Thursday, November 20, 2008

Something's Got to Give - or - Glass Overflowing

I have been very stressed lately which has led me to be depressed. I'm feeling much better today, but unless something changes, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before something else comes along to push me over the edge. The metaphor I used earlier is that your body can handle so much crap at a time. It's like you have a glass, and obligations and problems are water that gets poured into it. Well, you can take a pretty good bit of crap, and you can even continue to live your life when the glass is full. But when the glass fills up, even the smallest little thing added in will cause it to overflow, and you will blow up. It can be with anger, tears, etc. You just can't take much more.

I have been going along lately with a glass that is full or very close to it 100% of the time. As a result, even the slightest thing will cause me to pretty much cry uncontrollably. That has got to stop. I've either got to take some things out of the glass, make the glass bigger, or preferrably both.

So to take some things out of the glass, I've thought about all of the things I do (school, work at two jobs, church, hanging out with friends, a boyfriend, clubs, etc.) and decided that one of them needed to go. Based on my preferences and my feelings about which one would be the most effective to remove, I've decided that in January (at the start of the spring semester) I am going to resign from the SGA. I'll finish out my current semester, finish the new SGA website, etc. But after that I have to stop. It's way more than I expected: weekly meetings which are always filled with something big, office hours, being an interim committee chair, holding student body surveys, and on it goes. I really like being a part of the SGA and I really like having an impact on what's happening on campus, but I just need to drop something. Maybe I'll run again next year if things clear up a bit.

As far as making the glass bigger, I need to do some stress relief. I have been dabbling in yoga with my Wii Fit, and I think I'm gonna start taking that a little more seriously. A little more yoga, a little more aerobics, just to get the blood flowing and take out some built-up energy. I'm also gonna start singing and dancing again, which I used to do all the time but have stopped for some reason. Those things always make me happy. And more sleep. I certainly don't get enough sleep at night (I don't have time to), so I'm gonna start taking a nap for a few hours every couple of days. I'm also gonna start spending more time with my friends, even if I'm just chatting with them online, so I don't feel so isolated and lonely. I want to be around people who love me, so I need to make an effort to be around them more.

So yeah, there's that. Prayers are appreciated!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Things I Want to Teach my Future Children

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don't neglect your mother's instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.

- Proverbs 1:8-9 (New Living Translation)

These are some of the values, beliefs, morals, etc. that I would like to instill in my children should I have any someday. And with that "should I have any" statement, I would like to also say that I have considered not having children at all. I have the strong urge to someday be a wife and mother, but I also don't want to bring children into the world if the world starts to really suck. On the verge of a nuclear war, for example, I would probably have my tubes tied. But assuming the world doesn't go to pot in my lifetime, here's what I would like to teach them.

Love God and love people.

"'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

- Luke 10:27 (New Living Translation)

Love God as much as you can humanly love Him, and show others the love that He has shown you. The world would be much better off if everyone would just love each other instead of hating each other.

Love your enemies.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."

- Matthew 5:43-45 (New International Version)

Showing someone love, compassion, and kindness can diffuse a tense situation. You can keep yourself out of alot of trouble and save yourself alot of grief by loving your enemies. It's also a way of witnessing Christ's love to them.

Love your country.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

- Psalm 33:12 (New King James Version)

Pray that our nation will always be one nation under God. Pray that we will continue to enjoy our religious freedoms (and all of our other freedoms) here in America. Pray that God will bless America. Love your country and try to make it a better place to be. Take pride in what is great about this nation.

Family is everything.

But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.

- 1 Timothy 5:8 (New Living Translation)

Love and respect your family above all others. Take care of your family. Stick with your family through good times and bad. Pay it forward, with the expectation that you will eventually need your family for something yourself. Honor your parents, cherish your siblings, respect your grandparents. Keep your extended family as close as possible. When times get really tough, your family is all you have, so make sure that those relationships are positive and strong.

Pray for everyone.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

- 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (New Living Translation)

Pray that your leaders will have the guidance from God to lead, pray that your teachers will have the guidance from God to teach, pray for the protection of soldiers and police and firefighters, pray for healing for the sick, pray for financial help for the poor, and pray for blessings on everyone you meet. Prayer is simple but powerful, and you should sprinkle a little prayer around everywhere you go.

Human beings are made by God, and every life is sacred.

"I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations."

