When you’re charged up more than your cell phone

blogIMG_1017I’m not certain if it’s just the times we live in, the stress that seems to have overtaken our lives,  or just my observation, but it seems as though everyone has a short fuse these days.

Politics make us angry.  Social issues fuel our fire.   Rage prevails everywhere you roam showing itself in stores, on the road, and even online.  Sometimes I think every human being should take an anger management course.  And I’m not to be excluded.

As a Christian, I’m troubled by the intense fury I experienced not so long ago over my cell phone.  So I searched my Bible for guidance about what to do with anger.  I found familiar verses such as:  

  • “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  ~ Proverbs 15:1
  • “For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.” ~ Proverbs 30:33
  • “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” ~ James 1:19-20

It surprised me to find over 260 mentions of the word anger in my New International Version Bible.  The Lord God got angry – a lot – just read the Old Testament if you don’t believe me.  Obviously, wrath is an emotion that God, both the Father and Son, displayed and that tells me that anger itself isn’t a sin, it what’s we do with it.

Do we use it for revenge?  (I’m going to make him pay for that!) Do we use it to harm another physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually? (Take this and that!) Do we use it as a crutch for other unseemly behavior? (Well, I just couldn’t help myself, I was so mad.)  Do we allow rage to take root in our hearts and turn to bitterness towards others and unforgiveness? (How could he do that to me?) Do we use it to justify holding a grudge? (I’ll never speak to her again!)

Those are the questions believers should grapple with and I am no exception.  Because I am just as guilty as any one.  Just take me to a cell phone store.

Yep, just as churning cream does produce butter, cell phone stores churn up my anger.    Every time I retell this tale, my blood pressure raises a few points, the pitch of my voice rises a few notches, and I generally see red.

So I thought that if I put my anger down in written words, maybe I can move on and not visit it any more.  Because really, I don’t want to hold a grudge against that cell phone rep, but I think I am.

You may recall that my trusty cell phone – you know, the ‘dumb’ one without internet, the plain old send and receive phone calls and text messages – committed suicide one morning on my drive to work when it deliberately jumped into my hot cup of tea.

Hubby and I were in the midst of trying to decide what to do about our cell phone contract when that misfortune occurred.   Did we want to renew with the same provider or just purchase new phones and a simple talk plan elsewhere?  We discussed, researched, analyzed our needs, and then my cell jumped ship.  In the meantime, I found my really old flip phone and reactivated it to get by.

Finally we were ready to bite the bullet, renew our contract, and get new cells.  So off we scampered to the cell phone store like two lambs to the slaughter.  After what seemed like forever, we finally convinced the young sales rep that no, we did not want nor need smart phones. 

She was determined and persistent,  I’ll give her that, as she tried to persuade us to upgrade our plan to include internet.  We couldn’t seem to convince her that we wouldn’t use internet access on our cells.  Only after I told her our home was situated in the country, where most of the time the signal drops our cell calls, did she finally surrender to our wishes.

An hour later, hubby and I happily left the mall with our brand new matching phones.  Two cells exactly the same.  His sported a black protective cover and mine was encased in purple.  We could send and receive phone calls and text messages which were easy to manage on our slide-out keyboards.  Cell phone bliss, we thought.

But then I noticed my purple phone wasn’t very perky since it would not hold a charge for more than a day while hubby’s black beauty lasted a week.   And I hadn’t even been talking or texting on it!  This continued until I became exasperated enough to take it back to the store where we purchased it.

After a long wait, because the cell phone store is always crowded, a young man assisted us.  Well….I thought he was assisting us.  I detailed the problem with my phone.  He promptly started showing us products to purchase. 

“No,” I said politely, “I don’t need those.  My phone’s battery will not hold a charge.”

He steered us to the counter, removed the battery from my phone, spun it on the counter, and reinserted it.  Nothing’s wrong with your battery, he told me.

“Then why won’t it hold a charge for longer than 24 hours when I haven’t even been making calls or texting on it? And why does my husband’s cell  – the exact same one as mine  – hold a charge for a week?”  I asked.

He mumbled a bunch of mumbo jumbo about apps and what-nots while he distractedly looked around the store.  “I don’t have internet or apps or what-nots on this phone,” I replied and again repeated what was quickly becoming my mantra – my phone won’t hold a charge.

