Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Blahg: Break

I really don't like it when people refer to this time of year as "summer."  Summer doesn't happen officially until around June 20th.  We still have almost a month to go until summer.  Spring is my favorite season--so I like to keep it around as long as possible.  ...even if the temperature is 90 degrees....

Well, it's not summer yet, but I think I'm going to take a blogging break for the "summer."  Right now there is just too much going on for me to figure out when I'm going to regularly blog.  I have to be out of my apartment in about a month, and right now I don't know where I'll be moving.  I don't know if I'll have regular internet access for a while.  I don't know if I'm going to be living in a cardboard box....

I'll continue to update from time to time, if I really have something to say, but I know I won't have time or mental energy to continue to blog 3 days a week.  I'll try to bring some normality back to the blog once I've figured out my living situations and job situations--and some normality to my life again.

Prayers are definitely appreciated right now.  I've known that changes were going to come, and now it's time for them.  I really am feeling hopeful about what God is doing, but it's hard to trust Him when I don't know the details.  I truly believe that He's going to bring me to a better place in my life, a place where He wants me to be--but getting there is hard.  I don't want to pack.  I don't want to have to figure out where I'm living.  I don't want to have to rely on others to help me.  But I'm going to have to be a grown up, put on my big girl pants, and deal with it.  It's going to be hard and stressful, but I believe there's going to be blessing on the other side.

So stay tuned--I'll update when I can.  Have a great summer (and the rest of spring)!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I Did With My Weekend

It's the last week of preschool, I've got two jobs almost every day this week, and I haven't had a chance to really even breathe since getting back in town on Monday.  So...this is the only blog post I'm probably going to do this week.  In fact, my blogging schedule is probably going to be messed up for most of the summer, if I even manage to blog at all.  I'm moving soon and don't really even know where I'm moving...

But this is what I did with my weekend:

My goal for the half-marathon: a time under 2 hours and 40 minutes (I would have gladly accepted 2:39:59)

My actual time: 2 hours 27 minutes 51 seconds. 

I was stunned.  In fact, I still am.

Now, lots of runners can run 13.1 miles in under 2.5 hours.  In fact, the people who won the half-marathon in which I participated ran it in under 1.5 hours.  But for me, Pansy Runner, this was an accomplishment--especially considering I was still feeling a little sick.  I didn't realize I was still feeling a little sick until during/after the race.  After crossing the finish line, I was ridiculously happy to meet up with my new BFF, the port-a-potty (I was too stubborn to stop and use one along the race course, even though I could have used one around mile 6).  When I got back to my sister's house, I took a shower, got dressed, started seeing black spots, got a killer headache, nearly passed out, and just generally thought I was going to die.  Then I puked my guts out, took a two hour nap, and felt much better.

Would I do it all over again?


It was a great experience (sans the post-race port-a-potty and puke party).  The scenery and weather were beautiful.  And God enabled me to do something that I would have never even thought about doing a year and a half ago.  Training has made my muscles stronger, but I'm not really that strong.  My only hope has ever been and ever will be that "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the strong" (1 Cor. 1:27). 

I'mma keep boasting in Him.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fiction Friday Book Review: THE MAZE RUNNER Trilogy by James Dashner

“Drama Queen,” the thirteen-year-old I watch/drive around was the first one to recommend The Hunger Games to me. So when she recommended a book called The Maze Runner by James Dashner, I definitely trusted her judgment. And as pathetic as it might seem that I share the same basic literary tastes as a thirteen-year-old, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed The Maze Runner. The two sequels, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, were also highly enjoyable.

The trilogy is definitely dystopian, although that is not clear in the beginning. In fact, it took me a while to get into the story because I wasn’t sure where it was going. But Dashner did an excellent job of setting up the plot. It begins with the main character of Thomas, whose only memory is his first name. He arrives in an enclosed community called the Glade, where the population consists of several other teenage boys who also have no memory of their lives before they arrived at the Glade. Adjacent to the Glade is a dangerous maze, which is believed to hold the key to their captivity. The arrival of the first girl (Teresa) in the Glade triggers several events that might lead to their freedom, but her arrival also triggers memories in Thomas, which suggest that the world beyond the maze might not be what they expect. Lurking behind it all is a mysterious organization called WICKED, which Teresa claims is good—but Thomas isn’t so sure.

