Why lions are awesome!

Lions and tigers, and leopards, oh my!

I had to get that terrible joke out of the way.

I’ve been watching NatGeoWild a lot lately. I may not be a huge animal person, but I have my level of interest. Which has certainly been expanded by the things I’ve been watching.

The channel just had a Big Cats week, so I recorded about ten different programs, which I still haven’t finished watching.

My favorite big cats by far are the lions. Cheetahs and leopards and jaguars are cool. But lions take the grand prize.

I am no professional, but my astute observation after so much research is that lions are unpredictable.

If you have cats of your own (I have three) you probably would agree that cats are often predictable to a retain extent, but constantly do things that puzzle you. Like one of my cats likes being petted only every so often, and only on her head. But sometimes she lets you do more. There’s really no way to know.

Lions are like that times ten. Traditionally we all know them as the king of beasts, but not everyone knows that they are good mothers, protective fathers, and surprisingly affectionate pride members.

Watching the lions and lionesses with each other reminds you of watching a pair of highschoolers with innocent school level crushes, or a new married couple perhaps.

Lions date, did you know that? It’s not exactly how we do it, but when an aspiring male wants to mate with his female of choice, he has to prove himself, usually by bringing her dinner or helping with a catch.

Lions risk their lives to get food, so the lion has to be committed to this idea before he goes for it.

But lions are no easy pickups. Some swatting and growling can be involved before they agree to be mates.

I also think that those who represent lions as only bloodthirsty killers have never actually watched lions alone.

Lions are very territorial, but they still can surprise you.

9 out of 10 times, a lion will chase another lion off, or look out for number one.

But I was watching one story about three different lion prides. One of which was decidedly more fierce and merciless. These lions had some excuse to be, since they had to guard a whole herd of buffalo, whereas most prides don’t rely on just one herd for food. But there was one horrible part where they tortured one unlucky member of a rival pride to death.

It was so sad, the pride the victim was from had to surrender to save her life but in the end they got too dehydrated and had to move on, thought hey waited as long as possible. The mother of the lioness waited the longest.

I started feeling bad at this point, even though it was a lion, and it wasn’t like I knew her or anything.

But it turns out I must not have been the only one. The next day the three prides (one of which stayed out of he fight,) all stared trying to eat the same giraffe, and the merciless lions tried to take another lioness form the competition. This time the lionesses pride didn’t do anything, probably because they had surrendered and figured they were licked.

But then something even the commentator couldn’t explain happened. the other rival pride, the owners of the turf, stepped in and drove the angry lions off. Saving the lionesses life, though she was hurt. The angry pride didn’t dare mess with the actual owneres of the turf. (Kind of like a kid int he cookie jar doesn’t throw a temper tantrum.)

you have to understand, these lions had no real reason to help out. They just wanted these intruders off their land.

My personal thought was they’d seen the killing the day before, and sometimes I think lions just get tired of it. They didn’t want to settle things that way.

And that’s a really human emotion to witness from wild animals.

IT put me in mind of all those cute stories of how animals save lives. Which my sister reminded me of after I shared this story with her. Whatever you might think of cats and dogs, both creatures have been unknown to rescue both each other and humans.

Even wild animals have been known to save humans, for whatever reason. Lions included.

If you have read this far, first thank you; second, you might be wondering why I told all this. It’s not exactly my normal subject matter.

Well, hey, I have other interests. This is my blog , I can do what I want.

But also, I found these lions inspiring, in the way only animals can be. Sometimes it takes an animal to remind us of what it means to be human,

Mercy, compassion, these are the exceptions int he animal kingdom. And animals aren’t evil for that, they do have to survive in am roe basic way than we do.

But that’s exactly why we should realize that if even wild beasts can find some compassion in themselves, it must be an important part of life.

Some lionesses take care of cubs that aren’t there’s even when it’s at risk to themselves. Sometimes the males, classically portrayed as eating off what the girls hunt, actually allow struggling mothers and cubs to share with them.

Lions are a lot of things but they aren’t selfish.

And I think that’s a lesson for us.

For me, watching this was amazing for another reason, because I thought that God made lions, and God is compassionate. If even his wild creations can show mercy, then how much more his intelligent, spiritual ones?

And those are my thoughts for now. Until next time–Natasha.

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God is good.

God is good.

That’s a favorite debate topic for Christian films. I guess it’s also a favorite DC topic since Lex Luthor makes that infamous statement “If God is all powerful, He cannot be all good.”

Because it’s been talked aobut so much, I’m not sure I have any new wisdom to add to the subject, but I’d like to discuss it for a minute.

I just reread “The Hiding Place,” which is a really good book, and I felt like toward the end the quesiton of God’s goodness comes up.

What ‘s funny about The ways of God is that just His power is not enough to convince us He’s right.

We’ve all apologized when we weren’t sorry or admited something we didn’t want to admit becuae we were afraid of someone in power over us. For very weak minded people, power seems to equal right, even though philosophically we would scorn hat idea.

But I notice that in the Bible, way back in the Old Testament, people often only obeyed God because of His power.

Actually, up until recently in our history, that was totally acceptable logic. We like to feel we have the moral high ground, but many of our ancestors would have thought it was just common sense to obey whatever god was most powerful. It’s led to some messed up religions.

To bring  it back to the point, everything that happens to the Ten Booms in the latter half of the book seems to be terrible. Corrie and Betsie escpecially suffer in three different prisons, one of them the hellish Ravensbruck.

Corrie speaks of wondering why such cruelty could happen, of having to trust God to carry the burden of what she saw and felt watching the atrocities that happened there.

Though we cannot all have witnessed such things firsthand, we have plenty of news examples nowadays to make us ask that same question. Why did God allow it? Is he really good.