Round and round we went.  Repeatedly.  I stated the issue.  He blabbered some inane response which didn’t address the problem.  I explained, my husband tried explaining, but this young man wasn’t or didn’t want to grasp the issue.  When he informed me I should just purchase a new battery, my temper flared a bit but I kept it in check. 

“I have only had this phone for 3 weeks.  It’s a new phone,” I countered.

The solution was simple – give me a new battery or a new phone.  But this young man couldn’t see the forest for the trees and after bantering back and forth for a good 30 minutes, another phone rep came over to ‘help.’  He asked what the problem was.  By this time, my patience had moved to another country.

I’ll admit that I AGAIN explained the problem with a bit of shortness in my voice, but I certainly wasn’t yelling or being overly demanding and rude.  Yet what happened next sent me right over the edge.  The new guy threw up his hands, palms facing outward at me in a ward you off kind of way, and said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!”

Honestly, I am not a confrontational person. I tend to take the high road and avoid confrontations at all costs. I’m usually pleasant even when others are rude; I try hard to be self-controlled when angry; and I don’t fly off the handle at strangers.  And I really am not a violent person at all!  But these two guys pushed all the wrong frustration buttons.

I literally wanted to knock their heads together and give them a piece of my mind, that’s how angry I had become over the situation.  I closed my mouth, glanced at my husband, and in a quietly controlled but furious whisper announced, “I’m done!  I’m walking out of here before I say something I’m going to regret.”

And I walked out of the store.  Left my cell phone.  Left my husband standing at the counter with the two idiots sales reps.  Marched myself up and down the mall way for a good 10 minutes to calm down and finally plunked my infuriated self down on a bench. An older gentleman walked by, sat down opposite me, but he didn’t stay long.  I think he took one glimpse of my beet red livid face, felt my fuming vibe, and escaped. 

When I finally calmed down enough to re-enter the place, the manager was speaking with my husband.  I caught the tail-end of the conversation as I approached the counter.  The manager’s solution, “This phone needs a new battery, give them one.” 

Finally!  After an hour of sheer frustration!  Of course, they didn’t have any in stock, so I still had to wait until the new battery arrived in my home mailbox.   But that I could handle.  It was the inattentiveness, lack of understanding, and downright rudeness of the clerks that made me want to pop a blood vessel.  My husband told me he’s never seen me get so irate before and that’s true.

So maybe I need a little refresher course in handling frustration.  I googled anger management – not on my dumb phone but on my laptop. And I found the following 10 tips to control your anger from the Mayo Clinic.  The list includes good advice but I had to add my own responses to the tips in italicized parenthesis.

No. 1: Take a timeout.  Before reacting to a tense situation, take a few moments to breathe deeply and count to 10. Slowing down can help defuse your temper. If necessary, take a break from the person or situation until your frustration subsides a bit.   (My time-out included getting out of that store before I wanted to break the person.)

No. 2: Once you’re calm, express your anger.  As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but nonconfrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.  (I had already stated my concerns and needs repeatedly but no one responded appropriately.)

No. 3: Get some exercise. Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you’re about to erupt. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other favorite physical activities.  (I got plenty of physical activity as I marched up and down that mall with my heart racing as fast as my feet!)

No. 4: Think before you speak. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.  (No kidding!  All I could think about was how frustrating those people were but I bit my tongue instead of giving them a tongue lashing!)

No. 5: Identify possible solutions.  Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything, and might only make it worse. (I already had identified the solution – give me a new battery – but no one would listen.)

No. 6: Stick with ‘I’ statements . To avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. (I didn’t blame ‘them,’ I blamed ‘it’ – the phone.  But that still didn’t get me anywhere.)

No. 7: Don’t hold a grudge.  Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want at all times.  (I’ve forgiven and am trying not to hold a grudge.  But is it really unrealistic to expect a sales clerk to help you with a  faulty item you bought in that store? I don’t think so.)

No. 8: Use humor to release tension. Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Don’t use sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.  (Being agreeable and pleasant didn’t get me anywhere.  I fail to find humor in that.)

No. 9: Practice relaxation skills.  When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as, “Take it easy.” You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.  (The ‘elevator’ music playing in the mall just irritated me further.  At this point, the only thing to relax me was the promise of a new battery.)

