I Am A Racist? Really?

Recently, I posted my opinion on the cop killings and BLM on a blog. Basically, it ticked off the liberal white guilt trip pack. This is my response. No holds barred. I would apologize for the language, but it is heart felt and honest, so I won’t. Lets just day I kept it as clean as I could.

I’m a Racists? Really?

So, you lot seem to think I am a racist, or whatever, because I am telling you what MY experience with the black and white people in the south has taught me. Okay. Soooo, your point? Look, I have lived in 11 countries, ONLY in the US do we have this idiocy of promoting a race war. In England, New Zealand, Germany, any other place I have lived, people are just people. Skin color does not matter. Here it is promoted by the progressive left who have done their best to keep black people divided by their color. It began after the Civil War and it continues today. I assume, and that may be asking too much, that you DO know the background of the democratic party and their promotion and development of the KKK and all the Jim Crow laws that abound throughout the US. It started in the south, but it spread across the country like wild fire.

After the Civil War, many black men were elected to state and federal positions, as soon as possible the white democrats kicked them all to the curb using the Jim Crow laws, continuing the division between blacks and whites. Then came good old Woodrow Wilson, who was a hugs supporter of Margaret Sanger, and who supported eugenics. That means the killing of all babies she thought were being born to people who were obviously too flawed to be real humans. All blacks, many of the uneducated, Catholics, Jews, and the poor. Nice people.

Following them of course, is Johnson, who as soon as Kennedy was dead, brought in the lovely Great Society. It is well known that he loathed black people and thought that they were sub human. So, since he couldn’t enslave them like they used to be, he and his cronies come up with a GREAT idea! Wanna guess? No? Let me enlighten you a bit.

1. First, make welfare easily available and pack it with all sorts of goodies, based on how many kids you have and how much you can scam the system.

2. Emasculate the men of color. Make big daddy government in charge and tell them that they are no longer needed to keep a family solvent.

3. Tell them that they are victims, victims, victims, over and over and over until all the kids believe it, and they stop striving to improve and learn. After all big daddy will take care of them.

4. Tell them they don’t need to work. And kids drop out of school to hang on the corner Uninspired, uneducated kids end up getting into trouble. Soon, it becomes cool to be a loser with no ambition or dreams.

5. Then tell them that family isn’t important. Take that and add to it the way in which black women are encouraged to abort their children, and make it government supported and suddenly there is no reason for a mom and dad, because if a girl gets pregnant, there are no consequences.

6. Fast forward to present day, and you have the creep in the white house promoting racism by continuing the false narrative that black people are victims, and all white people OWE them because we are ALL racists at heart.

7. With no one to teach the last three generation of men how to BE leaders and men of authority and strength, most young men haven’t a clue what real men are like. So they start looking up to the strong man in their area – drug dealers, thugs, pimps, etc. and decide to emulate them.

8. With no man to teach them right from wrong and the value of respect, they have none for anyone except the strong man among them who keeps them in line with violence and anger.

9. Therefore, cops, among any others with authority, are treated like they are the enemy. And that is founded on the way in which SOME bad cops treated them before folks learned better. Like 40 years ago. Yes, there will always be someone who is an asshat that wants to force respect and control, but they are few and far between.

10. Now we have thugs and criminals in charge and everyone is afraid to stand up to them. Cops just doing their jobs are killed, targeted, and the thugs in the bogus BLM groups are screaming kill all the white babies! Murder all the white people! And cops still go out and do their job with huge targets on their backs.

Now, compound the issue with the still progressive slave overseers on the plantation of the democratic party bringing people on stage who are screaming that their son was killed by cops and it is all the fault of the cops. Really? Check their kids police record first, enlightening stuff. But, hey, more money for them paid by the city who is afraid to stand up to evil.

But, I am a racist. As a life long conservative, I am ANTI anything the democrat progressives promote – like modern slavery via welfare and their desire to destroy the black family and dreams. So, I am a racist. Really? I make things divisive by saying that folks up north are different concerning race than down here. Because, ladies and gents, I have lived up north, and there is a difference in attitude. I don’t know why, but there is a lot more racism from both sides there than there is here. Probably one reason is that we have learned by living in close proximity that we need to cooperate and get along to get anything done.