Perhaps one of the marks of a good dystopian novel is that it’s a bit disturbing—in a good way. I haven’t been kept awake by a book since I finished reading The Hunger Games series, but I found myself thinking about these books long after turning out the light. I wondered why the characters were acting the way that they were. I wondered how the characters might feel about the difficult decisions they had made or were about to make. I wondered what the characters were going to do next, what was going to happen to them. Dashner definitely kept me guessing throughout the series, often surprising me. In fact, at the end of the first book, I found myself staring in disbelief at the last page, absolutely shocked at the turn the story had taken. Dashner knows how to write a good cliff-hanger; he has a gift for suspenseful writing.

This gift was also evident in the many exciting action scenes that took place throughout the series. I often found myself on the metaphorical “edge of my seat” while Thomas and his friends encountered monsters in the maze, zombie-like creatures in an abandoned city, or (most frightening and disturbing of all) average humans who were capable of unspeakable cruelty. It was hard to tell who was a “good guy” or “bad guy” in this series. While that much mystery would typically bother me, I was intrigued by Dashner’s ability to make me repeatedly question whether or not I liked a character.

There were things I didn’t like about the plot—but mainly these were surface things, like not wanting a certain character to die, or not wanting the story to take off in a grim direction. But the darker aspects provided a realism that I can definitely appreciate and admire. Dashner crafted a story that was thought-provoking, exciting, and three-dimensional. His characters were not what one might always want or expect—they were human, with good qualities and bad. And somehow I think that message might have been an underlying theme of the whole series. We’re all human. We are all capable of noble things, but we’re also very capable of evil. Those were the thoughts that kept me up at night.

There is no sex and only light profanity in The Maze Runner series, but due to violence and disturbing/intense imagery, I highly recommend this series only for mid-to-older teenagers and adults. Despite the fact that a thirteen-year-old got me hooked on it, I think the younger teenagers should wait a few years.

I also want to point out that while girls will probably appreciate this story, it seems more geared towards boys. There aren’t enough stories out there specifically for teenage guys, so if you’re a parent of boys, I’d check these out. And if you live in Wake County and use their library system, go ahead and get put on the reserve list for The Maze Runner, because it took me almost two months to get it! The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure were both ready within a week of my reservation.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Another Hump Day Blahg

It probably wasn't missed, but I didn't get a chance to write and post the Monday Blahg.  Sunday was insanely busy--church, immediately followed by work (drop-in childcare place was open on Mother's Day, and since my mom lives far away, I worked and allowed some of the other workers to be with their moms who live nearby), immediately followed by a 9 mile run.

And Monday turned out to be blaher than usual.   I was/still am kinda-sorta sick, but not really.  I never had a fever or anything to indicate being really sick--I just felt completely lethargic and had an upset tummy.  I went to bed SUPER early Monday night and felt much better Tuesday, but I'm still recovering.

So, I'm going to go ahead and cut this short because I need some rest (I'm writing this Tuesday night).  My half-marathon is this Saturday.  Lord willing, I'm flying out to Indiana on Thursday to see family and run the Geist Half Marathon.  I hope to be over whatever random kinda-sorta sickness I have so I can run my best.   Prayers for health/safety would be appreciated.  More than that, pray that I honor the Lord in the way I run and encourage other runners.

I'm still so amazed that He would enable me to run.  I still think of myself as an overweight pansy, but He's done a lot in my life to bring me to this point.  This race, it's not about how fast I can run or about how long I can go.  It's about the Lord being my hope and my strength.  I'm just so blessed that He would choose to use me. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fiction Friday: Book Review of SLIDE by Jill Hathaway

Sixteen-year-old Vee is narcoleptic. At least, that’s what her friends and family believe. What they don’t know is that when Vee loses consciousness, she leaves her own body and slides into other people, seeing the world through their perspectives. She doesn’t know why she has these bizarre episodes, nor is there anyone whom she can trust to talk about them—not even her best friend, Rollins, or her attractive new love interest, Zane. As if her life isn’t already complicated enough, Vee slides into a stranger, right after he or she has committed a murder. Everyone believes it was a suicide; only Vee knows the truth. But can she learn to use her “gift” to figure out who the killer is before more people die?

Slide is the debut novel by Jill Hathaway, and I enjoyed it. Hathaway took an intriguing paranormal idea and seamlessly wove it into the life of a somewhat troubled high school student. The book was written in the recently popular first person, present tense, so the reader sees what Vee is seeing as she is seeing it, which works well for this story. Hathaway’s writing style is fun and easy to read—I found myself eager to turn the pages even on my second read, when I already knew what was going to happen. She has a wonderful writing voice that makes one want to keep reading.