No. 10: Know when to seek help. Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Consider seeking help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you.  (I do know where to seek anger management help.  It’s a thing called prayer.)

And it’s a thing called ‘letting it go.’  My new battery works like a trooper.  My cell is reasonably charged to let me talk and text.  I learned one important aspect of anger management from this experience.  I need to guard myself from that kind of wrath and take the following verse to heart:

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” ~ Ephesians 4:25-27

And stay away from the Verizon store.

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Tight squeeze

blogIMG_0505Take a couple of steps forward.  Stop.  You can’t go any further.  Back up then.  Retreat a bit.  Halt. You can’t go backwards either.

Ever since childhood, that kind of action has frustrated the heck out of me.  My mother once told me a story as evidence that patience may not have been my strong point, even as an infant.

According to my parents, I walked when I was nine months old.  Prior to making progress on my own two feet, I used a baby walker to get mobile.

Once while making my way in my walker around the eat-in area of my childhood home’s kitchen,  my baby self somehow got hung up by a kitchen chair leg.  Attempting to move forward got me nowhere.   And when I tried to reverse, I got even more tangled.

After a few tries, I still had no success.  So growling loudly in frustration,  baby me shook the heck out of that darn walker until my mother came to my rescue.

Hmmm.  Seems like not much has changed, except that my mother can’t rescue me any longer.  It’s true that sometimes, even as an adult, I still feel frustrated like I was in that long-ago  story.  And frustration rears its ugly head when I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I recently read a story about a young woman traveling alone via train in a foreign country. She started to feel a bit jittery because that area of the world was prone to violence.  She ventured to the restroom, but while she was in this smelly cramped space, the lights went out.  In absolute darkness, she grabbed the door handle and shoved the door as hard as she could in order to escape this panicked place in which she found herself. 

But the door wouldn’t open!  She felt trapped and feared someone was blocking it.  She pounded on that door, but no one came to her aid.  Turning to lean against the wall, she nearly fell out of her entrapment.  The ‘wall’ was really the door.  The ‘handle’ which she attempted to open the door with was really the empty towel rack on the wall.

In her frustration and panic over being plunged into darkness, she got turned around and confused.  She thought she was caught between a rock and a hard place, but her way to escape was just at another angle.

I can identify so well with this story.  I have often felt like I am trapped, literally between a rock and a hard place.  Frustration floods me when that happens.  I try to push myself out of this tight spot to no avail.  Pressure and stress soon follow frustration.  Sometimes even anger roars.

After dealing with this issue for quite some time,  I’ve finally come to a solution.  I’ve moaned, I’ve groaned. I’ve been depressed; I’ve been angry.  I’ve prayed and contemplated.  I’ve sought advice from my husband and family, and while they offer good suggestions, they can’t change circumstances for me.

I have to make the change myself and that takes time.  Time for patience and time for waiting.  And oh, yes…endurance. Waiting until the time is right. Waiting until my heart and mind are calm.  Waiting until I can think clearly, weigh options, and then choose to make wise decisions to loosen the constrictions of my tight spot.

I’ve come to realize that when you’re between a rock and a hard place, sometimes the way out is clamoring over the stumbling blocks of impenetrable rock, using the threatening circumstances as stepping stones.  Because sometimes the best way out is up and over.

“The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way you use them.”  ~ Anonymous

On this best day of the year, I’m looking up over the obstacles and I’m hopeful I’ll find freedom from my tight squeeze.

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Back, I want you back

pexels-photo-209037.jpegPoliticians pontificate about the overwhelming, heavy public debt riding on each of our backs.  Well, today, my friends, I feel like I’m personally carrying all that debt myself on my aching back.

You see, my back is out of whack.  Really.  I’m talking literally.  My back’s been troubling me since last Thursday for no good reason.

I’ve tried recalling my recent activities in an attempt to figure out how my back got twisted up in knots.   Did I lift something heavy that strained my back?  Nope.  Did I fall?  Nah.   Stumble?  No.  Fail to bend my knees when I picked up my suitcase? No way.   So what the heck did I do to it?  I have no idea whatsoever.