When I was a kid the black people in town may have lived in their own community, but there were doctors, lawyers, business men, clergy, teachers, writers, artists, musicians, hard working men and women who had pride in themselves and in their community,. They had dreams, plans for the future, plans to help their kids be better, do better, live better than they did. They had honor, and integrity. Many black people today have that same drive and ambition and honor. But many many more have bought into the progressive victim propaganda and as such have lost their way.

I honestly don’t care what color anyone may be. I have lived in far too many places to see people as anything other than people. Maybe with different customs and social behaviors, but still just people. It pisses me off that in this day and age people in the greatest country in the world (even with an ass in the white house) is willing to fall for this crap. Racism is a state of mind, so just change your damned mind and get over it. Too many folks on both sides of the issue are caught up in the blame game and victimization and white guilt. Get over yourself. And get RACE out of the politics. At the same time, more and more black folks around here are standing up to the BLM crap and telling them to piss off. The whole BLM thing is insulting to them.

ALL lives matter, cops, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, green, yellow, rainbow alphabet, men, women, children, and undecided. NO ONE is better than anyone else, but then, I am divisive and racist. Actually, what I am is fed up with the navel gazing, arm chair, holier than thou, progressive idiots who want to keep blacks enslaved and whites superior – but then, I must remember I am a racist.

Election Season

I am, unashamedly, an American Patriot. As such, I tend to lean to the right on most issues. Although I am an independent, it is the right side of the political spectrum that most closely matches with my personal understanding of what our Constitution, History, and purpose as a country mean. This particular election ‘season’ is filled with frustration for me and most people I know.

First of all, I have no respect for the man in the White House. I believe him to be a liar, anti-business, anti-constitution, anti-military, and anti-American. The man has not followed through on anything he ‘promised’ when he was elected four years ago. He has only thrown our country into further financial difficulties, embarrassed his office in the world arena, and made the United States look weak to our enemies. Not to mention he is friends with some of the biggest criminals and terrorists worldwide. In short, I loathe the man, so much so that I refuse to use his name.

On the other side of the election is Mr. Romney. Despite all the press digging to find dirt on him, Mr. Romney is proving to be an honest, decent, patriotic, and intelligent man who deeply cares for our country. I don’t care what his religion is, I do care if he can fix the financial mess we have before us, and if he is willing to protect the constitution of the United States of America. I do care that he is pro-life, and I do care that he has been faithfully married to his wife for over 30 years. I care that he understands how hard it is to be a parent, I do care that he is pro-second amendment, I do care that he will appreciate every single man or woman serving in our military and the service that they provide the country. And, I do care that he is a man who will stand by his principles, fulfill every promise he makes, work with both sides of the congress, that he has integrity, honesty, and humility.

This election has caused more divisiveness between myself and my friends than any other in my adult life. I am not quiet about how I feel about that man in the White House. My liberal and progressive friends are not happy about that. In fact, two of my oldest and dearest friends are no longer on my social network. Mainly because I got tired of all of the victim nonsense that most liberals spout. I also got tired of trying to explain things like finances, spending, honesty, and integrity. It hurts to cut them off, but it is either that or stay frustrated and upset every day.

I suppose I could try to let them whine and moan, and just keep my mouth shut, but to do that I would have to deny that which I know is true. Lying by omission is as great a sin as outright lying on purpose. I can’t do that. Not for long anyway. Eventually I would end up spouting my opinion and the whole thing would start all over again. It is very frustrating. And the choice was heart rending. The saddest part of all is that my progressive and liberal friends will never understand why I felt pushed into making this decision. Will we be friends again, maybe. But it won’t be the same because now I don’t really trust them and I don’t think that they will forgive me for being so daring as to delete them from my social network world.

So, here I sit, two of my oldest friends out of my daily life. It is depressing, but also empowering. Depressing because I will miss them, empowering because I stood my ground and made a difficult decision to protect my mental health. Sigh . . . sometimes I hate being a grown up with integrity.

Maybe . . .

Friendship is important to me. I have friends from all over the world, people I have actually met, not just people on line. I miss them, and I appreciate them, even if I don’t often say so. For the most part, my friends are wonderful, and I am so happy I have them in my life, albeit, distantly.