In the movie version of the Hiding Place, one embittered prisoner mockingly tells Betsie and Corrie that God is either powerless, or He is cruel, they can’t have it both ways.

Betsie replies “When you know him, you don’t need to know why.”

This is the kind of thinking that makes skeptics believe religious people are crazy. AT least, I think if I were a skeptic I would think it was crazy.

Would you trust God if you were going through death warmed up? If you lost everything? Would you believe God was good if you were mistreated be everyone around you and all you saw was cruelty?

Perhaps, after a time, all of us would begin to falter, if we were left to ourselves/

But God didn’t leave Corrie and Betsie without some signs. The little miracles that happened. Corrie not being checked in line while she has hiding the Bible, the vitamins bottle that did not run dry, the mercy of an otherwise merciless guard or medical trustee, Betsie’s visions.

What I draw from the story is that if God truly meant for us to be miserable, He would no provide these little wonders, these signs of love.

You can’t make those fit in with the idea of a distant, cold God, unless you really stretch your imagination.

Terrible things happen to us that God does not stop, but if we know personally that HE is good to us, then logically, we know these things do not mean He is doing us an evil.

John Eldredge (author and speaker) says that we have doubs about God’s goodness, we might know how He acts in front of a lot of people, signs, wonders, etc. but what is He like when you get alone with Him?

Well, here my theology meets reality. As someone who claims to have a relationship with God, what is my experience of Him?

(Actually, it surprises me how little I talk about this. I’m not ashamed of it, but even at church the subject comes up way less than you would expect.)

In many ways, knowing God personally is a private thing, more so than even knowing your spouse; but it is also meant to be shared.

My knowledge of God is that He is caring, He is loving, He does meet the needs of His children.

Personally, I have had harsh things said to me by people, people have betrayed my trust, people have misjudged me, God has never done that.

Some might say that’s because He is not real, or He is not like I think He is, so how could He do any of those things?

But for my money, none of that matters, I know what I know.

The evil man kind does to itself is bad enough, that there should be any light at all in the sea of darkness is a flat out miracle.

Like how the studios that produced Batman vs Superman also produced Wonder Woman.

Or how the same company that gave us some of the stupidest shows on TV also gave us movies like Frozen, Cinderella, Big Hero 6, and other classics.

Jesus said that the condemnation of men is that lights has come into the world, but men loved darkness.

And to my amazement, and yet also not for I have been guilty of it too, the real reason people doubt God is good is because they themselves are not good and do not want to change.

Bitterness, hate, selfishness; we don’t like giving that up.

Anyway, I hope that made sense.

Until next time–Natasha.

The Good Doctor.

I don’t know if any of you have heard of the person Temple Grandin. She was a high functioning autistic woman, (actually I believe she’s still around,) she thought in pictorials.

I think we owe her some of our modern understanding of the condition, and also of how people who have it cope with things and overcome their disability.

Unlike with deafness or blindness, no one can really argue that Autism is not a disability. It causes a lot of frustration for the people who have it. I’m sure thy often wish they didn’t. But it’s the way they are and they have to deal with it.

I want to say upfront I don’t see these people as weird, or less then human, as some  have in the past. I see them rather as people who have involuntarily been put behind these glass walls of communication. They can look out, but it’s much harder to get out. And much harder for us to get in.

I want to give a cautious endorsement today to one of abs’s newest shows.

First off, I don’t like abc at all. So this is a big thing for me, but for once I like what they are doing.

The new show is barely a month old. It’s The Good Doctor.

Anyway, the main character of the Good Doctor, Shawn Murphy, is autistic. He is amazingly high functioning, but still very much autistic. He talks with the odd monotone they use, and has to have things a certain way.

Shawn is a doctor (duh) at as hospital in San Jose, California. They were reluctant to take him on because he has a hard time with communication. Which they really stress as important for the patients.

Back when I first started seeing commercials for this show, I was skeptical that the writers would do anything imaginative with it, though I thought it was a good idea.

I don’t know about you, but thanks to the relatives I have who like medical drama shows, I’ve seen quite a bit of Grey’s Anatomy, Bones (not exactly medical, but similar,) and NCIS.

And not one of them stressed communication and patient comfort that I could see. So, yay for San Jose!

Though the hospital has plenty of issues in its inner workings, which I’d like to think are exaggerated for dramatic effect, and not what real hospitals are focusing on, but I have no real knowledge of it.

But even though the authority figures there are concerned with image and increasing their numbers; the live-ins, Shawn, Clair, and Jared, are a tad more concerned with helping people. Especially Clair, who is actually getting in trouble quite a bit for being too nice and not honest enough with the patients.

Shawn has no filter when he speaks, so after he’s hired he steps on people’s toes without realizing why they would have a problem with what he’s saying. He has the gift of thinking in pictures and patterns (like the real life Temple Grandin) so when he looks at the human body, he intuitively understands it far better than the average doctor. He can figure out things in his mind that machine scans can’t pick up on.

A bit like Superman, who can see better with his own X-ray vision, than any X-ray machine can. Because the human capacity is always more flexible and can be improved and honed in time, while a machine can’t correct or stretch itself.

Shawn may have no social skills whatsoever, but his heart is in the right place. He is always striving to make sure the patient is completely healthy.

What I would say this shows gift is is that it understands what you, the audience, are felling watching it. Clair wants to understand Shawn better but knows nothing about how to handle him, so she starts from the ground up. And we feel the same way, trying to comprehend this person, and even though we often get glimpses into what’s going on in his mind, we still struggle with really understanding him.

It makes me wonder if the writers themselves are figuring it out as they go and hoping to better understand Autism because of their efforts.

Actually, I feel like I have almost a unique perspective on this type of thing. At least a different one than anyone else I know has.