I don’t have an achy-breaky heart, I have an achy-breaky lower back.  A back that impedes normal walking and screams in agony when I climb the steps (and oh, did I mention I live in a two-story house?).   My out of sorts back doesn’t want to ache alone, so now it’s convinced my hip to join in and if that isn’t enough, there’s this pain running down the side of my leg.  One day it extended to my knee, yesterday it worked its way down to the calf of that leg.   I suspect the sciatic nerve is pinched, bunched, generally in a tizzy, or something akin to that and tomorrow I have an appointment with a chiropractor.

But for now, as I sit in my easy chair with my best friend, ibuprofen; a solid pillow propped behind me; and  an ice pack on the afflicted area (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off), the only thing coming to my mind happens to be songs with the word back in them.   Songs like the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back.”    Back, it’s true!  Ooo, ooo, baby, I want you back.  I want you, my healthy back, back.

And then there’s “I’m Bringing Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake.  Well, right now, my back’s not bringing anything, let alone sexy.  I’d be ecstatic walking a normal gait instead of this shuffle, never mind a sexy swing.

Going the country music route, “Back Then” by Tim McGraw comes to mind.  Tim, I don’t just miss back then “when a hoe was a hoe, coke was a Coke and crack’s what you were doing when you were cracking jokes,”  I also greatly miss my back sans pain and the fact that this currently wacky back is preventing my evening strolls in the lovely fall weather.

And then there’s that Hall and Oates tune, “Baby Come Back,” which I would like to rename Back Come Back.”  Back, come back, any kind of fool could see, there was something in everything about you.  Back come back, you can blame it all on me, I was wrong, and I just can’t live without you.

I’ve even gone to the deep recesses of my mind’s song treasure trove with “Carry Me Back to Ol’ Virginny.”  Well, if this doesn’t let up soon, I’m not just going to need someone to carry me back to Virginia or anywhere else, someone just may have to carry me up the stairs!

So you can see, I’m feeling a little unhinged on Page 11, Chapter 10, in my book of Opportunity.  I can’t get my back off of my mind.  Seems like my back’s really got a hold on me…..oh wait, that’s another song, and I’d give anything to move like Smokey Robinson and the Miracles right now.

Copyright ©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Just a box of rocks

blog004

Have you ever just wanted to smack yourself silly because you couldn’t figure out something?

I encountered that this week while I was working on some statistical end-of-the year reports and I just couldn’t get my numbers to jibe.  Turns out I had made a dumb, small error that threw everything out of sync.

When that happens, a few phrases always come to my mind.  Quirky little sayings like “Couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag.”

Some funny descriptive expressions exist to paint a picture of myself doing something stupid or when I think someone else is being truly dumb.  I’ve uttered those locutions on more than one occasion, (ok, I can be honest and admit it) especially while driving or when people don’t do their jobs correctly.

I started thinking about these expressions and could name quite a few because after all, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck!  Here’s a sampling of those I could recall:

  • A few bricks shy of a load.
  • Her elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor.
  • Not playing with a full deck.
  • A few french fries short of a happy meal.
  • Not the brightest bulb on the tree.
  • The lights are on but nobody’s home.
  • Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
  • One taco short of a combination plate.
  • A few sandwiches short of a picnic.
  • Not the sharpest pencil in the box.
  • The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

And my all-time personal favorite – “The gate is down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming!”   Yep, sometimes people just seem “dumber than a box of rocks.”

My oldest daughter, a scientist who is definitely not dumber than a box of rocks, used to keep a box of rocks.  When she was younger, she would pick up stones wherever we roamed and find something that appealed to her about them, enough to want to squirrel them away.

She stashed them in a box in her closet, and that box always accompanied us on our moves cross country.  Matter of fact, I suspect that it still takes up residence with some of her other girlhood mementos on that closet shelf.  (Note to oldest daughter:  You forgot to go through your “too much stuff” when you were home.  Just a reminder from here:   https://mamasemptynest.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/391/)

Some of the rocks were shiny, polished and even brightly colored, ones that she purchased with her souvenir money on our vacation trips.  Others were rough and ordinary looking, but in her eyes they must have been treasures.  I often wondered why she was so fascinated with those pebbles and stones.  Of course, to me they were just a box of rocks, and a heavy one to boot.