Every now and then, however, I make a mistake and end up with one of those friends who sucks the life right out of me. They are always needy, always wanting, always talking, and always have to be the center of attention in the relationship. They make me tired, and I know if I needed help, they would never offer. However, if they need help, and I am not quick enough to help, they will use everything from guilt to anger to get even with me. I have learned, the hard way, over the years that it is better not to have friends than have someone eating into my life like that.

I realized the other day that I hadn’t spoken to another adult outside my husband, Crystal, or Drew in weeks. (Making a doctor’s appointment doesn’t count.) Since moving to Mississippi, I have really gone out of my way to not to get to know people – women especially. I should be lonely, but I’m not. I should be feeling left out, but I don’t. I should feel isolated, but it hasn’t happened. And that makes me wonder why.

Maybe it is my age, I am comfortable with me, as I am, as long as I have access to books, computers, music, and my family. I keep up with my friends via social media, and letters, so I don’t feel lonely.

Maybe it is because I am too tired to make an effort to get to know people. When I think about it, I just can’t be bothered to go through all that social yada yada and make nice to strangers. I guess I want that feeling of instant recognition I had with those who are my dearest friends.

Maybe it is because people annoy me most of the time, and I am turning into the crabby cat lady that seems to live in every neighborhood. Because, I honestly think my pets need me more than most humans over the age of 16 need me.

Maybe it is because I don’t want to be friends with people who bore me, or worse, who are shallow and unsubstantial in their beliefs, actions, and thoughts. Heaven save me from women who shop, lunch, shop, do spa days, shop . . . I would go stark raving mad after one day with someone like that.

Maybe it is because I have the neighbors from hell with whom I have issues concerning their bullying behavior toward everyone else. The two of them are chummy as all get out, and try to force their idea of how things should be on everyone else.

Maybe it is because I just don’t quite trust the syrupy souther belle types, who bless my heart to my face, and treat me as gossip fodder when I am not there. Well, actually, they gossip about everyone who isn’t with them at the moment.

Or maybe, I just don’t care one way or the other. I think I should care, after all, humans tend to have that latent gene that makes them want to be part of a group. But I don’t care, and maybe that makes me a bit odd. Really, I would much rather read a book, be on line, researching, writing something, or spending time with my family that talking on the phone, chatting with people, or doing anything social. I guess I am turning in to the local crabby cat lady after all.


I thought we were friends. She seemed to understand me. I thought we were friends, because she always acted like she cared. I thought we were friends, when she listened to my words. I thought we were friends, since we used to laugh together. I thought we were friends, because she acted like she supported me when another hurt me. But, I was wrong.

Betrayal is a painful thing. It sneaks up and stabs deeply in the most heartrending way. It comes without notice, staring coldly in the eyes of someone trusted. It rends the soul, and tears the balance of life asunder. Betrayal is a soulless thing. It is used as a tool to demean and torment when someone changes allegiance or love. It wreaks havoc, shredding honor and pride. It is a weapon designed to eradicate the last vestige of faith, the last refuge of hope. With betrayal, love dies.

In the empty, windswept canyons of the soul, anguish cries out in horror. Lost in desperate need, the soul, in despair, howls with disappointment and sorrow. The overwhelming agony of spirit can shame the heart into hopelessness. The cold, abandoned wreck that once was courageous, fearless, is withered to a skeletal, dried wisp.
The agony and destitution of the soul is matched only by the torture of the psyche and the void of the heart. The raging echoes of the abandoned spirit cry out in pain, but no one hears, no one cares.

The friend betrays, the heart withers, and the soul suffers alone in the windswept canyons of lost and lonely spirits.