- Jeremiah 1:5 (New Living Translation)

Each individual person was created, known, and loved by God in the womb. God continues to love and watch over every person until their death. Every single person is special and beautiful in His eyes. We were not put on this Earth to harm other people. (Actually, we were put on this Earth to worship God.) Because of this, any action that would cause intentional harm to another human being is wrong. This includes everything from assault to abortion to murder to name-calling. Also because of this, we should treat other human beings with dignity and respect. Remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Sex is for marriage.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

- 1 Corinthians 6:18 (New International Version)

Not only is it scriptural and moral to wait until marriage for sex - it's also physically and emotionally healthy. You can't get an STD or an unwanted pregnancy if you're not having sex. It also saves you the emotional scars of having past sexual relations with a person you're no longer with, and it empowers you to share more intimacy with the person you will one day marry.

Behave yourself always.

Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning.

- 1 Corinthians 15:34a (New Living Translation)

Obey your parents, grandparents, teachers, etc. If you know something is wrong or against the rules, don't do it. If you were told not to do something, don't do it. If you know something is right or needs to be done, do it. If you were told to do something, do it correctly and promptly. Behave appropriately in every situation, and mind your manners.

Be optimistic.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

- Romans 8:28 (New Living Translation)

God is in control, and everything will be OK. A positive outlook can relieve stress and even improve a person's overall success in life. An optimistic person is a cheerful person, and cheerfulness often accompanies happiness.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What I Would Like to See Done in America

Here are just some of the things that I would like to see done in America. This is change I can believe in.

For those of you who don't know what tort reform is, I've lifted the Wikipedia definition for a quick and dirty explanation.

Tort reform refers to the idea of changing the rules applicable to the law of tort. Tort deals with compensation for wrongs and harm done by one party to another's person, property or other protected interests (e.g. reputation, under libel and slander laws). The most contentious area of tort, and the area on which tort reform advocates focus is personal injury. The levels of compensation for accidents vary greatly between different jurisdictions, but there has been a general upward trend in the awards for compensation. The ideas for reform vary greatly between different jurisdictions also, and inevitably depend on the rules and practices of the country.

Basically, one of the reasons healthcare and prescription drugs are so expensive is that the companies responsible for making you healthy are having to set aside very large amounts of money to settle massive lawsuits being brought against them on all sides by people who were harmed by medical mistakes. Where do you think that money is coming from? That's right: your pocket. Tort reformers want limits set on the amout you can sue for, depending on your injury. Say, for example, you can only get $150,000 for the loss of a finger; $250,000 for the loss of a hand, etc. No matter what you try or how compelling your lawyer may be, you'd only be able to get that maximum amount. In that case, healthcare companies would be free to lower their lawsuit savings accounts and lower the cost of healthcare - no socialization required.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you that our education system needs some work. Here are some of the things I'd like to see done in education.

  • Raises for teachers - a higher paid worker is usually a happier, more productive worker. Not only that, but higher wages would attract people with higher degrees and more specialized knowledge to the teaching career. Better teachers means a higher quality education for our children. Not to mention that our teachers need to be rewarded for the service they provide to our country.
  • Support for homeschooling - perhaps a way to reduce the crowding in classrooms would be to loosen restrictions on homeschooling and private tutoring and encourage parents who would chose this option were it not for current restrictions to take advantage of the new system.
  • Higher funding across the board - not only in elementary schools, but all the way up through college, we need more funding in our schools. More funding means better supplies, better books, better facilities, and those teacher raises I was talking about earlier.
  • The revitalization of recess - studies have shown that children need recess in order to help them learn better. Children are not computers, and they cannot be made to sit at a desk all day long processing information. Not only that, the more exercise children get, the less likely they are to be obese. That goes right back around to healthcare. Prevention via exercise is free. Please let our children take advantage of it.
  • Early focus on behavior and manners - children should be taught basic behavior and manners at a very young age. A child barely old enough to read should be able to understand that violence is wrong, sharing is important, cursing is inappropriate (especially at that age), you should obey your parents and teachers, etc. I would like to see less violence and bullying in schools, and I would like to see instances of it punished more severely than it has been in the past.
  • No Child Left Behind fixed or removed - currently teachers are more worried about teaching the standardized test than they are about teaching class material. No Child Left Behind means well, but it's fatally flawed. It sets unrealistic if not unreachable goals for schools and then punishes them when they can't meet those goals. We should be empowering our students and teachers, not punishing them.

Life is sacred and should not be taken away. Life begins at the point of conception. Abortion is murder. It is an absolute travesty and I cannot believe we have let it go on in this country for so long. It needs to end - NOW - period.

I don't know what's going to fix this recession. All I can say is that raising taxes certainly won't do it. We need to see tax breaks, no new taxes, and possibly another stimulus package. Start putting money back into the pockets of hard-working Americans, and they will start spending it again. Once we get the cash flowing again, things will start to get better.

This has nothing to do with the wars. This is concerning countries with which we are currently at peace - no matter how stable that "peace" may be. We need to get more countries on our side - more countries to like us. Let's face it, most of the world hates America. Maybe we can get that to change.