I was reminded of this yesterday while I was fighting with my column of numbers.  During my frustration, I glanced at the inspirational flip calendar on my desk.  In Chapter One, Page 5 (January 5th) of my book of Opportunity this was written:

“Rough treatment gives souls, as well as stones, their luster.  The more the diamond is cut the brighter it sparkles; and in what seems hard dealing, there God has no end in view but to perfect His people.” ~Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, writer/philosopher

When we encounter rough patches in our lives, we may think that we are dumber than a box of rocks, but God sees a diamond in the rough when He looks at us.  Often we have to endure the hard times because they give us the opportunity to really shine.

And I think my oldest daughter must have known this as a very little girl.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Apology please?

I’m sorry, so sorry.  Please accept my apology.  Why are those words so difficult to say?

pet-kitten-cat-lying.jpgBefore you read any further, just let me say I apologize for the following entry.  If you checked in today to read something uplifting, I’m sorry, you will not find that here.  If you thought my blog would give you a good laugh, or an encouraging word, or a thought to ponder, forgive me please, not today.

This week is busy, I’m tired and a little cranky, add in a few occurrences that raised my dander, and the result is I’m subjecting you to a rant.  If you want to leave now, I don’t blame you.  I’ll never know you clicked on that red square with a white X on it and left my blog site early.  I won’t hold it against you if you check out now.

But if you’re still reading, I truly want to know what you think.  Hang in there with me, read what happened, and then please let me know your thoughts.

I have an upcoming event that I must attend.  I work part-time for a non-profit organization and every year we must fund-raise to sustain our yearly budget.  One of our major events is a fancy fund-raising banquet.  My problem is a typical female problem – I have nothing to wear!

This year we are also holding a fund-raising luncheon on the same day, so it will be a long, tiring day and wearing high heels is not going to be an option as I will be on my feet a lot.  So I stopped by a shoe store today to look for a nice pair of black but cute flats to wear.

The store wasn’t very busy, only a couple of customers besides me.  I was there maybe 10 or 15 minutes, found a pair of shoes, and proceeded to the counter to pay for them.  I was not prepared for what assaulted my ears and my propriety next.  The sales person without even looking up dropped the f-bomb on me.  Her comment was “I’m not going to get any #@#$*/#  sleep this week.”

I literally just stared at her when she finally looked up.  She opened her mouth and eyes and said, “Ohhhhh.”  And then she said she was embarrassed and thought I was the other sales clerk, who then appeared and asked what happened.  The second clerk laughed and said, “You’ll have to excuse her, she’s tired and works two jobs.”

I know she didn’t purposely say the word to me but you know what? I didn’t want to excuse her.  I didn’t say “that’s ok” because really I don’t think it is okay.  And I didn’t laugh with them.

So when did working two jobs excuse you to drop expletives on your customers?  And why did she feel it was appropriate to use foul language in a place of business anyway?  I might add that there were children in the store as well.  A few years ago, she would have been fired for using that word in front of a customer.

I wanted to say to both of them, “Excuse me? Do you really feel it’s appropriate to laugh that off?”  That’s probably not the best attitude on my part, but I am extremely fed up with being affronted by obscenity and profanity every where I go.  I’ve had it!  I get just as weary, angry, or frustrated as any other human being, but I do not blast foul language on anyone who happens my way.  To me, it’s a matter of respect, decency, and politeness.

So I just looked at both of them and kept waiting for it…..an apology, at least.   It didn’t come.  I thought of just walking out of the store, if I hadn’t needed the shoes so badly.

The clerk just kept mumbling that she was embarrassed, but obviously not enough to apologize for using profanity in front of a customer.  Instead of apologizing, she tried to sell me shoe care products, which I politely declined.

The other clerk decided to add a story about the time she also used a nasty word and hadn’t realized she had said it.  I still didn’t laugh.  I just said, “I hope you have a better day tomorrow” as I paid for my shoes.  Finally, as she handed me my bag, she mumbled almost inaudibly “sorry.”

My questions to you:

  • Was I wrong for how I handled it?  Was I wrong to expect an apology?
  • How do you respond when someone uses profane language in front of you?
  • Are you as tired of hearing it as I am?  Or am I just an old cranky fuddy-duddy?