Inspirational Women

In my lifetime there have been many women who have inspired me to be a better person. It is difficult to choose one above the others, so I want to share with you, instead, several women who have inspired me.
When I was a little girl, my great grandmother, Sylvia Underwood Vandenburg, set the example of what a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother should be. She inspired me through her unrelenting work to feed, clothe, and educate her family. Grannie raised four children of her own, then raise six grandchildren in her home, when their parents abandoned them, while other grandchildren came and went on an as needed basis. She then raise three great grandchildren when her grandson divorced and needed someone to help take care of his kids while he worked.
Grannie was the finest example for sacrifice and service I have ever known. Her garden provided food for her family, neighbors, and anyone in need of food. She cooked for an army of people every day and lunch at Grannies was an event that stood until a week before she died. Because we are a farm family, lunch was the biggest meal of the day. It didn’t matter if we dropped in at the last minute, or if we brought along friends, Grannie always had enough food, and would just smile and “add another potato to the pot,” to make sure the meal stretched for everyone.
Her garden also provided flowers for everyone from new brides to the old and infirm. Her fingers sewed an unending supply of dresses, shirts, quilts, and dishtowels for all of her progeny and our friends. To have a quilt made by Grannie Vandenburg was the best wedding present any girl in the family could have. And when each of us had our first baby, and sometimes third or fourth, as long as she could see to do it, she made us a baby quilt. Those are held as sacred heirlooms by all of us.
Grannie was a small, quiet, homely, uneducated woman who was widowed at the early age of 50. Her life was hard, especially by today’s standards, but she was a tower of strength when it came to protecting her family. She always had the right advice, loving hug, or swat on the bottom for all of us children. She was wise, caring, possessed a wicked sense of humor, and she was one of the most spiritual women I’ve every known. All my life I have wanted to be just like her. To me, Grannie was exactly what a real woman was supposed to be. She could hoe a cotton field, do all the weekly wash, work in her garden, provide three meals a day, and still have time to sit quietly listening to a child struggle to learn to read at the end of a long day of work. Today, when I am sad or feeling lonely, the aromas of vanilla cookies and talcum powder bring back the feeling of unconditional love and security Grannie gave to all of “little ‘uns.”
When I was 26 I joined the church. In the small branch I attended in Harrison, Arkansas, there was a group of women who taught me what being a member was all about. Andrea Lewis, Mary Tasto, Marlene Lovelady, Ruby Essex, Eydie May Abell, and Candy Lovelady set the example for a very new and insecure sister over the six years I lived in Harrison, Arkansas. Each of them taught me in their own way. The older women, Andrea, Mary, and Marlene, who were each old enough to be my mother, gave me an ideal perspective on how to serve, teach, pray, and do visiting teaching. Mary taught me that the church was a place I could laugh, as well as shed tears and that I was too serious about every aspect of the gospel – something sacred didn’t mean something to fear. Andrea taught me that visiting teaching was much more than a lesson and a quick chat as we served together. She and her husband, Joe, were the couple I wanted Hal and I to learn to be like the most. I learned so much about service from Marlene, and those lessons still stand as my litmus test for how well I am doing. Ruby is the most spiritual of women whose calm devotion and knowledge in the gospel and in her testimony helped me to build on the basic knowledge I had as a new member. All of them are what I call prime examples, and it is my opinion that those four women are, in fact and deed, the best of the daughters of God.
The two younger women, Eydie Mae and Candy, were my first two friends in the church. For six years we raised our kids together, served together, struggled with our testimonies together, and built a friendship that still stands today. We were known for our silly antics, like the time they kidnapped me on my 30th birthday and took me to a big surprise party. We were known for being the terrible trio, because we were always up to something. We served in numerous callings together and shared every aspect of our lives.
In those years of learning and becoming a stalwart member of the church, they taught me to believe in myself, to laugh loud and long in joy, and to weep tears of sorrow without shame or embarrassment. Eydie Mae took the complex doctrines of the church and helped me see that the gospel is really quite simple, we make it hard. Candy taught me about dedication and strength. The two of them became my sisters in such a deep and meaningful way that no matter what happens, I will always stand by them.

Today they both live in Florida, and I live in Hong Kong. I miss them very much on days when I am feeling alone. But, all I have to do is wander in to my memory and find something that brings me joy, a laugh, or a comforting thought. I miss the wonderful small branch in Harrison. It is, and always will be, my home ward. The women there still set an example for me. And I will always yearn for those days when I could sit among them and feel the divine love and spirituality that makes them all so unique.

