Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"J" IS FOR . . . JUST BECAUSE!




Ever had someone answer with "just because" when asked the why of something? Children are noted for saying that; often, when asked WHY they did something wrong, that is what they say.  Even adults tend to say that.


I submit that "just because" is not any kind of reason.  It's simply a cop-out, a lame excuse, and a non-answer.  If one is three years old, we'll look the other way or even smile at that answer, but if much older, "just because" doesn't cut it, people!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

GRAMMAR NAZIS, UNITE!







The three little words, THERE, THEIR, THEY'RE, are probably abused as much (or more) than any other words in the English language--I see them used incorrectly on a regular basis, along with scores of other errors.  A friend on Facebook sent me the cartoon because I am . . . well, a self-described Grammar Nazi.  I am proud to be a Grammar Nazi.  After all, somebody has to do it!  We have to root out illiteracy and shoddy syntax wherever we can, right?  

When I've marked such errors on writing assignments over the years, some of my English students have flippantly retorted, "So what?  Who cares?  It's no big deal!"  Well, my dear misspellers, such errors are a big deal to prospective employers who seek to hire, even for entry-level positions.  When weeding out applications before tossing those that are poorly written, such people want applicants who pay attention to detail.  They reason that if an applicant cannot complete a job application with at least decent conventions (spelling, sentence structure, usage, etc.), then said applicant will not be hired where such skills are expected--or required.  For example, a business letter with this kind of error turns off prospective clients, because a company or business is judged as competent or not by its written words.  Attention to detail can make a big difference in business growth.

There, their, they're--you'll find another job--maybe.

Friday, April 20, 2012

"I" IS FOR . . . INTERESTING!

I dislike things that are not interesting, be they colors, movies, books, meetings, or people, and not necessarily in that order.  Some of us seek constant mental stimulation (unless sleeping), and I can tell you firsthand that not everything in life is interesting! So-called mundane incidents and circumstances, however, are necessary to recharge one's batteries and entice inspiration to spring forth.  Otherwise, we'd all be exhausted and zombie-like most of the time.

Mothers of children still at home know what I'm talking about.  Infants don't always sleep when we want them to, toddlers have to be watched like a hawk so they don't kill themselves, and adolescents keep us on our knees praying that WE'LL live through the teen years!  It doesn't stop when children leave the nest, either.  We pray that they'll do something good with their lives, and we no longer have any control over that.  Scary thought.

But back to my premise.  What constitutes something interesting to one person is mind-numbing boring to another.  I love to watch old movies, and it doesn't matter if I happen upon them in the middle or the beginning.  I like to see if I can pick up the plot by what is going on in the scene where I begin watching.  I enjoy seeing the fashions, manner of speech, and surroundings of these 1940 to 1960ish movies.  But for the most part, my hubby will find something else to do when latch onto one.

He enjoys watching NASCAR racing intermittently, but I just don't get what is so fascinating about grown men driving around in circles as fast as they can. That comment probably angers racing fans out there--sorry. I admitted already that I just don't get it. He also often says that the droning sound of the cars is a good backdrop for napping!   I've found that such fans watch in anticipation of crashes during races.  How sick is that??  Drivers get killed in those, for heaven's sake.  I also don't get the attraction for boxing, either in participating or watching it.  Beating another human being to a pulp, even if under the cloak of a sport, just doesn't seem interesting to me, but rather, violent and weird.  I am certain that those comments also anger another group of people.  Oh well.  It's my blog.

"Interesting" is often what one makes of life.  If I find something to be dull, I either live through it, often taking notes so that I can refer to them later and hopefully learn something from it, or move on to something else.  No longer a child, I realize now at my advanced age that not everything in life is fast paced, exciting, or challenging.  In fact, it can be rather nice to sit back, sip coffee, and watch the birds and squirrels in my backyard.  I make note of how green the grass and trees are this spring.  I unwind a bit, then get up to tackle the next project awaiting my attention.  Those mothers of small children would dearly love the luxury of doing that, and I recall feeling that way when our children were little.  Now, however, I appreciate that I can pretty much tackle as much or as little as I feel like doing on a given day. 

I have an interesting life, and that in itself is something for which I am thankful.  I've learned to have joy over the little things, for those are what make up life while waiting for "something to happen."  Just don't overlook them and thus miss out!

Time for my skydiving lesson now. That's a joke, of course--no amount of money could force me to do that. Some things are simply too interesting to bother with . . .



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"H" IS FOR . . . HELLO!

