if it’s not wrong when a parent’s dream of the finer things is fulfilled int heir children’s lives?

It seems hard on the parents. But if there’s one thing the age of pioneers and pilgrims should have taught us it’s that one generation has to light the lamp, or the lantern, and dare to dream, even if they will never see the completion of the dream. Because sometimes one lifetime isn’t long enough for us.

Back in the Bible when folks lived to be 900 years old, they could have all lived to see their dreams fulfilled, but maybe now that our lives are shorter, we have to learn to be more content with less.

That’s not bad, I think on the contrary a shorter life leaves less time to get too comfortable in this old world. Which isn’t where we all belong.

I guess I’m rethinking my goals. I still hope to make an impact on the world, but if I end up in some corner of the globe with a small circle of friends and family to take care of and help and inspire, my life won’t be wasted. If I only get tot ell my stories to my children they are still worth telling.

Some parents, like the father in “Little Britches” and Casper Ten Boom from the writings of Corrie Ten Boom (The Hiding place; and In my Father’s House.) shine out most in when they leave behind in their children.

The Bible knew that parents are reflected in their children, not always, not every time, but often. I think today we’ve lost that.

Actually, we’re ashamed of it. We hate being like our parents because we feel it makes us less ourselves.

But the truth is, humanity is interconnected. When I went to Cambodia, I felt a common bond with the people there who couldn’t even speak English, it had nothing to do with how similar our lives or personalities were, but in that we’re all human. WE all share certain things.

In spending a few days in their lives, I expanded mine. For I became a part of theirs, and they a part of mine. I don’t mean that they influence what I do over here a whole lot, but there is a connection.

It’s hard to describe, some people have already hit upon the idea that humanity is all connected with each other, and I believe it’s true.

Even more so in families. We are a part of each other.

I believe strongly that we are all unique. But sharing our traits with others doesn’t take away from that. I resemble both my parents according to some people, but I don’t look exactly like either of them simply because I resemble both.

People are like those math problems where you have to figure out how many different way you can arrange the numbers. Only our numbers are limitless and we all have our own special part.

But what we share is, when you think about it, what enables us to love each other.

That’s why there’s so much hate now over he areas of racial tension both in America and all over the globe. It’s because the politicians are focusing on our differences. We should enjoy our differences, and I do, but inflaming them makes them more important than they really are.

Just like in any family where the parents or children puts too much emphasis on being alike or unlike each other. It’s just not important enough to fight over. (I mean of course, to ever begin to fight over. If one side is being unfair about it, I do think sometimes it has to be fought out.)

I might be white, privileged, young, and geeky, but it’s never bothered the people around me, no matter what their background is, and why should it?

To bring it back to the idea of accomplishment, I think the big things are kind of life the differences between people. Important, but not more important then things like love, wisdom, and nurturing and protecting and dreaming.

A wise man leaveth an inheritance for his children, the Bible says. And it’s no shame if in your whole life, what you accomplish benefits someone else more than you, some might even call that selfless living.

Until next time–Natasha.img_1549-4

Half the Sky.

This is a break in style for me, because “Half the sky.” is a book, not a movie.

Though if they make a documentary of it, I wouldn’t  be surprised.

This book is about turning the oppression of women around the world into opportunity for them.

As you know if you’ve been following me for some time, I am no feminist. I am also no activist. Not in the cultural sense of either term. But I would not let my political positions keep me from recognizing important issues.

Though the writers of this book do take a more Post-modernist/socialist approach to aiding women then I do.

But I won’t be blinded by the fact that we disagree on stuff. It doesn’t take away from how amazing this book is.

I have to say for its type, the book is brilliant. Normally books about world issues are kind of a dull read, not many people find facts and ideas all that interesting in nonfiction.

But this book is different. All the issues, from sex trafficking, to maternal mortality, to honor killings and rape, are presented through stories of real women. Most of whom beat the odds and went on to lead amazing lives, Some did not; but on the whole the stories were very inspiring. They all pointed to education as the common catalyst for a women’s empowerment.