Slide is a little different from what I usually read. There is more foul language and crude behavior (from minor characters) than what I am used to. But I do remember going to public high school, and Hathaway’s portrayal of high school life is spot-on (she is also a high school teacher, so she would know). Vee is also a very different character than most of the characters to which I am personally drawn, but I liked being inside her head—which was even more interesting when she slid into other people. Hathaway did a wonderful job developing her character throughout the story.

I was a little dissatisfied in the way some of the plot progressed, mainly because I think that there was too much going on in the story. This is a minor issue I have with an otherwise well-written book. I’m hoping Slide will eventually have a sequel. At the very least, I hope to read more from Jill Hathaway in the future.

I recommend Slide to older teenagers and adults who can enjoy a fun paranormal YA mystery.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012




Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Blahg: The Life Coach

Some weeks, I just have to accept that I'm not going to be productive.  This was one of those weeks.  I worked about 50 hours--and my work schedule was all over the place.  I also ran 13.25 miles at one time (and also found time to work out two other days last week).  I kept up with my blogging, and somehow miraculously found the time to finish rereading the book I'd been wanting to review, as well as read another entirely different book.  I've at least made a good attempt at getting back into regularly praying and reading the Bible.  I'm still playing catch-up, and might be for a while, but I'm not stressing about it anymore.

Sometimes you just have to do what you have time to do, and not stress about it. 

I was feeling pretty lousy about my time-management and productivity last Monday.  I went into work (after oversleeping, being five minutes late, and just generally feeling like I seriously needed to get my act together) at the drop-in center.  Surprisingly, I had a really good/random attitude going on.  I started verbalizing my thoughts to the kids: "Hey kids, Miss Ruth needs help getting her life together.  I need a life coach.  Any takers?"  Since the majority of the kids were under the age of five, no one really had the slightest clue what I was talking about.  That's okay, because I'm pretty sure I didn't have a clue what I was talking about, either.

Since no one immediately volunteered, I turned to the youngest kid there, a 23 month old boy.  "Hey *insert child's name here*, would you like to be my life coach?"

He kind of babbled a little and squealed.  I took that as a "Yes."

So I shook the kid's hand and said, "Okay, Coach.  Tell me how to get my life together."

The kid laughed, ran away, climbed up the slide, and went into the play tunnel. 

I shrugged and climbed up the slide to join him.

Now, I've been working at that particular drop-in center for more than six years.  In those six years, I've probably only been inside that tunnel six times--like maybe once a year--and five of those times I only went in the tunnel because there was some screaming child who refused to get out of it and needed me to go in after him/her.  The tunnel is dark and scary, and although we sanitize it every night, my brain still tells me that is infested with "khe cooties."  But Coach showed me it was time to just forget the "kid cooties," drop my serious attitude, and go ahead and climb inside the tunnel.  So I did. 

Two years ago, I would have probably been too fat to be comfortable inside the tunnel.  But I'm sixty pounds lighter now than I was then, so the tunnel didn't seem as cramped as it did in years past.  And I followed Coach all the way through the play tunnel, laughing at the absurdity of it all, laughing because Coach taught me something important:

Don't worry.  Stop stressing.  Just go with it.  Laugh.  Have fun.  You can't control everything, so just do what you can and enjoy LIFE.

Then, after our romp through the play tunnel, Coach pointed the the floor. I interpreted this to mean that he wanted me to "drop and give him 20."  I dropped and gave him...4.  Well, it was more like 3 and a half.  He laughed at me.  23 months old and he was laughing at my feeble attempt to do push-ups.

And I didn't just make that last part up.  The other grown-up there saw the whole thing. 

...she laughed at me, too.

So, yeah.  This week?  Did I get all the grown up stuff done that I was supposed to get done?  No.  In fact, I consider it a huge accomplishment that I remembered to get new stickers and registration for my license plate this week.  That was my grown-up accomplishment for the week.  Getting my car legal.  The rest?  I worked a lot.  I ran a lot.  I tried to get to bed on time.  I tried to wake up and get to work on time.  And if I managed to get anything done between those things, then, well, that was pretty good for me.  Honestly, sometimes you just have to let things go and trust that God's going to provide.  It's all about balance.  Have I ever mentioned here that I'm not very good at that?

This next week shouldn't be quite so busy, while it's good not to worry, it's also good to be responsible. 

--I do hope to get this job application DONE this week.  That's my goal.  I need to set a deadline if it's going to happen.

--I want to actually look at some of my writing and at least make some plans for what I want to do with it--nothing major.  I just want to get some ideas flowing for when I have more time to devote to it.