Living in the South has many perks, and one of my favorites is the fact that folks speak to complete strangers.  There have been very few days when I haven't had a complete stranger smile at me or simply say hello!  It's just considered polite manners where I live.  I return the favor as well.


Sometimes, a smile or a "hello"can lift one's spirits.  When I speak to someone else and smile, I feel uplifted, too.  Besides, who knows what pain can sometimes be hidden behind the smiles we see at church, at the doctor's office, or stores we frequent?  We often think that our problems are just too much, too insurmountable, and too difficult, but we Christians should know better!  God tells us often in His Word that He will never leave us, He'll go with us through the valleys, and that He will guide us.  Ever heard the saying, "If you're happy, don't forget to notify your face"?  Besides, who wants to encounter someone who looks like he or she has been drinking sauerkraut juice?? However, being the frail humans that we are, we sometimes fall into Satan's trap of discouragement.

That is where a smile or a hello comes in.  My post today is to encourage those who might be going through dark valleys.  I also want to encourage you to reach out to someone else and give that person a lift - just offer a smile or a hello as you go about your daily business.  Even if you don't feel like it, do it, anyway--the person receiving your smile just might need it more than you do.  In today's society, we have to be wary of everything, it seems, but being kind never goes out of style.

Try it--you'll like it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME . . .


This rose is one of the first (actually, the second) to bloom in our front yard.  It is my favorite kind of rose:  dark red, velvety petals, shiny green leaves, classic scent, and yes, even thorns. 

Those thorns make one appreciate the good attributes of a rose.  We tiptoe gingerly around those thorns, always very respectful of their sharpness--all the while, admiring the beauty and complexity of the bloom itself.

What lessons can be gleaned from merely admiring such a beauty of God's creation?

SARGE ANNOUNCES: I AM SARGE and I AM DACHSHUND E-BOOKS!

An announcement from Sarge:

Hi folks!  

In following my books sales just on www.Amazon.com alone, the e-book version (Kindle) of these books is outselling the paperback version quite handily, I am happy to report.  We authors are always happy when our books sell, no matter which version readers wish to choose.

Below are links to each book for those interested in purchasing "really cute" books written from my own viewpoint (you'll be surprised at how discerning we doxies are when it comes to humans, friends, and life in general!):

I AM SARGE:  http://www.amazon.com/Sarge-The-Dachshund-Escapades-ebook/dp/B007IPPDI4/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

I AM DACHSHUND:  http://www.amazon.com/Am-Dachshund-Mavis-Duke-Hinton/dp/1602902593/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1308002196&sr=1-1

And, if you've already enjoyed my books, please leave a brief review on Amazon to encourage others to enjoy them as well (you can also do that by clicking on the above links).  I can't seem to get any of my dawg friends write any reviews, so I sincerely hope my human friends will do so!  Thank you!

As a side note, I hope to have DACHSHUNDS FOREVER completed soon.  Of course, when I think I am nearly finished, another "absolutely necessary" Papa Duke story or humorous incident comes to mind that I absolutely HAVE to include in the manuscript. I don't want to leave out anything, you know!

Stay tuned - I'll inform readers on Facebook, Twitter, this blog, and my website when I send the manuscript off to my publisher :).

Your doxie with moxie,
Sarge

Monday, April 9, 2012

"G" IS FOR . . . GRATITUDE!


Have you ever had one of those days where things did not go according to plan, or it just went downhill after you managed to crawl out of bed?  The dog wouldn't even wag his tail as you walked by--but bared his teeth and snarled?  People didn't smile at you, even if you smiled at them first?  Or, you tried to handle some business by phone, but could not get through?  I recently got the recorded message, "All our representatives are currently helping other customers.  Please remain on the line and the first available representative will take your call.  You have a wait time of 45 minutes.  Thank you." 

If the last item sounds crazy, I did not make it up--I was handling something for my mother (you guessed it--with a government agency), and my wait time was actually 45 minutes.  I put the call on speaker and simply worked on the computer until "my turn."  Of course, once I got a live person, I was transferred a few times and had to explain myself each time, but I finally accomplished what I needed to do.  Whew!

I said all that to say this:  oftentimes, it is downright hard to have an attitude of gratitude.  Life happens, and it isn't always a bed of roses.  (By the way, who coined that phrase?  Why would a bed of roses represent something comfortable or something that turned out right?  Roses have thorns, so what idiot would even want a bed of roses??).  But I digress.

Something happened recently that upset me greatly.  I just did not understand why those who had promised to do something had let me down, and then didn't even seem to care that they had broken their promise!  I mean, it didn't really seem very important to them at all.  (Before I proceed further, I want to make it clear that these people were not family members, thankfully.)