I don’t think empowerment is as big an issue in the USA as it is just about every where else except Europe and a few wiser countries in the other continents. We complain when we don’t get paid a certain wage, or when we don’t have a lot of representatives in a certain field, but in most places it’s rare for women to have any say in any field. Even in how they raise their children or run their household.

It is not all the men’s fault either. Women are for some reason a lot more apt to hold themselves down then men are. Men tend to push the envelope, maybe it’s part of their nature; women tend to work with what they have. But what they have can be just about nothing.

With that in mind, this book is important. It’s important to now what’s going on in the world. Not every dirt has to be dug up, granted, but I don’t think issues that take the lives and rights of millions and millions of girls each year are minor or ignorable.

The book said that these issues get labeled as “women’s issues” and so they are put low on the priority list. And there is some truth in that. At least, when was the last time you heard mass rape and honor killings covered on the news? I hear about terrorist attacks far more often.

And that’s not wrong by any means. But I do think if women spent less time talking about clothes and makeup and stupid life tips on the air, and more time focusing on real world issues, it might get out there.

While I am not for making the government fund aid programs (it’s impractical) I am so for aiding programs by private citizens. The fact is those programs do better anyway. People connect more with individuals then with the UN or any other agency.

The book backs up it’s individual stories with research that is put in simple and easy to follow ways, and also  concise. The book is 250 pages long.

It’s not a short read, not for me anyway, but it’s better digested. One or two chapters at a time is about all you would need to get the most out of it.

So if you want to better educate yourself, definitely read this book.

Until next time–Natasha.

 

What we believe-3

So what  we believe is that Sin is bad, God is good, Jesus is unique, and righteousness starts on the inside.

I might as well call this part Hard things the Bible teaches.

Let me go back now to the person claiming the Bible is too old to shape how we do things.

This person wasn’t a Christian, or even an orthodox Jew from what I could tell, but they aren’t alone. Christians have said that too.

Most specifically about how we discipline children, and view sexual immorality. Both between same sex and opposite sex couples.

They claim that the Bible’s advice to spank children is outdated and part of the mindset back then. They claim this, even though that advice comes directly from Solomon, who was the second wisest man to ever live, according to God Himself. And whose proverbs prove true in every other circumstance. No one argues that laziness leads to poverty, a nagging wife is worse than no wife, and fools can’t be cured by stripes or sound reason.

But we chafe at the idea of hitting Children.

Okay, I’m not a monster, I know it sounds sick. And if I wanted people to agree with me, I could pick almost any other point of contention to discuss and get more open minded responses.

But in true Jesus fashion, I’m going for the most problematic thing.

The reason is, if we discredit God’s view, then we are saying God can be outdated.

The complete arrogance of us, if we claim that God is real, to say that we could be more progressive than Him, is beyond belief.

But people will support gay marriage and ignore what the Bible clearly teaches on it in favor of what the world says, and they will ignore what the Bible says about children.

Now to be clear, the Bible does not say Children are wicked. Jesus encourages us to become like children, but be adults in understanding. And that is why discipline is encouraged. Because Children do not start out wicked. But if neglected, all human nature tends towards it’s worst parts, because we can’t help it. We are born into sin.

I’m going to be fair and admit that thousands of people have been physically disciplined by parents, and it made them worse off, and bitter, and left a scar.

But the only time I was ever mad at my parents truly for spanking me was when it was for something I didn’t do. Injustice is what stings.

Which is why many people do find spanking traumatizing I believe, it’s not the spanking itself. If pain itself equaled trauma we would all hate our siblings who slapped us, or even our friends or our pets.

But when trust has been broken between parent and child, physical discipline, or any discipline at all is fanning the flames.

The issue is trust.

The Bible says that God disciplines those He loves, using suffering often far worse than a spanking, to teach them not to sin, or to teach them patience. It’s not fun.