Thanks for reading my rant.  I’m sorry, I had to get it off my chest.  But at least you can be happy for me because I do have new cute shoes.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

I know, I’m spoiled!

blog259I’m spoiled.  I usually get my way.  I don’t have to share very much.  Lots of mornings it’s just all about me.  I can count on having my path clear and all to myself.  Before you judge me, you must know that I’m talking about my morning commute to work.

I live in a rural area where there really isn’t much traffic.  If you travel a few miles down the highway, you will slam into the mess of big city traffic jams.

My hubby manuevers through that maze everyday, but he has a lot more patience than I do.   I don’t have to deal with traffic congestion very often, thankfully.  And that’s the way I like it.   It’s one of the countless reasons why I love living where I do.

The commute from my house to my office usually takes me a whopping 12 minutes.  I ease on down my road to the entrance ramp of a four-lane highway where I rarely have to yield to any oncoming traffic.  And then I just toodle on to work, cruise control set on 65, occasionally passing a truck or slower car, but usually I travel a good portion of the trek without sharing the road with a plethora of other drivers.

Not today, however.  My office is located on the outskirts of our small town.  From where I live, you must traverse a river to get to town by one of two means – a small bridge that leads you smack dab into town’s main street or a four-lane highway bridge (literally a “high” way since this span is elevated quite a distance above the river).  I usually travel by highway bridge; it’s faster and I don’t have to contend with any stop lights.  Told you I was spoiled!

The problem today was that everyone else out and about this morning was also utilizing the highway bridge.  Many of the local drivers use the smaller bridge in and out of town, but that bridge is closed down – not for repairs, not for road work, but for filming of a movie.  Yeah, Hollywood has found my little hometown, for some reason loves our quaint bridge for movie scenes, and this isn’t the first time.

So problem number one was that town bridge has been closed for a couple of days due to movie filming.   That meant town traffic detoured onto highway bridge.  Along comes problem number two:  highway bridge is currently undergoing construction work by our state highway department, which has transformed two lanes into one and slowed traffic speed down as well.

So more traffic today amid construction work means drivers who either aren’t paying attention to signs, are unfamiliar with the traffic pattern, or are dear little old folks who normally don’t drive on highway bridge.   All of this spells traffic jam as drivers attempt to merge into one lane.

Next came problem number three:  traffic slowed to a screeching halt and then proceeded by inches.  Really, my vehicle idles faster than we were traveling!  This was not my usual commute, people!  Where I normally sail, I crept and then I noticed that on-coming traffic was lined up like a queue at the most attractive roller coaster ride at an amusement park.

I spied the reason we had problem number three – problem number four, which was an accident in the middle of the bridge in the middle of construction and in the middle of traffic.  No injuries, but two cars definitely blocked the one lane that was open to traffic.  And even though I was not traveling that direction, my fellow drivers slowed down because of the presence of state troopers and also to gawk.

As I finally broke free of the mess, I really pitied the poor drivers coming from the other direction.  Stopped cars and trucks snaked all the way back three exits on the highway.   This was the exit to my office  – thank goodness!

My usual 12-minute commute took me a half-hour to complete today and it made me a little cranky.  I informed my co-workers that if I was forced to drive in city traffic every day, I WOULD NOT BE A VERY NICE PERSON!

I realize that many people reading this are probably incredulously laughing your heads off at my whining today because you deal with this kind of commute and worse every day.

I’m sorry.  Really I am.  But I don’t understand how you manage it every day and stay sane.

Yep, there’s a reason I live in the country…to stay relatively sane and spare my fellow man my wrath.

Nah, really I’m just a rural girl and I’m spoiled!  At least I admit it!

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Connectivity

pexels-photo-442150.jpegMy mind is absorbed with the idea of connections today.

My handy-dandy dictionary defines connection this way: 1. Union; junction.  2. A bond; link.  3. An association or relation.  4. Logical ordering of words or ideas; coherence.  5. The relation of a word to its context.  6. connections.  People with whom one is associated.

There are connections everywhere we look.  Business wise, you have “connections” to get a job, to win an account, to get ahead, to succeed, to get into this organization or that.

I’m not very mathematically minded, but I do remember that there are many connections that must be made in math as well.   Geometry for one.  Wikipedia says “In geometry, the notion of a connection makes precise the idea of transporting data along a curve or family of curves in a parallel and consistent manner. There are a variety of kinds of connections in modern geometry, depending on what sort of data one wants to transport.”

