Sunday, May 15, 2016

Complicated Sex Is Not Safe Sex

I hesitate to express my opinion publicly about political issues. But, when the safety of innocent children is being compromised, I must speak up, if for no other reason than for the sake of my four-soon-to-be-five grandchildren.

This past week, our president signed an order that public schools allow transgenders to use the bathroom with which they identify. I was disappointed and embarrassed that the most powerful man in the world would sense the need to take his presidential authority to a new low--the public school restrooms.

We should all be outraged over this order, not just because our president is sticking his nose into our bathrooms, but because the safety of our students is at risk. Our children and grandchildren--and those who dedicate their lives to teach them-- deserve safe school environments. Debates and confusion over gender issues at the bathroom door doesn't sound very safe--or sane--to me.

One former fraternity member told me, "If this had happened when I was in school, we guys would have loved it. I could see some of my frat brothers going into the girls' bathroom just for the fun of it. And, nobody could do a thing about it. And, of course, we would have LOVED to have girls in our bathroom."

Gender has become an extremely complicated issue. Books and articles are being published and constantly updated to stay current with the countless new terms referring to people's gender choices. Transgender, bigender, cisgender, agender, pangender--the list goes on. God the Creator was very simple and gender binary in his approach to sex. Genesis 1:27 states, "Male and female He created." Male & female - two and done! I'm not about to second guess the Almighty. Are you? The way I was born is the way God made me. And, the doctor who delivered me obviously agreed with how I was created because he signed my birth certificate which clearly states I was born a female.

So, here's simple solution to our nation's complicated gender issues. If  people can't enter another country without a passport verifying their identity, let's require "passports" to verify a person's gender. No one should be allowed to enter a bathroom without showing their birth certificate proving their gender status once and for all. 

And if the line at the bathroom door backs up, people could just make their way to the White House which happens to contain 35 bathrooms--one to accommodate each gender type. After all, if he's going to bring the executive order to the doors of our schools, we can bring the long-term effects to his doorstep. Let's just pray that in the meantime the morality of our nation doesn't end up in the sewer. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

What in the world has happened to integrity?

Integrity is becoming lost in a world that sadly lacks it but seriously needs it. Simply put, integrity signifies honesty, morality--an unimpaired condition. C. S. Lewis said, "Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching."  But, even when people are watching, honesty seems to be low on some people's list of values.

On a recent trip to Oklahoma, I rented a car at the airport. The rental company gave me what seemed to be the last vehicle available. That in itself should have been a red flag, because the car had a bad tire--which they reluctantly changed. A few days later, as I traveled through a small Oklahoma town, I was pulled over by the police who informed me that the tags on the car were expired. After the officer called for back-up, they proceeded to search the car--including my suitcase--thinking I might be a drug-runner. An hour later, satisfied that I was not a smuggler, they let me continue my trip.

"But," I asked, "What if I'm pulled over again before I can turn in the car?"

"Just explain that you were already pulled over and released," the officers responded. "Then settle it with the rental company."

When I returned the car and told the employees what happened, no one apologized. In fact, no one even seemed surprised that they had leased a car with expired tags. I requested some sort of compensation, but they said the best they could do was give me a direct number to their manager who, not surprisingly, has been unavailable.

Needless to say, this company has been removed from my list of car rental options. Although the prices are attractive, their lack of integrity isn't worth saving a few dollars. If only their manager(s) had shown a little more veracity and at the very least took ownership of their wrongdoing, this article would have a more positive spin.

How do you and I measure up when it comes to integrity? Here are three ways to assure we are have a high moral standard:

1. Readily admit when you are wrong - Taking ownership of a wrong-doing, even if it was a mistake on your part, will go a long way toward reconciliation. Do it quickly. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to make amends. If you find it difficult to readily admit your errors, it may be a sign of lacking integrity.

2. Compensate when necessary - If you owe money to someone, take the high road and pay up. It's a small price for a clear conscience. Where a clear conscience is missing, honesty will not be found. 

3. Verify before taking action -  When the police discovered the expired tags on my leased car, they called the rental company to to give them a chance to explain themselves. Unfortunately, the manager insisted the tags were up-to-date. The information from the Secretary of State's office, however, indicated otherwise. By the time the officer approached me with the problem, he had done his homework and was certain of his findings. We should do the same. Verify, don't assume. Making decisions without knowing all the facts can be disastrous.

King Solomon said, "[The Lord] is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints" Proverbs 2:8. Doesn't it give you a tremendous sense of security knowing God Almighty is guarding your path? If you walk in integrity, you won't have to worry about driving a car with expired tags.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Secret of Living Longer


One of my mother’s favorite sayings in her later years was, “Mary, whatever you do, don’t get old.” I always responded, “Mom, if you’ll tell me how, I won’t.” She never told me, and I never learned. So now I find myself telling people, “Whatever you do, don’t get old . . .” Thanks, Mom.

No one wants to age—except for those few individuals who sport grey hair and wrinkles like trophies of experience. Ironically, in many countries, people with grey or white hair are treated with utmost respect, like wise sages and experienced elders. Not so much in America, I’m afraid. 