And people hate it, possibly more now than they ever have. Life is too easy for some of us, and too hard for others. Both types of people will find discipline form God a disheartening idea, and will likely resent it from their parents.

But, and please hear this with an open mind, that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

We need to adjust our idea of bad. To the modern mind, if it is painful; if it produces tears; if it’s upsetting; then it is bad.

But that’s a fairly new, and not an enlightened idea at all.

Because how many more people need therapy now because they think all painful things that happen to them warrant trauma. Things have come to a pretty pass when electing the wrong president is enough to throw people into an emotional tailspin.

Furthermore, spanking is one thing, but people who have a problem with corporal punishment, often (not always) were actually beaten or other wise abused. Spanking leaves no real damage. And a good rule of thumb is, if it damages, it’s too far.

But I’m no expert. To me that is what makes sense.

I’m not saying that every parents needs to spank. Some children can be ruled by other means. But some can’t.

The Bible expects parents to use their heads when it comes to that sort of thing. Jesus once said “if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to you.”

The point is, would God tell us to do it if it wasn’t good?

And that leads to other complaints people have about the old testament. Like why would God command entire nations to be wiped out.

And Christians would never argue that that’s okay now (I hope.)

Any why would God condemn homosexuality? (Don’t shoot the messenger. It’s in there.)

There are two options, maybe three.

Some say God has changed over time. That is, they say that things were different back then, and harsher, and it was a different world. It was, but it’s not because God changes. It’s because we change.

Others say it shows that Christianity is uncivilized in its origins, and that’ is why it can’t be taken seriously now. But they are going by a definition of civil that was ironically created by the spread of Christianity. (until the idea of brotherly love got about, the idea of killing people over religion wasn’t ever considered ridiculous, it’s why Jesus was crucified to begin with.)

The third option, aside from choosing to say some parts of the Bible aren’t real, and not many will go there (I hope;) is that God does not change, but He can change the rules.

C. S. Lewis explained it best in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” Certain laws have been in place since before time itself. Time itself is a law that was in place before the law of Moses was given.

And those laws supersede the laws that were given to tide us over till Christ came.

The Law itself is universal, when it comes to how we should treat each other and how we should treat God. But the part about dealing with Sin was never meant to be the way things were forever. And we know that because in the prophets, God speaks often of a time when sin will be gone forever, and forgiven forever, and we will never be separated form Him again. No more sacrifices, no more death, no more suffering.

He also says He takes no delight in animal sacrifices in of themselves. Only preferring them to destroying people. (Wouldn’t’ you?)

This may sound like a broken record, but remember, we are the guilty party here. We are the ones who deserve death. God could justly destroy the whole world, and he almost did once. But he promised never to do it again and He won’t destroy this earth till the end of time.

The only reason we see things differently now is because we’ve had Jesus’ work in place for 2000 years. And the world’s viewpoints have altered. But in the time Jesus was here, they still view all sin as worthy of death.

The point is, though God allows us to question His decisions, it is because of His mercy. Because we don’t have the capacity to understand Him.

But lest this sounds like a cop out when my whole point was to lay out what we believe, let me say that this is what we believe. That no man can understand God unless God enables Him to.

If you understood anything of what I’ve been saying, it’s the grace of God. Because let me tell you, I didn’t use to get it. Often I still don’t.

I have days when it all seems clear to me. But most days, I have the merry go round of opinions spinning through my head. I think about what the world says about God and I wonder what basis I really have for disagreeing.

And the thing is, my doubts prove nothing. Nothing except that men are easily swayed by each other’s opinions. Which is true whatever you believe.

But the fact that sometimes I can see how the pieces fit together, that gives some pause. Because it’s hard to be sure of anything in this chaotic culture of ours.

But I am sure.

And I will continue to be sure, whether or not people think it’s crazy, outdated, or even morally wrong to believe what the Bible teaches.

If a little fall of rain can drown you faith, it didn’t have deep roots to begin with.

Until next time–Natasha.