Because, whether you have Autism, or whether you just don’t fit into the social mold society has established; it’s your decision whether you will withdraw further than ever and become even more locked into your own mind, or whether you will push the barriers.

Temple Grandin was a real life example of what Shawn Murphy is fictitiously demonstrating. Someone who realized she was different form other people, but knew that didn’t have to stop her from doing something with her life, and also realized that if her needs should be met and understood, then she should understand other peoples.

For example, Temple didn’t like being hugged. (I used to dislike that also.) But overtime she realized what a hug meant to people and she grew to offer them as a way to comfort others.

The more I learn about people with disabilities, the more I’m convinced the actual disability is the one we choose to have.

The introvert only becomes a total recluse when they accept that they can’t function with other people at all.

The person with dyslexia only becomes illiterate when they accept that they can never find a way around their problem with printed text.

You get the idea.

In conclusion, I like this show’s progress so far, I think it might actually accomplish what you would hope its goal is. To help people better understand those who have this condition, and know how to respond to them.

That’s worth making a show for.

Until next time–Natasha.

Propaganda.

Do you know what freaks me out? How I can’t watch anything now without being concerned about propaganda being slipped in.

Seriously, it bugs me.

Well, one person’s propaganda is another person’s truth; or at least it’s what they believe is true.

Propaganda: information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

Originally from a Latin phrase meaning “spreading the faith.”

Obviously propaganda isn’t always bad. Anyone who believes in something will spread it around.

The only problem is when propaganda is spread around under the name of fact.

I could say it is a fact that God exists. But I can’t prove it; and no one can prove He does not exist. It’s a matter of belief (and evidence.)

Evidence is never fact until  it’s been confirmed that your interpretation of the evidence is correct. Like in Legal Cases. Or in a detective novel, a good detective never says who did it until they are certain the evidence is irrefutable. Then the guilty party inevitably does something to prove them right.

All this being said, I guess I have no right to complain about propaganda in media and entertainment. To make a piece of art devoid of propaganda is nearly impossible.

What does bother me is when it’s propaganda I don’t agree with.

I guess the only thing to do would be never to watch anything ever again. But I doubt I could go through life doing that successfully.

Still, isn’t it kind of sick that I can’t watch even children’s shows without worrying about some sexual orientation propaganda being in it.

OF course, I’m realizing that that is widely accepted as fact now. That I’m gong to be seen as a bigot for having a problem with that.

cause that’ always the hide road, isn’t it? Call anyone who disagrees with you a bigot and put a label on them so you can shut them up.k

I won’t say that you can believe whatever you want. The people who say that don’t really mean it.

When was the last time you heard someone say “believe whatever you want” about Racism.

“Yeah, believe on race is better than the other, that’s fine. It’s your personal truth.”

Or what about slavery? Yes, slavery is okay as long as you believe it is.

(Yikes, if someone only read those last two lines I could be really misunderstood.)

Okay then, so not everything is open to personal belief. Clearly Racism is wrong. Slavery is wrong. It’s wrong because we as a society have moved beyond that.

Or was it always wrong? Even when society was practically built around segregation? Or slavery.

Clearly enough, unless humanity is suddenly more enlightened than it ever was, society in general can’t decide right and wrong.

Now, most people would not say society shapes their views. But many of them, if they looked back, would see that the people they grew up around, and the things they watched and read and were taught, are still what they believe now.

People may think it’s even noble to believe what they do. Like believing in homosexuality. It means their open minded, and not biased. Those people would also do well to examine themselves more closely.

Because,whatever the belief is, believing it because it makes you a better person in the eyes of the world is the wrong reason to believe. And I would say that about my own faith too.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where if you had doubts about the faith, you could express them and not be shamed for it. My mom would tell me we all go through times of doubt. I wouldn’t have to feel like I was the only one who had questions.

By and large, that saved me from believing just to get points. I don’t think anyone is ever completely spared from that temptation, but it’s not what motivates me now.

A good question to ask yourself is “If I was the last person on Earth who believed what I do, would I still believe it?”

Any real faith would say “Yes.” Because real faith is not based on other people, or on what you see around you, but on what you don’t see and still know.

The reason I believe in God is because I have experienced things with God that I never experienced with people. People never gave me deep peace, or true joy, but when I became a Christian, I had those things.

You could never convince that was in my head, I’ve been in my head too long to think there’s any peace or joy to be gotten from there. (Some of you know what I’m talking about.)

Only God could explain me finding things I never could find in the world. There has to be something outside the world that can provide those things.

And when you believe that, you have real faith.

Which is not to say everyone who believes that is on the right track, but they are at least being real, and that’s the point all truth starts from.

We all need to be real. We need to admit that some things that ate accepted as fact have never been proven. We need to admit that till we’ve really been tested on something, we don’t know if we really believe it.

Someday you will be called upon to choose a side. It may seem like there’s only one side to be on when it happens, but there are always two. There is always another option. And all of us should decide now which we’re gong to pick.

And stick to our guns. Propaganda or no.

(Propaganda helped me come to my faith, but it was not the thing that drove me to it. There’s a difference from having something beat into your head until you believe it, and actually facing your demons and recognizing them for the first time.)

Until next time–Natasha.

(The cover photo is not intended as a direct crack at Hinduism, it was just the most religious example I had.)

 

Getting Connected.

I recently told you all about learning ASL, okay time to confess:

I have been watching ASL videos almost nonstop the past three weeks. I’m talking about every single day.

And those of you ho have tried to learn a new language know, it can make your head ache.

But when you do it that much, you will either have so much in your head it can’t compute, or if you’re like me and already are partially familiar with ASL, you will start thinking, breathing, even dreaming in  sign language.