It wasn't something trivial, but rather important to me, actually.  I knew my attitude was wrong, so I took it to the Lord in prayer.  I asked for wisdom, a change of heart, and gratitude that so many other things in my life have gone so right.  As I prayed and asked the Lord for His help in changing my hurt feelings, He brought to my mind all those things for which I am blessed.  As I went over them in my mind, I could feel that my anger and resentment were just ebbing away.  My pity party was over, and I was able to have victory over this problem.

Oh, it is so easy to glibly tell people to let go of negative feelings, to pray about them, and to turn them over to the Lord, but it just isn't that easy to DO.  I knew my anger and hurt would eventually subside on the surface, but I didn't want buried resentment, either.  So, I thanked Him for all the things in my life, realizing that nothing happens in a Christian's life without God's permission--even so-called bad or negative things.  So:  why did these circumstances occur in my life?  We don't always know why, but then, God is not obligated to explain Himself to us.  We must simply trust Him and His reasons.  I did decide that perhaps one reason was to make me take stock of myself.  I am sure that there have been times in my life when I have let others down, maybe not intentionally--but rather than casting stones at others, I'd better look inwardly and make certain that my life is what it should be.

I am grateful for my Lord who answers prayer.  I could not have gotten rid of the resentful and hurt feelings on my own.  I would have been able to go on, of course, but I didn't want to carry around the baggage of those feelings.  And now, they're gone.  He took them away, and for that, I have much gratitude.  I can move on, live my life, and not have any resentment toward those who seemed not to care. 

It is no longer my problem, anyway!

Friday, April 6, 2012

THE CROSS: THE WAY TO ETERNITY!


This graphic depiction is what the Cross of Christ represents to Christians, and I displayed this poster in my classroom when I taught in Christian schools.  Anyone who saw it stopped and looked at it a second time. 

This painting is such a compelling and wonderful truth that is the heart of my faith!  Yes, the Cross is the only way to heaven, according to the Bible, but praises to God that He rose again the third day.  For without the resurrection, the cross would be just another event, most likely not even remembered.

Happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"F" IS FOR . . . FAMILY!

Clark and me with
the grandchildren
I know--I know.  Just another boring post about my family, right?  Perhaps . . . but it is not possible for me to avoid telling everyone how truly amazing our three grandchildren are!  Other grandparents can identify with that sentiment, I'm sure.  Apart from God, my family is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

My husband Clark and I have been married for almost 41.5 years, and I thank the Lord daily for his calmness, his steady outlook on life, and his common sense.  One who never calls attention to himself (the total opposite of moi), Clark is steadfast, loving, and is constantly thinking of ways to "do unto others"--a true lighthouse in the storms of life.

Our two married daughters, Holly and Bethany, are no longer merely my daughters--I consider them as my best friends!  We all have that same sarcastic, zany and sometimes dumb sense of humor, and we three females in the family have shared many a laughing fit together over the years.  I do believe our two granddaughters, Annika and Alexa, have picked up that trait, so now there are five of us who can do some powerful laughing when we are all together (which is not often enough, by the way).

Our two sons-in-law, Philip and Kurt, are such fine young men, and we look upon them as sons rather than mere sons-in-law.  We are so blessed that the Lord brought them into our family, and we cherish not only their friendship, but their kind and helpful spirits toward us.  Although they have quite different personalities, both have that sharp-witted streak of their very own brand of humor.  I enjoy it greatly.  

Annika and Alexa are my sweet granddaughters who bring so much joy and just downright fun into my life.  I can act as silly as I want, and they love it.  I don't have to act my age, be mature, or even make any sense to make them laugh.  Following in my late father's footsteps, I turn into a clown when with the grandchildren.  I love it.

Asher, our little grandson, rounds out the family, and he is definitely a ray of sunshine to everyone.  He is a smiling, friendly, and loving little boy, a precursor to the man he will become someday.  He looks so much like Holly did at the age of two, but there are times when he also looks like his father--so he's a composite of both.  He is his own "man," however, but will sit and look at books with me for hours, an enjoyable pastime for both of us. He and I bring new meaning to the term "mutual admiration society."

In conclusion, I am not painting merely a rosy picture of our family--they are really as great as I believe they are!  I am a woman who is blessed beyond measure, and having them all in my life gives it such zest, color, and enjoyment.  It is a pleasure to share my life with them down here.  In eternity, we'll all meet again, a blessing far beyond anything this world has to offer.

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