--I want to run 10 miles in preparation for my half-marathon.  I now know I can do it because I did it.  I ran over the required 13.1 miles.  And astonishingly, I ran it in the time I hoped to run it.  The day of the race, I'm kind of hoping for a better time, but there are so many variables.  The climate will be a little different since it's in a different state--but I'm hoping it will be cooler since it's further north.  I'm running around a reservoir, so I'm hoping it won't be too humid.  I'm really hoping it doesn't rain, although that would be better than scorching heat/sunshine--which probably won't be the case since it starts at 7 in the morning.  Also, I'm not sure about the hills on the course--as much as I hate hills, my legs hate them even more.  People say that adrenaline will kick in the day of the race, so I should be able to run faster, but from my past experiences, that's probably not going to be the case.  Honestly, I will be happy if I finish under 3 hours, but I'm hoping for under 2:45.  Okay, so I'm hoping for under 2:40, but we'll see what happens.  Just the fact that I'm doing this is still pretty miraculous.  God has just amazed me in the past year--how He's changed my mind and body.  It's incredible.

--I want to reread a book for a review.  We'll see what happens.  I'm hoping to do a few book reviews in the next few weeks--these aren't for books that I've been asked to review.  I just like doing it--letting other readers know what's out there.  If you have friends that read a lot and are looking for new stuff to read, be sure to direct them to my blog. 

--I need to figure out my living situation.  Like, now.  I think I'm in denial that my roommate is moving, and that I will probably have to move, as well.  I don't like being a grown-up.  Sometimes, it's fun to crawl through tunnels and not have to worry about stuff, but I think that even Coach would agree that sometimes grown-ups have to be grown-ups. 

...he probably also agrees that it's pretty pathetic that I can only do 4 push-ups.

Okay, it was more like 3 and a half.

Happy Monday Funday!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fiction Friday: Book Review of THE UNRAVELING OF WENTWATER by C. S. Lakin

The Unraveling of Wentwater is the fourth book in The Gates of Heaven Series by C. S. Lakin. Unlike most other series, each book in this series has different characters and settings, and can be understood without reading the other books in the series.

The village of Wentwater is home to superstitious, simple people, while the nearby Heights is made up of intellectuals—people who pride themselves in their worldly wisdom. Teralyn, a young musician who has grown up in the Heights, finds romance in the village—but she also discovers that it was prophesied that she would cause the unraveling of Wentwater. Through the schemes of a wicked witch and the desperation of a bitter man whom Teralyn has scorned, Wentwater does indeed unravel—one word at a time. Teralyn must make a difficult choice and endure much hardship to save both the village and the Heights.

In The Unraveling of Wentwater, Lakin used elements from several fairy tales (“Sleeping Beauty,” “The Wild Swans,” etc.) to create a unique and imaginative story. Of the books I have read from The Gates of Heaven Series, this is my favorite so far. As a writer, I certainly can appreciate the way Lakin crafted words to form a story that emphasized the great importance of words and their meanings. She included several interesting plays on words that greatly added to the enjoyment of the story. Even after reading the book twice, I’m not sure that I caught all of the wordplays.

Lakin also employed Scripture and symbolism particularly well in this story. The climactic moment was exceptionally brilliant, revealing both the darker aspects of human nature, and our need for something greater than ourselves.

It was hard to immediately discern whether one of the important characters was a protagonist or an antagonist, which made for a difficult read, at first. One of the things I like about fairy tales is that it is almost always easy to see whether a character is virtuous or wicked. I’m not sure if Lakin intended the confusion, or not, but after completing the story, I could certainly see reasons for such ambiguity. But while I enjoyed several of the characters in this story, I don’t think that her character development was as good as it could have been. Some of the dialogue was cumbersome, and I had trouble understanding some of the character’s attitudes and actions.  As much as I enjoyed the story, I feel that just a little more attention the characters would have made it even more enjoyable.

But aside from that, I would definitely recommend The Unraveling of Wentwater for older children, teenagers, and adults. This is a highly imaginative and well-crafted story about the importance of words, the value of faith, and the truth that love conquers all.

