Monday, September 29, 2014

Nakedness

I grew up in a culture where the only time a person is permitted to be naked is at birth, in the bath, and in the privacy of your bedroom; at all other times, a person should be fully clothed.
We settled this in the Garden of Eden: we wear clothes; angels wear robes.
So someone explain to me this rash of successful new TV shows where everyone romps around au naturelle?  I’m talking about the shows on the regular stations, not the ones that take a special subscription and carry an x-rating.
Naked and Afraid is not about internal conflict.  It’s folks out in the wilderness trying to survive in the altogether.  I live in the wilderness.  We country folk would never dare to venture out among the biting insects and poison ivy without covering as much skin as possible.  We know better than to encounter a skunk, chiggers, or a rattler wearing only our bifocals.
Dating Naked is another such show. In my day, dating was an opportunity to spend quality time with a person we liked and wanted to know better. We wanted to eventually see them naked, but most often not on the first date. The couples on this show are not concerned about each other’s souls, nor do they discuss existentialist ideals. They like being naked and want to be around other naked people. They worry more about their grooming and physical appearance than regular folks because they cannot rely on the magic of Spanx. On the up side, they spend less time and money on their wardrobes.   
Buying Naked?  What on earth is that about?  I watched one show where the couple was in the process of buying a house, so I have no idea if the show explores other naked retail opportunities. I could not envision my real estate agent friends meeting with nude clients, chauffeuring them around naked in their family vans to “look at” houses, or vetting neighborhood HOA’s on their tolerance towards home owners who prefer to prune their pecan trees in the nude.
What on earth is next? 
Cooking Naked? I have had frightening encounters while frying bacon and steaming broccoli.  I have had near misses with my Ginsu knife.  Why would anyone want to cook without the benefit of clothes, an oven mitt, and an apron?  
What about Naked Court?  Every time I have been called to show for jury duty, it has been accompanied with a stringent dress code reminder. How could anyone be taken serious in a small claims court when all you claim to own is in plain view except for your earrings, a watch, and maybe some tattoos?
Nope, nudity should stay where it belongs – at birth, in the bathroom, and in the privacy of one’s bedroom.  Say NO! to nakedness.



Monday, September 22, 2014

Guacamole: My Life in Retrospect

My grandmother gave me the best advice when I was young.  She said one should live life with no regrets.  If I should mess up, I should forgive myself, forgive the offender, and move on.
I agree.
At the age of twenty-one, I had all these dreams:  I was going to get my PhD in Languages, move away from my home town, and travel the world.  There was no place for marriage or children.  Family would only hold me down.
Then I got married two weeks before I turned twenty-three and my life took a totally different detour, several actually.  I never got my PhD, never moved any further than an hour from where I grew up, and my travels have been limited to the contiguous United States, a couple of hours into the “interior” of Mexico, and a nineteen day trip into China to meet a handful of in-laws.
Not exactly worthy of one single “Yeeha,” but I have no regrets.
If I were to go back in time and be able to talk to my younger, twenty-one-year-old self, this is what I would say:
1.     Dream big and don’t be afraid to adjust those dreams as circumstances prevail.  What you sometimes think is important, isn’t. Alternatives and adjustments to your dreams are not measures of failure, but measures of resiliency and strength.
2.    Trust in yourself.  Wait before you rush into relationships. You deserve to love and be loved.  You deserve to be respected and cherished. Let your suitor chase you.  You will prove to be amazing, stronger than you ever thought, a better person than you were made to feel. (Remember this.  It will save you two failed marriages.)
3.    Life is messy.  It is like a bowl of guacamole.  Things will get squished together, diced and minced.  It will be spicy and intriguing.

It will be worth it all.  It will be delicious. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Wedding Toast: A Mama’s Blessing


In Celebration of John and Bianca Hulsey’s Wedding
September 13, 2014
Most of us say we believe in happy ever afters, but happy ever afters exist only in fairy tales and fairy tales are fiction. I prefer to believe in true love.
True love is more than just attraction and intimacy.  It is affection and tenderness and kindness. It is holding hands and sharing smiles.
True love is unselfish.  It is consideration and caring for the other person more than about yourself.  True love puts the other person’s needs first.
True love in not a fifty/fifty proposition; it is both parties giving and doing 100% for the other.
It is laughter and conversation because true love cannot exist for long without truly liking each other as well.  
It is respect and trust, and it allows for vulnerability. It is confidence and assurance that the other person would never hurt you.  In fact, true love goes to great measure to guard each other from any harm.
It is about loving one another when we are not at our best: when no one would come near us because we have the flu and are covered in contagious germs, when we wake up with bed head and morning breath, and when we shouldn’t have had milk because it does terrible things to our stomachs.
True love lets you go to bed angry (contrary to what relationship experts say) because the other person will not pack their bags and leave you in the middle of the night, instead they will be there in the morning, making it easy for apologies to be exchanged, making your favorite pancakes for breakfast.  
True love is unselfish. You can both spend your daytimes at work, with other friends or pursuing other endeavors (after all, that’s what makes for interesting, well-rounded, independent people), but at the end of the day you find your way home to the other half of your soul.  You find your way home.  
I know all these things because I see these attributes in John and Bianca. They have found true love in each other, and because of this we are here to celebrate their marriage.  We can be assured they will be blessed with a true happy ever after.

I love you, kids.

John’s Mama 

Monday, September 8, 2014

These Are Smart Phones All Right

One of the saddest things I saw once was a whole family out to dinner, and both the parents and the two children did not say one word to each other during the whole meal.  All four were on their phones, texting or playing games.  A toddler in a high chair looked at her family, probably wishing she had a cell phone too. 
This scene has replicated itself many times over.  Just this past weekend, HoneyBunch and I went out to dinner and the couple next to us spoke more to the waitress than they did to each other.  Neither took their noses out of their phones long enough to make sure they knew the other person.
Cell phones are handy little gadgets and I cannot leave the house without mine.  It is as important as my wallet and my car keys and I carry it in my purse, but once I am home I set it down where I can see it or hear it in case someone calls but I am not anchored to it.
My kids get upset with me if I do not answer my cell phone right away, but I tell them that I am not leashed to it and I often dare to wander far away from it.
I doubt those who invented this technological wonder ever intended the anthropological dilemma that it has, but by providing a gadget that demands so much of our time and reverence, it threatens the family, culture, and society. It steals precious time we should be interacting with each other and focuses it onto a phone.  
I say we should
1.    limit their use at our dinner tables, during homework, reading, or family hours.  We should put away our phones on car rides or trips, and I see no reason why a child should keep a phone by their bed after bedtime;
2.    set parental controls on what our children can access or how long they can use their phones;
3.    observe basic rules of etiquette about phone use at school, at church, during meetings, at the movies, and during formal performances where a cell phone interrupts the enjoyment of the show for others. Phones should be turned off or muted during these times.
These are smart phones all right.

Instead of us using them, they are the ones in charge. They lure us with music, books, games.  We use up all our precious time, dependent on them. Instead of extending the reach of our communication arm, we are held fast to it. Instead of taking a good look around us, talking to those near us, and enjoying the wide expanse of nature, we are held fast, peering at a tiny gadget welded to our hands.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Best, Most Amazing, Truthful, Three Pieces of Advice Ever (!) for those Considering Marriage


1.    Do it!
2.   Do it now!
3.   Do it right away!

No need to thank me; just marry the person you love, the person who makes you feel the most alive, the person who makes you a better you.