There will be moments when instead of spoken words coming first, sings will come to your mind.

You won’t be able to sing without using motions.

yeah, someone out there knows what I mean.

Or, in my other language of study, Spanish. Sometimes I voice things in Spanish. I do have to think about it and the grammar.

Probably everyone knows about the effects of having a second or third language. One thing I’m particularly proud of is being able to sign while speaking Spanish. Or even another language. So long as I thoroughly know what the other words mean, I can sign it too.

But actually that’s not so difficult. Other Signers have talked about being able to speak two languages at once. The hard part is singing and talking, not really what language you’re talking in.

I know talking about this isn’t my typical subject matter, but it is something I’m interested in, and I think other folks are interested too.

Actually there’s  a growing interest in deaf culture. A lot of young people ware interested in it.

I’m fortunate to have discovered some good YouTube channels and  a Deaf Center not too far from where I live, but for years I had neither of these. (One of the Channels has only been around for a couple year to begin with, I started learning before then.)

Deaf people no longer consider their lack of hearing to be a disability, but most hearing people do. And many even treat deaf people like they’re stupid. Or make fun of sign language.

Even I have heard the jokes about knowing sign language…followed by getting the finger. I mean, seriously?

What’s worse is that I found out to be an interpreter you need five years of training at least, and that is for legal or medical signing.

I can’t sign legal or medical terms extensively, I don’t know how I would learn that unless I got involved with some program for it. It’s not everyday speech for the most part. (I mean, deaf people talk about that stuff of course, but they wouldn’t to someone they didn’t know well anyway, most people don’t do that.)

I am more interested in interpreting at a Church, or some other organization that would be less formal and involve more friendly interaction. But when I was assessed, I was assessed only on  News/political and medical categories. (Plus speed and accuracy, which I did poorly.) Naturally I hadn’t studied either of those much.

As important as those things are, there’s everyday situations that I would probably learn to handle a lot more quickly and would come up a lot more often. What I’m not sure of is if interpreters are used for that.

So you see, I know very little myself about the culture.

But since I’ve been studying it more, I’m convinced the gap does need to be bridged.

A lot of the Deaf are convinced that the Hearing community can’t understand them, and that overall it doesn’t want too. In my experience that’s not always the case, but I have limited experience.

A person like me, who has no deaf family and has not been to school and studied ASL there, and who is still interested, is rare. There are not many who just want to learn without having any personal contact with  the deaf world.

I’m unique in that way.

For me it started with the language and then eventually I started being more interested in the speakers of the language.

Anyway, here’s the thing about the cultural difference:

What I hate is when people assume I can’t possibly understand them because I was raised differently. It always makes me determined to understand.

The way I see it, I don’t know what it’s like to be deaf, or blind, or even Hispanic. It’s true, that’s not my culture.

And they don’t know what it’s like to be me, in my culture. No one knows what’s it’s like to be me, except me.

So it is silly to say that having the ability to hear or not hear puts any more of a barrier between people than just having different lives and backgrounds always does.

What I feel, only I know. I and God. What they feel, only they know.

My point is that we’re all human, I happen to believe that humans beings can understand each other as much as they wish to. They just don’t usually wish to. And that goes for any relationship under any circumstances.

If anything, being bilingual will help you appreciate someone’s choice to try to communicate with you at all, instead of being resigned to awkward silence.

I have a feeling we all have had that experience  too many times for comfort.

I would rather not be put in a box. I would rather not have anyone assume I feel one way because I’m hearing; because I’m white; because I’m middle class (barely’) because I’m young; because I’m a Millennial; because I’m a Christian; because I’m a conservative; because I’m from a two-parent home; because I’m homeschooled.

All these things shape who I am. Only one of them defines it. (You can guess which.)

No one should assume I think a certain way or feel a certain way until they know me beyond the labels. No one should put me in a box.

And that goes for deaf, blind, special needs, and any other thing you can think of.

It’s not what category I’m in but how I act and believe that will make me what I am.

And that transcends any disability and any difference that’s only on the surface.

So, that waxed very poetical towards the end, but I think I made my point. Until next time–Natasha.

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Awkward grace.

For King and Country–2

In my previous post I explored the knee bending issue, but I wanted to get into the actually reason for the title of these two posts.

I recently heard a pastor point out that whether you like the President or not, you should respect him. And I was surprised, not for any lack of agreement, but because I don’t seem to recollect hearing that preached on before, even for a brief moment. (Though I have read the idea at least.)

Do you know what happened when Hitler took over the Youth of Germany? The system began teaching them disrespect for the old and weak, (and anyone not a German.)

It was horrifying in cultures where respect for elders was a given principle of life, but I believe every tyranny of that sorts starts out by teaching the youth to despise certain things.

In China it was the Rich, the wealthy, the overlords. Anyone who had any valuables.

Those of us who aren’t in the Country and who see value in these things, are dumbfounded that people could ever be convinced they were worthless. But it’s brainwashing. They weren’t allowed to question it.

You can guess where I’m going with this, I think many people who influence this country are now trying to bias it against the morals that would make it harder for them to take over.

Once upon a time, in a land not far away, Slander and Libel, (See. J. Jonah Jameson for the difference between the two,) were considered low things to commit. Everyone knew of course that people did it, but those people were looked down upon as being willing to say anything for a sensation.

Now, that goes without saying.

Now the thing that we are all supposed to forget about is Respect.

Respect for leaders, for authority, for law and order.

Think about it, there is no such thing as respect for any of those things in most of the Media now. In many parts of the country, people disregard the value of those institutions.

It might seem that the leaders of this country have more to lose than gain if all the youth in it have zero respect for the leader themselves, but that’s where their plan becomes diabolical.