I received this book for review as an Advanced Reader Copy from AMG Publishers. The Unraveling of Wentwater will be available for purchase in July of 2012.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Post I Didn't Want to Write

This is one of those posts that I'm afraid to write.  I know it's going to offend some people.  I don't like offending people.  But truth is often offensive.  So I have the choice to keep quiet and be safe, or I can write a blog--which isn't all that dangerous, but it probably won't allow me to be as safe and comfortable as I'd like to be.  I might lose friends over this.  I might make some people mad to the point that they don't want to associate with me.  The thing is, this is what I believe, and I have reasons why I believe it.  I'd rather stand up for truth and risk offending people than keep my beliefs a comfortable secret.  I'm not writing this out of hate.  I'm writing this as a loving warning--one that, realistically, I don't think will be heeded, but that doesn't excuse me from writing it.

I don't like politics, and while I try to vote during important elections, I really don't have much to do with political stuff.  But there's a lot of buzz right now about homosexuality and marriage, and I do have an opinion on this matter.  I believe God has defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

I don't hate gay people.  I actually have dear friends who are practicing homosexuals.  I love them, but I don't agree with their lifestyles.  They know this.  They also know that I love them.  I don't consistently remind them that I don't agree with homosexuality, lording my beliefs over them.  I don't go around thinking about them or referring to them as my "gay friends."  They're just my friends.  I don't like being lumped in with the so-called Christians who are hateful towards gay people.  I'm not intolerant.  I think some people need to find a dictionary and realize that tolerance does not mean that I have to agree with everything that everyone does. 

I have reasons for disagreeing with homosexuality.  They are Biblical reasons, but they might not be what one might think.  I really don't like it when people claim to believe the Bible, yet say homosexuality is okay with God.  These are usually the people who say something about how all the commandments against homosexuality are found in the Old Testament, located near passages that are also out-dated and that can no longer be applied to today's society.  I really do get where they're coming from.  Some commandments seem a little silly.  I don't think that everyone who claims to believe in God should be careful to have tassels on their cloaks or whatever.  It's obvious that certain things in Scripture were relative to cultural/social contexts--but the principle behind all these things can be applied to today.  The tassels, the seemingly harsh punishments for disobedience, all of these things were included in the Bible for a reason.  God is holy, and as God's people, Israel needed to show themselves holy--set apart from the other nations.  Sometimes God's commandments didn't make sense, but they were to be obeyed simply because He is God and worthy of obedience.

Aside from that, homosexuality was also addressed in a negative light in the New Testament.  It wasn't just something that was forbidden before the "New Law."  But I don't want to talk about all the things that were forbidden as much as I want to talk about the things that are permitted.

When God created the world, He made creations that reproduced creations of their own kind.  The plants produced seeds that made other plants that were like the plants that first produced the seeds.  Apples produced seeds made apple trees.  An apple never produced a seed for a cucumber.  It wasn't designed to do that.  Lions didn't lay chicken eggs; they mated with other lions and produced lion cubs.  There is an order to that, and there was an order to the creation of man. 

I really do get annoyed by the phrase, "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," but there is a lot of truth to it.  When God created man, there was no suitable mate for him until God created woman.  God designed man (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) to be complemented by woman (and vise versa).  And one of God's clearest commandments to Adam and Eve was that they multiply, reproducing more creatures like themselves--creatures who were made in God's image.  I'm not saying that the only purpose of sex is reproduction, and I'm not saying that I think every single human being has to reproduce in order to follow God's commands (if so, then I'd be in trouble), but I do believe God had a specific design for families.  This design can be seen from creation, and it runs throughout Scripture.

I might not believe what I believe so strongly if I could find just one example in Scripture where a homosexual relationship glorified God.  I can't find that.  The overwhelming majoirty of the God-honoring marriages in Scripture are between just one man and just one woman (there are many examples of marriages between one man and several women, but most of these situations were less than ideal and often led to problems).  I'm not as interested in all the different Scripture references that forbid homosexuality as I am the passages that feature God-honoring marital relationships.  God's Law does have many "do nots," and these are for our benefit.  The fact that God would show us what He expects from us is evidence of his grace, not His wrath.  But there are also a lot of things that are permitted within God's Law.  Sex is to be enjoyed within the bonds of marriage, and God has defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.  I believe that marriage by His definition is the only marriage that can glorify Him (not all heterosexual marriages glorify God, and many don't--please don't misunderstand what I'm saying.  I just don't believe a homosexual "marriage" can glorify God because it is against God's design.  God did not create men to have that kind of relationship with other men; God did not create women to have that kind of relationship with other women).