Did you know that the market for anti-aging products and services has grown into a global industry valued at around $261.9 billion in 2013—up from $162 billion within a five-year span? (stats from BCC Research, Wellesley, Mass.) The number of botulism treatments rose 680% from 2000 to 2012 (according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons). Even people under 35 are starting to visit dermatologists for “prejuvenation” treatments to delay the onset of wrinkles.

Prejuvenate. Rejuvenate. Maybe we need to just juvenate. You’re right—there is no such word. But, it is a natural and normal process that happens to our bodies. Instead of trying to Pre or Re the process, let’s just go with the flow and be free—Freejuvenate! 

For those who aren’t quite convinced, consider this: In a recent study, it was discovered that the most productive decades of a person’s life are the 60s and 70s because people are mentoring and duplicating themselves. When people are in their 20s and 30s, they are learning and discovering and being mentored. When they reach their 40s and 50s they are applying confidence in what they do and who they are. Ahhh, but the 60s and 70s are wonderful years. The comfort level with who you are combined with decades of experience offer a valuable blend of mentoring material that can be poured into those climbing the ladder of aging.

So, next time you study your reflection in the mirror, ruing over the increase of wrinkles and grey hair, be sure you can see the reflection of someone younger standing next to you. Invest your wealth of life in them. You’ll feel—and look—younger in no time. In fact, if you pour into the right people, your legacy will last a long, long time. 


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why I hope Judge Judy Never Retires

Those who know me know I'm one of the biggest fans of The Honorable Judge Judith Scheindlin. Her tenacity, self-confidence, and fearless approach on the bench create an atmosphere of  respect which I find incredibly refreshing. Although I do cringe a bit when she verbally spanks an unsuspecting plaintiff, or tells a defendant, "You're an idiot," I must admit that I admire her boldness to tell it like it is.

More than her boldness, however, is the way she upholds the banner for good grammar, proper vocabulary, and decent dress. "Where did you think you were coming today?" she asks, eyeing their outfit of choice. "Would you wear ripped jeans to a job interview or a funeral?" One poor guy made the mistake of saying yes. Her response: "You're an idiot."

A young woman appeared as a witness for the plaintiff wearing an outfit that showed way too much skin. Within five minutes Her Honor ordered the witness out of the courtroom to "find a shawl" and return more modestly covered. The girl had a puzzled look on her face as she made a hasty exit. She was either thinking "What's wrong with my top? I always dress like this." Or she was trying to figure out What in the world is a shawl?

Judge Judy keeps strict parameters in her courtroom. If someone gets into drama or tries to malign the other person, she strikes with her gavel and says, "Save that for another program." (Too bad we couldn't do some gavel-striking on Facebook.) If someone challenges or disagrees with her decision, she retorts, "They don't keep me here 'cause I'm gorgeous. They keep me here 'cause I'm smart!"

Her premarital counseling is off the charts. Sometimes she'll look at a female witness for the defendant and ask, "Who are you?" "I'm his fiancee," is often the response. Judge Judy has no problem saying, "You better think twice before you marry him. And if you do marry him, don't have kids." I wonder how many divorces she's prevented.

Judge Judy seems to be one of the last people to publicly uphold good manners, grammar, and respect. In a day and age when folks speak with sloppy abbreviations and wear ill-fitting clothes that don't leave much to the imagination, she's a lone but refreshing voice in the wilderness calling people back to decency and good old-fashioned manners.

I think our country will benefit from a lot more smart and a lot less gorgeous. What do you think?

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Common Sense of Friendliness

My husband and I enjoy eating at a certain restaurant--the one where you can eat peanuts and throw the shells on the floor. The food is fresh, but the greeting process is a bit canned. Their routine is so practiced that I could probably start working there today without any orientation.

The first time we ate there, our waitstaff escorted us to a table and, on the way, called over her shoulder, "So, have you eaten here before?" I thought it was a really nice touch and was moved she would even care that we were newbies. On ensuing visits I noticed the same question was asked at the exact same spot in the middle of the restaurant. It soon became obvious the entire staff had attended a training workshop where they were taught how to engage a customer in conversation by using this effective question.

I don't mean to criticize these hard-working people who are just trying to earn a living by serving fabulous food. But, I think the reality is that the staff probably don't even care whether or not we've been there before. They're just following orders.

Would you believe that another company actually pays its employees $1 more an hour just be friendly to the customers?

When did we have to be trained--or paid--to be sociable? I thought friendliness was common sense. Apparently not. Like the meeting I attended as a newcomer. The few people who were "trained" to be cordial did their job well. They shook my hand at the door, made sure I received the necessary handouts, and even sought me out after the meeting to see if I would come again. However, as I sat at a table by myself, dozens and dozens of people apparently not trained in the art of friendliness walked by me as if I was invisible. I left the meeting feeling like the courtesy shown when I entered was artificial and the members of the organization aloof. No, I did not "come again."

A wise person once told me that if something irritates us about other people, it's probably a flaw in our own lives. Touche. I can recall numerous times when I've walked right by people and haven't said a word either because I'm in a hurry or distracted--or disinterested. What about the times I feigned friendliness because it was my job. I wonder how many times people have considered me artificial or, worse, unfriendly. How many have chosen not to "come again." 

Common sense can speak pretty loud. Maybe it's time we listened.