Finally, the women on the Sister’s List stand out as the most amazing women I’ve ever known. I admire their knowledge, spiritual joy, and ability to join together in the best Relief Society every created. When I am down, or angry, or hurt, or frightened, or worried, I just send an email. Within minutes, or at most, hours, I am sent words of comfort, peace, understanding, and usually a laugh or two. They even get indignant and angry on my behalf, and we all solve the world’s problems regularly, with laughter, and most of all, with compassion. I have learned the power of prayer from them, the importance of sisterhood and the ability to communicate and share our knowledge of the gospel principles. I have learned strength, and I have learned that no matter how hard things are, together we can overcome even the most horrific of worldly things. The awesome power of women who work together to accomplish miracles is proven daily by the women on the Sister’s List.
I am eternally grateful that the Lord has provided us with computers and the Internet. I am grateful that I couldn’t sleep one night and surfed into the LDSCN site all those years ago. I am grateful that my testimony has grown in leaps and bounds by the profound example of the testimonies of the sisters I have come to love even though I have never met them in person, or even heard their voices. I look forward, one day, to traveling to meet them. But if that doesn’t happen, I know I can look forward to meeting them on the other side. I know I will know them, all I have to do is look for a bunch of women who are laughing, and talking all at once.
I am so blessed.


Do I think too much? I often wonder if I make life harder than it should be. Do I engage my brain instead of listening to my heart and spirit? Do I simply exist instead of living life fully? Am I letting stereotypical expectations of what I should be and how I should act stop me from being true to myself?

There are a number of pithy little sayings floating about in the ether of the internet or self help books that I could apply to my feelings to create a feel good factor, but how many of them really make any difference in the long run?

I guess we all need to stop and do an internal check to make sure we are staying on the right course. Allowing ourselves to buy into the popular ala carte culture of self analysis is the easy way out of negative feelings. However, if we don’t delve a bit deeper than surface feelings, we are wasting time. None of the quick fixes out there will last beyond the next critical meltdown in our lives.

Oh, I don’t mean we need to run out and spend thousands of dollars sitting in some analysts office talking about how rotten our childhood was and how our relationship with our mother was horrific. If that makes you feel better, go for it, but I am talking about is taking the time to get to know what we really want in life and why we aren’t doing something about it. I am talking about taking the time to really learn what we feel about our lives, and to know our spiritual beliefs and needs are fulfilled.

As I age, I have less patience for people who constantly look for reasons to be unhappy and unfulfilled. I want to throw my hands up and shout, “For heaven’s sake, get off your duff and out of your pity puddle and DO something about your problems.” Inaction is no excuse for failure to thrive. We can always play the unending blame game rather than change what needs to be changed in our lives so we can flourish. It takes courage and determination to actually take steps to transform our lives. If you don’t like what you live, then alter, amend, modify, convert, exchange, or replace the things about your life you don’t like with things that you want or dream of doing. As long as you are inactive or a non-participant in your personal growth and dreams, you will never achieve happiness. Learning to be proactive in all areas of your life will give you the ability to attain all that you desire.

I recently had a conversation with my husband about how fast life has gone by. It seems that just yesterday I was a mother of two young boys, and now I am the mother of grown men and a grandmother. The years just whizzed by without my noticing; it was shocking for me in a number of ways. He pointed out that if I broke down the years, I would be amazed at all I had done, almost without noticing. He was right, and I really had no reason to be feeling sorry for myself. I had accomplished a great deal in my life, and in doing so, became the person I am today. Bumps, warts, and all, life experience has helped to make me who I am, along with all the spiritual moments that strengthened me.

We can’t go back and redo the past. It is over, to paraphrase a song by Brooks and Dunn, “[Life] is like the Mississippi, when she’s gone she’s gone.” It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking “if only” we had done things differently or made a different decision our lives would be better, and we would feel happier. Nonsense, what is, is and cannot be changed just because we wish it so. We live with what we have earned through our life experiences. I can’t make any difference in my life if I spend all my time thinking ‘if only’ about the past. What I can do is move on from this instant, right now. I can mend relationships, ask for forgiveness, and try to make restitution for the hurts I have caused, but I cannot take back what I have done and relive the past. Despite what all the science fiction stories tell us, time travel is still just a fantasy.