In addition to not giving anyone respect whom we don’t personally like, we are taught to blindly listen to anyone who echoes our own beliefs, the opinion we want to have supported, and who appeals to our personal taste.

It doesn’t matter how immoral they are, we like what they do.

To youths of this country, Older People may seem prudish when they don’t like the things they watch or listen to (or even when they do like them) but the fact is, some of them at least have their reasons.

Some of our parents and especially Grandparents can just remember a time when people were not revered if they behaved in the ways celebrities often behave now. They were not defended by any decent folks.

They can remember a time when not all sin under the sun was glorified or laughed at.

I wish I remembered a time like that.

To get back to the main point, The President should be respected.

There will probably be those who wonder if I respected Obama.

The answer is, as a man, no. I had no respect for him, his intelligence, or his ideals. I couldn’t.

As a leader, I was never happy with him, but I would not say things like what I hear being said now.

We are allowed the right to criticize the president, by the Constitution. But not to make death threats against him (or anyone) and his family; to slander him without a cause, or to lie about him.

To show videos of him that can be interpreted many ways.

To call him the names that he has been called.

Now, though I considered what we do with our mouth to be vital, I’ll admit that we are given the right to say whatever we want. The Founders knew that plenty of folks would criticize the leaders, but the also wanted to have a balanced view of the population.

Not a one sided view that tries to shut up any voice that goes against it.

I don’t think they intended for us to be lied to constantly as a whole.

I also don’t think they intended to ever suggest that leaders do not deserve respect; but even if they did not address the issue, the Bible does.

That might not matter to some, but there are plenty of Christians saying the same things as the secular world view sources.

Pure hostility is dishonorable, and it never changed a nation. Except to turn it against the very people who would have preserved it.

The German youth turned against those who would have told them that  love for your fellow man, and respect for the old are vital things if you would become wise and prosperous in a lasting way.

The Chinese turned against those who could have resisted the new government most effectually, and who could have kept some wealth among them.

We are turning against those who could have united us, and slowed down our path toward utter chaos and destruction.

Even now we could turn back, if we realized what we were doing. It’s why deception is so maddening to hear about and to see,  because the deceived believe themselves to be clear sighted.

But having said my say, I don’t intend to worry about it for long. My hope does not depend on the Government. I don’t feel grieved for my own fate as much as for the fate of millions who will never know what hit them.

One more thing, supposing that, in a future time, I come to think our president is not what I had hoped him to be.

Even so, and even though Obama was exactly what many feared him to be, my respect for him should not waver when it comes to the public. Whatever  I think in private, my public opinion should be put in such terms as will not disrespect, however much they may offend, the president and his supporters.

You can be honest, and not hostile. Blunt, and not cruel.

That’s my perspective–Until next time, Natasha.

Wish Fulfillment.

I’ve been rereading “Pride and Prejudice” for the umpteenth time.

I am not one of those Austen-land level fans (though I’d totally spend a week at an English manor wearing Empire Waist dresses and having tea.) But I have to appreciate the brilliance behind that book as much as the next person.

Jane Austen loves the Cinderella story. Poor girl attracts rich man with her charms of sense and character, and they eventually live happily ever after.

Even if a lot of the ending does seem like wish fulfillment, it’s the best kind of wish fulfillment. We all know how it should end, and in books if no where else, endings ought to be what should have happened, at least 90% of the time.

I had no problem with wish fulfillment endings before I started watching movie reviews on YouTube. Then I was introduced to how critical my generation tends to be.

And the one who aren’t critical seem to blindly like whatever movie panders to them, be it good or bad.

I would not be the one to say we should all just drop our differences and get along because sometimes there are legitimate points on both ends of the spectrum.

Too much criticism renders anyone, but especially a youth, cynical.

No criticism at all renders anyone gullible and empty headed about art.

Wish fulfillment is one of the main things that gets complained about.

“Oh that was convenient.” “She is such a Mary Sue.” “This ending makes no sense at all.”

My problem more often is that I feel that the movie provides its happy ending just to avoid making people angry, and doesn’t bother to work it out so that it’s convincing.

Heck, all the difference between a good ending and a bad one can be made with just the actors. In book form that’s a little harder to pull off.

But my question is what is so wrong with wish fulfillment anyway?

Don’t we all want to get what we wish for? Isn’t that how we define a wish?

On what planet then do we complain about getting what we wanted?

On Planet Earth of course.

I guess people only complain when the fulfillment was what someone else wished for, not them.

I can’t argue with that myself. I certainly prefer endings I wanted, but there have been times when a different ending works out well and I have to admit that.

But in life, many of us just want to get what we want.

Though to be honest, I wonder if most young people know what they want now. The ones I know don’t seem to have more than a vague idea. I know I only have bits and pieces. Even older folks don’t seem to have a clue what they want.

If you went up to ten different people and asked them “What do you want? I mean really want? More than anything else in the world?” Most of them would give you either a stupid answer that they clearly didn’t think through, or possibly a blank look and a shrug.

For example. If you were to say the next iPhone, that would be a stupid answer. You want other things more than that, even if you don’t know it.

You would be amazed at how few people know what they really believe, but even fewer know what they want.

There are some tried and true answers to the question. All of us want love, in some form or other. We all want meaning. We all want to be important to someone.

Notice that those three elements primarily make up Happy Endings.

Then there are our more specific dreams.

Lot’s of young people have dreams now, very diverse dreams. Many of them even have the drive to fulfill those dreams. Oddly enough, no one is calling this Wish Fulfillment.

Even though we all know from Cinderella that a dream is a wish your heart makes.

I was annoyed by the song after a certain point, but I think she’s right about that.

It really is isn’t it? Your heart has a wish to do something, that becomes your dream.