Of course, connections are essential in technology.  I confess I also am not the most technologically savvy person, but I know that without my computer and yours being connected to the internet, I couldn’t write this and you couldn’t read it.  For simplicity’s sake, connections in technology are like fasteners linking one thing to another.

There must even be connection in the world of dance.  I’m also not a talented dancer, but I am absolutely enthralled watching dance.   Even though I don’t dance myself –well, except in a wild and crazy way when I’m home alone and I have some tunes turned up loud — dancing makes my heart sing.  And in dance, connection is defined as “a primary means of communication between the lead and the follow.”

Watch any dancing show on TV (So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars are two of my favorite shows) and you will hear the judges talking about making a connection either between partners or with the audience.

In our personal lives we thrive on connections to have relationships, be they romantic or platonic.  Remember the wacky TV show,  Love Connection?  No more goofy a way to make a dating connection with someone than today’s The Bachelor show, if you ask me.  And then there is online dating — another attempt at connecting.

We humans have an inner desire to be bonded or linked with someone, we just don’t seem to know how to achieve it very well.  I need to interject here that our Creator, the Lord God Himself, created us that way.  It was He who instilled in us this need to be linked, to be joined, to be loved, and it is He who fulfills that desire.  But He did not create us to be completely solitary, disconnected from our fellow human beings or from Him.   That’s why He bridged the gap of disconnectedness between His holiness and our sinfulness, by sending His Son, Jesus Christ into this world to save us.  Jesus is our LINK!

So back to connections….we all have family connections.  Again we want to belong, to be associated with a group of people.   I know, I know, there sometimes are family members we’d definitely rather NOT be associated with, but for the most part, we do want to belong to a family, be it native or adopted, blood-relations or family of God.

I just recently attended a “family reunion” that I have never attended in the past, partly because I lived elsewhere and partly because I didn’t really feel like I belonged.   “Family reunion” is in quotations because even though technically I do belong to this family because I am a granddaughter of a person with this last name,  I really don’t have many connections to this family.  Matter of fact, most of them I do not even know.

The connections between my family and this extended family were long ago.  My grandfather with this family name died in 1964.   My mother who had this family name would be 91 if she were alive today.   So yeah, far removed I am, as Yoda would say.

And then there is the theory of “6 degrees of separation.”  You might have seen the movie by the same name.  This theory is referred to as a human web and maintains the idea that everyone on the planet is at most 6 steps away from any other person on Earth.  You can sing “It’s a Small World After All”  here.  Yes, you are quite welcome for me bringing up that inane song and now you will have it stuck in your head all day!

Connections, connections, we truly are inundated with connectivity.  Then why is it that so many people feel the exact opposite?  Why do we feel disconnected? 

I speak for myself.  For all the ways I am connected to others and to my Lord, in one aspect of my life, I feel very disconnected.  Not in a depressive, moody, life stinks kind of way.  In a vital part of my life, I am experiencing a huge disconnect.  And I’m not the only one, my husband feels it too.  (Don’t worry,  my husband and I still are very connected to each other and our family, so that’s not it.)

I’ve been pondering this situation for quite some time now; my husband and I have talked it to death; we’ve prayed about it; waited; worked really hard at remedying it….and still we feel for us, it surely must be time to move on and make a change.

You know what Elton John used to sing?  “Oh, the change is gonna do me good!”

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Hello world!

Hello world is right!  I’ve just spent more time than I care to confess trying to figure out this blog space.  Talk about frustration!  Grrr…

So welcome to my world…hopefully…if I can figure out how to navigate in this.  I previously blogged on another site (which shall remain nameless), but haven’t written on there for quite some time —let’s just say it was very neglected.

However, I recently revived that blog, but also noticed that the site advertises a lot of blogs that had questionable content.  To put it mildly, they offended me.   Plus it wasn’t easy for my friends to read my blog on the other site, unless they joined it.  So blah…time to move on.

I’d really like to rescue my previous blog entries from the other site and post them here.   So if I can get my brain wrapped around this new one, that may happen.  Stay tuned, it should be interesting.  If you hear a lot of frustrated yelling and screaming (I am not a computer whiz), don’t worry, it’s just me!

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com