We could waste time beating ourselves up over our mistakes, after all, misery loves to propagate and the best way to do that is to use our guilt or frustration as fertilizer. All we will end up with is a patch of weedy discontent. If, however, we have the courage to pull all those weeds of discontent and replace them with the ability to bloom in a garden of possibilities, we can enjoy our lives.

At one point, I was a young mother, and you know, those days were so full of things to do, teaching moments, and work, I didn’t know how fast the years were going. I didn’t have time to sit around and feel sorry for myself back then. I had two little boys who were busy and growing, and I needed to be there to support that growth emotionally, educationally, and physically. I was the home room mother, Cub Scout Leader, and Sunday School Teacher. I squelched through mud and muck finding ‘treasures’ for their nature project, stood knee deep in a pond teaching them how to fish, stayed up late helping them learn to saw, nail, and glue together Cub Scout Derby cars, and had more than one battle over math homework. It was what moms did without question or thought; it was simply part of the job.

As they grew, I taught them how drive a car, work hard on a job, hygiene, and dating manners. I struggled with them through their final exams and yelled about homework more than once, and I was still there for them when they came home after curfew and ended up grounded. I learned to let go and let them make their own mistakes, and to make them be responsible for cleaning up the mess they had made with those mistakes. And, I had more time to think, and to do things for myself. I was so lost I finally went back to school to have something to do when my nest was empty. And, I started the downward spiral into feeling sorry for myself because I was no longer needed so much.

I wasted a lot of time feeling sorry for myself, until I had an epiphany one day. I realized that no one was going to feel sorry for me but me. Sympathy was not forthcoming from anyone, and not one single person was willing to join me in my pity puddle. I sat in it so long I was getting pruney and soggy. No amount of whining or moaning made any difference, except encourage people to move further away from me as fast as they could without making a scene. So, without a real plan, I just stood up and walked away from that pity puddle and began to find a way to overcome self pity and my patch of weedy discontent.

The how isn’t all that important, because it will be different for each of us. What is important is that we take the step to over come what ever it is that is keeping us from being joyful and content in our lives. Not every day will we be able to overcome the discontent in life; we have too many issues in our lives for that to happen, but with practice and dedicated attempts, each of us can have joy and contentment more often than not. For me, the most important step I made was to consciously decide that I was going to be a feisty old lady someday, and to do that I needed to practice being spirited and determined. I had to stop allowing my inner fear of making a fool of myself stop me from trying new things and learning new ways of doing old things. I had to learn to speak up and state my mind. And, I had to learn to be willing to be wrong now and then.

The second most important thing I had to do was find something to be passionate about. My passion was teaching and through that writing. For someone else that passion could become politics, women’s issues, health food, diet and exercise, learning to sing, or learning to paint. The choices are endless. What ever it is that you choose, make sure it is something to which you want to dedicate your time and energy. And, if you find it wasn’t your cup of tea after all, then admit it and move on to something else. I started out thinking I would love to teach high school, something I quickly learned was not for me, so I switched mid-stream and decided to teach at a university level. That passion I had for teaching finally manifested itself in tutoring women who were learning to speak, read, and write English as a second language while we lived abroad. My point is, without something in our lives that we can be passionate about, we have no direction for our energy. We cannot be joyfully engaged in life if we don’t have something to be joyful about.

So that leads me back to my original question, do I think too much? Am I searching for a quick fix, or am I really engaged in life to the fullest? Am I still waiting to be rescued, or am I really out there making choices and mistakes as I give every adventure a chance to enhance my life? Life has changed for me in the past few years as my health has become an issue. I don’t teach any longer, and now I need a new passion. I guess its back to practicing to be a feisty old lady, after all, someone needs to help set a good example for the next generation of up and coming feisty old ladies. Why not me? I guess I had better go and explore my garden of possibilities.

Serendipitous Day

This was written just before Easter in 2003 when we lived in Karori, New Zealand, a suburb of Wellington.

Today was one of those days when the normal turns serendipitous without notice. I got up and decided today would be a good day to walk into Wellington to get the things I needed for Crystal’s Easter Basket. It is about an hour’s walk if I don’t get in a big hurry. When I got to the Botanical Gardens, about half way there, I sat down on a bench to rest for a minute. I don’t usually do that, but today I simply felt a need to sit down.

