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Oh, the absurdity of it all.

April 16, 2018

So, today’s post isn’t going to contain deep thoughts or exciting revelations. No, today’s post is going to be a bit of a rant. On the absurdity of…required warning labels. Meant only for our good, I’m sure.

ab·surd·i·ty

əbˈsərdədē, əbˈzərdədē/

the quality or state of being ridiculous or wildly unreasonable

The Rant

We seem to live in a world where we are never held accountable for our decisions. There’s always someone else to blame. And often, a monetary settlement can be yours if you can hire someone to successfully argue your point in a court of law…the point that you’re not to be held responsible because after all “it’s not your fault.”

I assume that’s why the government has stepped in and required warning labels on many products we purchase and use. And just this past week, I came across one that to me fits the very definition of absurdity because it’s absolutely ridiculous and wildly unreasonable. Oh, and possibly totally unnecessary.

Get Ready to Laugh…Or Shake Your Head

Cigarettes for example. Everyone knows they are bad for you. But manufacturers MUST put the warning on the label in case you are the only one in America who hasn’t heard just how bad they are indeed. In fact, there are four different labels that must be rotated quarterly. I suppose that’s in case a particular label can’t be understood by you, and you choose to smoke anyway. To me, it’s pretty clear.

 

I came up with another one recently. As part of a gift from a neighbor, Greg received a big bag of peanuts. As I ate them, I began looking at the verbiage on the back of the bag and was floored that on a bag of peanuts, a warning label was still included to let the user know that this bag of peanuts was actually manufactured in a facility containing equipment that processes peanuts. What? You mean to tell me my peanuts were processed in a peanut processing plant? That’s awful.

I totally understand the danger of peanut allergies and why warning labels are so important to be sure the end-user is made aware of this important info. But I’m thinking a person with a peanut allergy shouldn’t be eating peanuts in general, and, therefore, doesn’t need a warning label that these peanuts were processed in a plant where peanuts are found.

Forbes published AN ARTICLE in February 2011 that drew attention to 24 of the dumbest of the dumb. Feel free to use the link to see them all, but meanwhile, here are a few of my favorites:

  • Nytol Sleep Pills: May cause drowsiness.
  • Vidal Sassoon hair dryer: Do not use while sleeping. (Thanks for letting me know.)
  • A package of eggs: This product may contain eggs. (Really?)
  • Staples’ letter opener: Safety goggles recommended.
  • Huebsch Washing Machine: Do not put any person in this washer.
  • Midol Menstrual Complete Capsules: Ask a doctor before use if you have difficulty urinating due to an enlarged prostate. (Oh, I’ll let my husband know right away.)

We raise our kids to think for themselves and make informed decisions. And the public-school system also strives to do the same thing. But the government must think they’re doing a poor job of educating us if we need to resort to using absurd warning labels such as peanuts being processed in a facility that…processes peanuts. (scratching my head)

As promised, nothing deep today. Just some examples of absurdity. Have you come across your own examples? Please share them below…we could all use a laugh or two.

Mimi

 

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Time to stop and smell the roses.

April 2, 2018

Birthdays galore.

In our family, we experience many birthdays close to each other: Christmas time…Greg and me. Late Jan-early Feb: son and son-in-law, March: daughter, sister-in-law, Mom, daughter-in-law, brother followed by early April: grandson Callan and sister-in-law.

Whew! If you’re not careful, you’ll completely miss one in the busyness of life.

Life can get crazy busy.

In order to NOT miss a birthday or appointment or something on my to-do list, I rely heavily on all my calendars being in sync. This means my Outlook calendar must match my phone’s calendar because I’ll be printing it and placing it on the refrigerator. And if that paper calendar doesn’t match with my phone, something is sure to get missed.

First thing every morning, Greg gets up and looks at the paper calendar. I, on the other hand, rely mostly on the iPhone calendar and its reminder system, counting on a ding to alert me each time I need to do something. To be sure it all gets done, I also keep a handwritten list on my kitchen counter that glares at me until the last item is checked off and the list can be crumpled and thrown away.

Take time to smell the roses.

We all understand the meaning of the expression and encouragement to take time to smell the roses. But many times, we do the exact opposite. I certainly do. I can get completely caught up in the to-do list and can miss the small moments, the wonderful moments that surround us all the time…the smell-the-roses moments presented throughout our days.

In being sure I buy cards, find the perfect gift, arrange a visit to the birthday person, prepare a special cake, etc., I can lose the joy of the occasion which is to honor and celebrate someone I care for deeply.

In fact, we can do that with anything: holidays meant for family and fun can become a chore because of the enormous amount of preparation needed to ensure a perfect event; having friends or family visit in your home can lose it’s joy when you pressure yourself to have it spotlessly clean; vacations filled with wonder and discovery can get bogged down by endless research to be sure you visit all the best places.

What to do?

S-l-o-w  d-o-w-n. That’s it. Or at least, it’s part of it. And it’s so very hard to do. While on our hamster wheels of life, we need to slow down to appreciate people important to us, to enjoy the things and people God has placed in our lives and in our care, to marvel at His amazing creation.

Remember…happiness is often found in the little things, in the everyday things, in the ordinary things of life.