For many of us it’s been a long time since we had a dream.

We find a place in life and in line that we can make work, and it suits us to a degree, and it’s fairly safe because we know  a lot about it, and that’s where we decide to stay.

For some of us our comfort can even be in pushing ourselves to new degrees of excellence, provided it’s excellence in an area we feel we have a shot in.

But Pride and Prejudice might show us this, that it’s only when we find our perceptions turned upside down and inside out that we begin to finally see our way clear to what we should be.

Maybe it’s when we’re cornered and have to face up to our own flaws that we start to find a way to push past them.

I had such an experience recently, more then one as it so happens. I have more coming I am positive.

If I might wax philosophical, I think that Happy Endings are what we prefer because we are meant to have them.

I think that we have to work towards them, as Sabrina Carpenter sings in “The Middle of Starting Over.”

I think also that they come to us.

In every human life I believe there is an intertwining of the results of our own choices, and the events caused by a higher power.

The Bible says we partner with God. I’d have to say the evidence points that way.

Wish Fulfillment is not a bad thing when it is born out of someone becoming the kind of person who wishes for the right things, and a belief that righteousness is, in the end, rewarded.

Jane Austen’s books would all be examples of such a blending of ideas.

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

How to have a super relationship-4

I hope I am not wearying anyone of this topic, I could probably go on about it for hours.

But I promise this is the last installment.

This last thing I want to look at about the two couples in question is what gives each of them the foundation they have/

I’ll start with Batman and Wonder Woman this time because they have the more common kind of relationship.

What attracted these two to each other?

Despite the flaws I’ve covered in the previous three posts, we can all agree both these superheroes are good people. we don’t hear much on Wonder Woman’ side, but we do hear Batman once explain some of his reasons for liking her. She’d a remarkable woman, he says; she’s a devoted friend, she’s…standing right behind him, isn’t she?

Awkward.

But there we have it, she’s loyal and devoted to her relationships. Just the opposite of him in some ways, and opposites attract.

But like also attracts like. They are both selfless when it comes to saving other people. they both care about the good of mankind, and they both enjoy being in the League.

This is where most relationships start from. Two people meet and find thy like the same things and so they spend time together  and eventually it may turn romantic. OR it may not. But I always found there to be plenty of chemistry between Bruce and Diana.

They both esteem each other. Just like most healthy couples at least start off as seeing only good in the other person.

So why is Batman afraid to move forward? Because of trust.

This is where we see that trust cannot really be built just on another person’s merits. You could be mother Teresa levels of kind and unselfish, and someone might refuse to really trust you because you are still human and they don’t trust people.

I have seen this in my own life and the people around me. Trust is earned but it is also a choice.

And the choice must be made even when we allow for the other person sometimes letting us down. Trusting human beings is in essence saying “I know you aren’t perfect, but I know you well enough to know you’ll be as good as you can be, so I will trust you because I trust you overall character, and not just by your individual actions.”

Clearly people sometimes trust the wrong person because of this, that’s where they mistake the overall character to be better than it is.

However, I submit to you that the obstacle in Batman’s case is different.

He doesn’t trust anyone (as superman fondly admits in episode one.) This is not their fault. It is because he has unresolved issues in his life.

Ladies and gents, you will not have a healthy relationship for long if you do not resolve your issues either before entering it, or at some point early on. (I do not mean you cannot fix it later, but it is better to do it sooner.)

The problem here is that Wonder Woman wants to move forward before either of them have really faced their deep issues with themselves and the world. She has made some steps forward in t he course of being in the League, but he has made baby steps, or none at all in some areas.

Ladies especially may want to do this. But plenty of men will do it to. Only they fear commitment because they know they aren’t ready and so the relationship often ends after appearing to be getting serious.

But is Batman right to use issues as an excuse not to be together?

Let’s return to Scott and Barda:

The important thing about both of them, and the path I admire Kirby for taking, is that both their journey’s start apart from each other.

In the Fourth world, people who still have a shred of conscience and self awareness are referred to as having the Divine Spark. We know Scott has it from the get go, but what is less obvious is that Barda had it too.

Barda’s journey to escaping Apokalips actually began with Auralie, the weakest of the girls in her force, but one she had a particular fondness for that she never showed to any of the others. Barda disobeyed the laws of Apokalips while trying to protect Auralie and was ready to disobey them again when she found out she had been tortured to death. That marked the first moment when she and Scott actually had one mind, and thought hey were not a team yet, they stopped being suspicious of each other.

Scott’s journey began with Himon, the e one free mind on Apokalips.

more importantly still, Scott went to Earth without Barda and continued learning about freedom and goodness until she arrived. Barda in tur mad her choice to complete her training, which came in handy later, and then broke free herself of its grip.

Barda began to hate the system because of her friend, not because of Scott. Though he was the reason she continued to move forward.

These two are not independent of each other, but the y are not codependent on each other either. Barda did not need Scott to leave Apokalips, and he did not need her. They only come together after both making several independent decisions.

My point here is to show that Barda and Scott both work to become the person that is right for each other, before they even know they’ll be together. Barda makes sure to please Scott even before she thinks of them as a couple, because she esteems him. Scott tries to keep Barda healthy and happy even just as his friend because he is grateful to her.

If they had not been committed to doing what they thought right before hand, they could not have suited each other so well.

To be honest, the principle of “Become the person who the person you want is looking for” is one I have yet to hear talked about outside of Church, but it applies just as much to people who are not religious as to people who are.

Like attracts like. Sluts attract whores, criminals attract criminals, nutjobs attract other nutjobs. And good people attract each other.

Very rarely will any of us be Scott and Barda in every way when we meet out spouse, but we can at least be them in this way. It’s not really about getting someone to fall in love with you. It’s about the kind of person you are.