As I was sitting there, an elderly man came along at a good pace. As he passed me, he said good morning, and I responded the same. He stopped and asked me if I was from America. We began to chat about where he had visited in the US and general information that two strangers usually exchange. He sat down and that is where things shifted to serendipity.

We began by talking about the beauty of the gardens, then that shifted to gardening in general, and before I knew it, we were talking about the magical wonders of creation. One topic led to another and we wandered through comparative religion, the occult, historical fact versus fiction or oral misinterpretation of the Holy Bible. Then we went back to the topic of astrology and the modern day fascination people seem to have with things like earth worship and the odd factions of fanatics who can ruin an entire religious concept by being over zealous and pushy. We talked about the differences and similarities between many religions and we discussed our own spiritual paths.

During the discussions things came up that we used to illustrate our personal growth. I may have lost my son to a murderer, but John lost his wife to one, and the killer was his own son. Oh, the horror of that! John said that was when he began to search for a spiritual balance and meaning in his life. Because he loves his wife so much, he knew that she could not be dead. We talked about the spiritual visits some people have and how powerful dreams can be in our lives. We discussed how people have to find the right path for themselves and the first step is to begin searching.

During our talk, we found out that his friend’s daughter is in my granddaughter’s class at school, and they play together a lot. We found out that we know some of the same people involved in different things that we do, and he said he had a lot of respect for the Mormons because of all they did to help people find their roots with our genealogy programs.

But the best part of the talk was when we were discussing what different religions believe. We agreed it came down to several concrete things that seem to be innate to the human spirit.

1. Less is more. The less we have of material things, the more we learn to depend on God for help.

2. To accept others who believe differently means we must have an honestly open mind.

3. In all religions, it all boils down to this: If we give, we get much more in return. One must learn to give of self to gain spiritual enlightenment or growth. In all religions, that one precept seems to come through more than anything else. In sacrifice we learn humility and compassion.

We had a spirited discussion on the impact the Old Testament has on the New Testament and Christian patterns of belief. Then we had a discussion about my beliefs and how I came to that through the experiences of my life. We talked about how neither of us believes in coincidence. We called it-planned coincidence, because everything happens for a reason. I never sit on a bench when I walk into Wellington. He usually doesn’t cut through the gardens on his way either. Usually he doesn’t do more than say good morning, and I rarely talk to strange men other than to respond to a greeting. I guess we were meant to meet. He called it fate.

It was a wonderful, serendipitous morning that required me to think, laugh, talk about things that I often ponder, and share my inner most feeling about God. As we parted ways, he shook my hand and said that he hoped one day he would have the spiritual strength and balance that I possess. What a great compliment to get from someone I’ve only known a few hours.

I don’t know that we will ever meet again, but today was meant to be and I feel wonderful. My brain got a workout, my spirit got a boost, and I laughed a great deal. John is 72 years old, fit, agile in mind and body, and he is finding his spiritual maturity a very interesting path indeed. I am so glad I got to be a part of his journey.

Why We Need Friends


By KJ Combs

When I was a child, I was a loner by choice. That behavior stuck with me through most of my life. I prefer to stand back and observe humanity more than I desire to engage with others. Perhaps it is an innate shyness, or perhaps I am simply uneasy becoming deeply involved in the lives of others. Either way, I am still, in many ways, a loner.

Over the years, however, I have developed deep and abiding friendships with other women. I tend to not like women, simply because of the manipulative games they play, and I don’t have a great deal of patience with histrionics and emotional drama. But now and then, when everything falls into place, or, despite myself, I become friends with someone extraordinary. In time, that person becomes entrenched into my life and in my heart. The unique characteristics they exhibit begin to impact me, and how I think and feel. They set examples for me to follow, and they encourage me to be more than I think I am.

I am often surprised that I have friends, as I am rather blunt and forthright and fight emotional overload with practicality and sarcasm that tends to be either salty or cutting. In some strange way, that seems to endear me to those who decide I am worth having as a friend. Why they need me is a mystery to me, but why I need them is crystal clear to me.
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