And (this is where I'm really going to lose some people) while I don't believe there's only one thing a family is supposed to look like, I would venture to say that God's design for families does not involve "two dads" or "two moms."  In the ideal family situation, kids have one mom and one dad.  There might be other family members--like grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, etc.--thrown into the mix, but in my studies in both Christianity and psychology, I have seen a lot of evidence that shows children greatly benefit from having both a dad and a mom--a male and female parent.  I am not speaking out against single parents at all--I'm a big fan of single parents, many of whom are doing the best they can at raising their kids by themselves (or with the help of family/friends)--and doing a phenomenal job of it, too!  The thing is, most of them did not have much of a choice about being a single parent, and most of them would probably love having a spouse around to help them out and to provide love for their kids.  I just cannot agree with two homosexual individuals bringing children into their families through adoption, surrogate, etc.  This is probably going to sound incredibly prejudiced of me, but seriously.  There's a reason that two men can't naturally produce a child.  There's a reason that two women can't naturally produce a child.  God did not design families that way.  He designed children to have both a mom and a dad.  There are situations where this isn't possible due to divorce, death, etc., and I salute those single parents who make it work.  But I cannot agree with the idea of homosexual couples "having" and raising kids together as if this was their God-given right.

I'm not trying to be hateful.   I don't hate gay people.  I disagree with their lifestyle, but acknowledge that it's their choice and not mine.  And I do believe that lifestyle is a choice.  I honestly cannot understand the "born this way" argument because I was not "born that way."  I am not gay.  I can't understand how someone can be attracted to someone of the same gender because I'm not attracted to other women.  But here is what I think about this.  I was born under the curse of sin. I was born with all sorts of "natural" inclinations.  I was born with the desire to claim glory for myself, with the desire to lie, with the desire to cheat, with the desire to want and take what doesn't belong to me, with the desire to tear others down, with the desire to hurt people who hurt me, with the desire to make myself happy no matter who it hurt.  If anyone doesn't think they were born with those inclinations, then he or she should go spend a day in a preschool classroom.  We were all born with the desire to have our own way.  And honestly, I still want my own way.   I still want to get back at people who have wronged me. I still covet things that aren't mine to have. I still sometimes hide behind lies. These are things that are natural to me, and I have to struggle--sometimes daily--and with God's help--to overcome them.  I don't know if homosexuals are all "born that way" or not, but here's my thought. It's not sinful to have homosexual desires. It's sinful to practice homosexuality. And even if homosexual desires are a natural thing, that doesn't make it right when someone chooses to act on them. I'd say the same thing about a man and a woman in a sinful sexual relationship. Just because we have the natural inclination to do something, that doesn't make it right. That doesn't make it okay with God.

So, does that mean I think that homosexual individuals should remain single?  I guess it does.  I don't really see this as an unfair expectation, since I'm a single lady in my 30s.  I'd like to get married and have kids, but I'm perfectly able to live a joyful, wonderful life without sex and without being in a marital relationship.  I'm able to accept that I can't always have what I want (or think I want) because I accept that life is about glorifying God and not myself.  I do struggle with this sometimes, but God gives all the grace I need.  There is great joy in surrendering to His will.  People miss out on that when they live their lives to please themselves.

Now, an important vote is coming up in North Carolina involving the definition of marriage.  As I've previously stated here, and as one of the ministers at my church stated the other day, "God has already defined marriage."  I don't believe the results of a vote are going to change God's definition.  I am, however, going to vote because I agree with God and with His definition of marriage being only between a man and a woman.  I'm not attacking homosexuals or trying to take away their "rights."  I'm standing in agreement with God's Word.  I'm sorry if I offend anyone with that, but I can't just pretend I think something is okay if it's not okay with God.

Maybe it's the realist in me, but part of me really doesn't believe the results of this vote (and similar votes in other states) are going to make me happy.  I have a feeling that God might just give people what they want.  People seem to want to live their lives without regarding any of His regulations, and my fear is that He's just going to give them that.  People are going to do what they want whether or not it's good for them.  Like a child who insists on disobeying a parent, even when the parent has issued a rule to protect the child from a danger the child cannot see, many people think they know better than God does.  And something like homosexuality might not seem to be hurting anyone, but I truly fear for society.  God designed marriage and family the way He did for a reason, and I fear there will be natural consequences for going our way instead of His.  I fear for our children.  I fear for our future.  I fear for the legacy that we're leaving to the generations to come. 

And so my fervent prayer is that God doesn't give America what it wants.  America seems to want God to butt out of our lives and let us live however we want to, whether or not such a life is good for us.  We certainly deserve that.  We certainly deserve to have God remove Himself from our lives so that we can do whatever we want and discover how hopeless such a life really is.  But I pray the Lord will be merciful and save us from ourselves.