Resolve your issues now, and when you meet the one for you, you’ll have a super good relationship on your side, and not a super dysfunctional one.

But one more thing:

I still ship Wonder Woman and Batman for this reason; broken, messed up people are the only people you’re ever going to meet. Though they may be very healthy, they will always have some weak points.

And we cannot let that stop us from loving deeply and trusting other people, because we share this earth with them, and we need each other.

I would tell Batman he needs to try, and I would tell Wonder Woman she needs to be humble about letting him work his way forward, and always be striving to be a better person herself.

But what I would tell all of you is that it is better still if you have a perfect God in you life who can never fail you. Because then, as the saying goes, you can let man be man, if you let God be God.

(And by the way, Barda and Scott have an equivalent of that known as the Source.)

All right, I’m finally done with this, until next time–Natasha.

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How to have a super relationship-3

Part three here we come:

So, I covered the foundation, the way they handle each other’s values, and disagreements. I didn’t exhaust any one of these subjects by any means, but I touched on them.

Now we come to the worst part: Fighting.

Fights are not the same as disagreements. Disagreements can be unemotional, but fights, for the purpose of this post, will be classified as the times we actually hurt each other deeply.

Barda and Scott have only one real fight on record, as I mentioned in the previous post. From what I understand, they split after Barda complains that Scott is ignoring her needs because he is so caught up in what he does, even when it’s a good thing, that her feelings are put on the back burner.

At first I discredited this. How could someone so unselfish as Barda complain about this?

But then I realized, with a little help from my sister, that it is actually a pretty rational fight to expect of them.

Barda and Scott both have traumatic backgrounds in which they were never taught that they deserve any love. (Note the word deserve.) Both of them believed that for a long time.

For the first few years of their marriage, I’d venture to say, they didn’t have a problem because both of them believe the other to be worthy of love and preference more than themselves, they would pour into each other so much that they would never stop to ask if they deserved more.

But… I could easily see Scott, who is always the absent minded professor type at the best of times, getting caught up in helping other people. (I think maybe it was even with the Justice League) and thinking that his wife would be fine. She’d never made demands on him before. (How many men get caught in this trap?)

Meanwhile, Barda suddenly finds he’s not home, or not paying her much attention when he is, and since she has few other interests to occupy her time, she starts to resent that.

You can imagine the rest as easily as I can.

So they separate for awhile though I don’t think they ever think of divorce. There’s no two people more suited for each other. They could never find anyone else just like the other person.

I imagine they reunited after both realizing that they are better off with each other if only for a few minutes a day, than apart forever.

AS far as I know, they have no further problems beyond small disagreements that are bound to happen and are forgotten the next day.

The important thing about this story is to ask what changed? You probably got my hint. They started thinking about what they deserved. In other words, Pride.

Normally you would not find more humble people that Scott and Barda. They are willing to give everyone a fair chance, to take in people they know have emoitonal issues and try to help them, and to bear with each other’s own weaknesses.

Barda is convinced Scott is the better person, but I think he considers her to be the most loyal of the two.

So what could have caused them to change? Simple, they came to expect one thing, and when they didn’t have it, they felt threatened and started to demand it.

I have a feeling Scott was probably surprised when his beloved bride started resenting wheat she’d always supported in the past.

There’s another issue too, Barda started trying to be a regular housewife before that time. She’s not so unsuited to it, but to someone like her, staying at home keeping house has to sting when her husband is out doing what she used to do all the time.

No one’s making her stay at home, she put limits on herself.

That’s where we find trouble so often. We decided how far we can go and no further, then we blame our spouse or our other family for our unhappiness.

Bard and Scott work it out in the end because they have true love and common sense on their side. But our other couple suffers from almost the same problem.

Wonder Woman is a Princess, as Batman points out to her, and he is a rich kid with many issues. Though his excuse is lame, his point is not necessarily without merit.

These two are not ready for emoitonal intimacy.

I think the ladies will all agree with me when I say Wonder Woman would be in for some shocks if she were to get close to any man, let alone Batman.

She’s from an all female island, and she has guy friends, but she doesn’t really get why men are they way they are sometimes she complains about it.

I relate becuase I am typically surrounded by women myself and I don’t claim to really get men. I know that’s an obstacle I have to overcome, but she is in blissfu lignorance of that fact.

Batman onthe other hand is the DArk Knight for a reason. He has his allegiance (Gotham) and he prowls around on his metal steed looking for anyone in distress.

I want you to try to picture these two sharing their turf.

If you can’t laugh at that, you’ve probably never watched either of t hem in action.

Oh my gosh, what a nightmare. Batman’s worst nightmare in fact.

I think men often overlook this when they get married or get into a serious dating relationship. Women want to be a part of your whole life. They want to feel like you value their company in whatever you do.

Men tend to want to separate their lives into categories. Work. Batmanning it. Home.

I will not say either is entirely wrong. Standing alone is necessary, so is getting help.

Batman would probably feel like his criminals and his city are his personal property, and the guys in the League, or the other girls, would never dream of swinging around Gotham without his consent (like Batgirl.) But Wonder Woman would naturally expect to be able to help him out.

I know that was speculation, but there was plenty of evidence for it on the show. Often Batman will hold her back from interfering in a situation where he feels like it’s someone’s personal call. He also did it with Robin on the Animated Batman Show. Batman believe you’ve got to stand on your own sometimes, and that makes perfect sense.

Diana probably never fought a single battle without a whole crowd watching, ready to step in if something went totally wrong. She might understand giving someone breathing room, but utterly leaving them to themselves, she’d probably find that a bit hard. Though she’s been known to take on problems single handedly, she tends to do that from a belief that she is totally over-capable of beating them.

Scott and Barda had perfect teamwork because they never made any bones about dong things together, unless there was a good reason to split, then they allowed it without making a fuss. The one exception being what I mentioned above.

Pride. It gets us every time. If there’s one thing Batman and Wonder Woman both have in abundance, it’s pride.

This may have made it sound like I don’t ship these two at all, or like I expect people to e perfect. But I don’t. I’ll get to that in part for.

Au revoir–Natasha.

How to have a super relationship-2

Continueing on from where I left off…

So, our two power couples are a lot alike and very different.

One couple is operating out of a place of mutual trust and admiration, the other out of a place of mutual attraction but no commitment.

I don’t think I really need to say which of these is more common to us.

Scott and Barda actually have the most functional relationship of any supers I know.

I’m going to highlight a few instances that show more differences between the two and also some examples we could do well to heed.

First of all, when Scott and Barda are reunited, Scott is right in the middle of a battle with this spirit-demon thing that causes panic and hallucinations in mortals. Scott is protected against falling for it, but the demon, Bedlam, is determined to have him killed through the panic. Scott ad to figure out how to escape without hurting the people who are only temporarily out of their minds.

Barda shows up prepared to kick the crud out of all and any who are threatening Scott, and Scott greets her only by warning her not to interfere because he promised to have no help in this.

Now, I know if I was received that way after crossing galaxies to fight some demon creature with a sick mind, I’d be kind of put out if that was my hello.

But Barda is totally calm. And later when Bedlam accuses Scott of using her help, she says outright “I would risk my life for Scott, but I would never make him go back on his word.”

If you can not see how romantic that is, you need help. If a man were to say that to me I would be like “Oh yeah, you are awesome!”

This is the first principle I want to bring up: In a healthy relationship, the other person will not only respect your values, but they will support them even when it hurts them to do so. They will stick up for you.

I’ll tell you guys right now, if I met a couple who believed entirely the opposite of me, I would still respect them more if they stood up for each other out of loyalty and honor then if they caved under pressure and agreed with me.

How do our other subjects handle this?

I think one of the most notable examples was in Maid of Honor. To Batman’s credit, he does not totally disregard Wonder Woman’s perspective.

Both of them have instincts about the villain and the political situation of the plot, and both of them end up being mostly right. But Diana nearly costs them the mission when she recklessly crashed Audrey’s wedding without waiting to hear Batman’s plan. batman doesn’t think the less of her, but it’s important to observe that they don’t solve anything till they start working together as a unit and not just as two concerned parties.

See, even if two people in a relationship are both right, it doesn’t do any good if they cant work together. That’s what makes the real bond between them. Diana makes a classic beginner’s mistake of thinking she can handle it on her own. But her passion clouds her judgement and almost gets her killed and loses her friendship with Audrey. Batman’s cooler headed approach works out better.

But in all fairness, he was wrong in suspecting Audrey and her father and Diana set him straight on that. SO when they come together at the end, you can see they’ve made progress and whenever the two team up after that there’s a certain understanding between them that doesn’t exist between the other members.

Onto another example: Disagreements.

I have yet to read any real disagreement between Scott and Barda, I’ve heard that they have one really bad fight during the course of the comics, and I’ll deal with that later. For now I’ll talk about how they resolve their different points of view.

there are multiple times when Scott prefers to settle things peaceable and through reason or through cunning, while Barda prefers to just crush the problem with her mega-rod.

I would say at least 50-60% of the time, Scott’s way is what prevails. After Barda arrives he establishes his role as the leader of the house by right of arriving first (which is fair, he knows more about Earth than her) and tells her that they will all act as friends. “The strong don’t rule here.” Barda may not see the sense of this, but she accepts it out of respect for him. She never actually tries to harm Oberon or any of Scott’s “Guests” again.

Barda could be the poster girl for feminism, a thing which if often joked about in the comics itself, but she chooses to let Scott lead most of the time because she trusts his judgment. (Remember, mutual trust is what their relationship is built on.)

But, sometimes it goes the other way.

When the people Granny Goodness sends after them start attacking more and more often, Barda does not hesitate to physically drive them off. When she and Scott return to Apokalips, Scott wants to do things his way, but Barda decides there’s been enough of that. Scott lets her have free reign when he sees she’s determined.

This is important, Scott is not looking to tame her.

There is a difference between tempering you’re love interest and taming them. We all need tempering, we all need more control over some areas and more sharpness in others. But true love will celebrate the strengths of the beloved, and when it is right, allow them to go full throttle with them.

Scott enjoys Barda’s toughness, and that it=s what makes it so darn irresistible to love these two. Even before they are romantic, they enjoy each other’s personalities and character’s and learn to respect them.

On the other hand, our other couple does things a bit different.

I would not dump on them just to prove a point. Wonder Womana nd BAtman both enjoy each other too. But that happens to them is that because of that trust thing, they hit a wall.

Batman and Wonder Woman often take two different approaches, and when they disagree they don’t spend time trying to understand the other. Nor do they submit to the other even when it would be wisest to just pick a way and stick to it.

When they do argue, which is only once in my memory, they both push for their own way. Batman does this by blocking out everything but his own reasoning and laying that down in a very insensitive manner. (Guys, you know you do this. It’s ok, girls do it too.) Wonder Woman does it by not really hearing what’s behind his words, or if so she does not speak to it, but just keeps pressing for her own way.

These two deeply care about each other but nether knows how to express it in the best way to the other. The real problem is that Batman at least is determined not to try. Again, Wonder Woman is less at fault for being willing to go there.

Okay, wow, that took a lot longer than I expected. I hope you’re still interested because there’s more to go into in part three.

–Natasha.