The older I get, the more I’m aware of not wanting to lose the moment. To-do lists are a part of my nature and being organized enables me to function better. But I’m more determined than ever to slow down and finally start smelling those beautiful roses God has grown all around me.

Mimi

Looking good.

It’s not just anyone I’m willing to share this picture with. This is my look when I hop out of bed in the morning. It truly is a face only a mother could love! (And my hubby of 43 years, too.)

Of course, it’s a face my Lord loves, too. And for that I’m very thankful.

Always look your best.

Growing up, the importance of always looking your best was often emphasized. Then there was every mother’s advice to always wear clean underwear. (I don’t think I ever understood that one.)

And years ago, there was also quite an emphasis on looking your best for God which I think meant you should dress in your best clothes to go to church. And that one always made me wonder…why?

Look out, Mimi’s on her high horse with her opinion.

Now I don’t always look as unkempt in the above picture but if my husband or mother can love me looking like that, I certainly think God can, too. Dressing up, wearing gloves or a hat, putting on a suit and wearing shined-up shoes is all about the outer person. It says nothing of who that person really is.

How often have we seen people looking their best in church and drawn assumptions that they had it all together, were good to their families, etc. And on the other hand, how often have we jumped to negative conclusions about the life of a person in shabby or wrinkled clothes?

Years ago, before casual church services became popular, my mother-in-law was so full of joy to learn about a blue jeans church where everyone came dressed in jeans. She remarked that if she went there she would wear them, too. I agreed with her and at that time sure wished we had one of those blue jean churches near us.

Come as you are.

But that’s much more the norm now. Ever since moving to Florida we’ve found most churches are on the casual side. Come as you are seems to be the theme. And we fit right in. Jeans, shorts, comfy clothes, or even dressed up, the emphasis now seems to be on getting people to church and allowing God to do the cleaning up, rather than putting a requirement on people to look their best and be cleaned up before they can be acceptable to God.

Whether or not the church service is contemporary, traditional, or even very liturgical, opening the doors wide without regard to appearance is welcoming. And I think it’s a good change we’ve seen over the last 20 years. How much better to have churches full of people regardless of their appearance or circumstances, rather than to possibly create atmospheres of judgment and exclusions.

Just as I am

One of the verses in Charlotte Elliott’s beautiful hymn “Just as I am, Without One Please” really sums this up beautifully:

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;

Because They promise I believe,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

 

Life can be so puzzling.

Greg and I are working on a particularly challenging puzzle (thanks Auleen and Ward!). Because it’s not rectangular, the edge took much longer than usual to put together. Days and days in fact. Even at that, we were still missing some pieces so began working the puzzle in other areas, knowing that at some point those missing pieces would show up. And they did…about five days later!

You need to work the puzzle.

Puzzles come packed in a box. The pieces are mostly mixed up. When you empty the box onto the table it looks like a mess. Before you can begin, you need to turn over each piece. Then comes the separation into edge pieces, corners, and the remaining 940 pieces.

Work typically begins on the edge, then on particular areas that are easily identified. People have different methods for assembling the 1000 pieces but no matter how that is accomplished, it’s often quite awhile before what you’re working on begins to resemble the picture on the box.

There are often pieces all over the place, some are stuck together in the wrong way, sometimes you look and look but can’t find a particular piece. In fact, it can be quite “puzzling.”

Our lives often resemble puzzles.

Our lives often look like that as well. God has an absolutely beautiful picture in His mind of what we will look like. And He has provided every single thing we will need to be transformed into that image, or should I say His image.

At times we feel like we are missing pieces as confusion about decisions set in. We may feel upside down in distressing situations because we seem to not be able to make sense of what’s happening. Maybe some parts of our lives are indeed in good shape, fitting together, and looking good to us and others, while other parts continue to remain mixed-up.

Not every puzzle goes together quickly or easily. Many require hard work and a real commitment of time and perseverance. When life feels like a crazy, mixed-up, difficult puzzle, that’s the time to press in and lean on God. It’s the time to seek Him for direction. And it’s the time to trust and rest in Him.

In John 13:7, during what we call the last supper, Jesus remarked to his disciples, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” His disciples couldn’t understand why Jesus was washing their feet. And they certainly couldn’t understand the cruel death soon to follow. They would need to completely trust in the One who was about to give His life for them.

Similarly, we don’t always understand life’s circumstances. Instead, like the disciples, we choose to trust in the One who gives us this life and promises it will be more abundant than we can ever imagine (John 10:10).

The amazing end result.

No, we may not have a puzzle box lid showing the gorgeous picture of what God is doing in our lives, but we can be assured that God knows exactly what He’s doing. And the end result is going to be amazing!

Mimi

Oh, the stink!

While opening the pantry the other day, I bent over to look on the bottom shelf when wham! I was hit with a stink so bad it nearly brought tears to my eyes.

I knew that smell. No identification needed other than the familiar and very nasty odor. A rotten potato (or two).

Easy enough to deal with, too. I pulled out my basket of potatoes and tossed them in the sink. If you look at the top picture quickly it might appear as if all is well. But zoom in (see the second pic) and you’ll see one tiny one-inch potato looking kind of smushed. Yup, that was the one. That very small tater caused so much stink in my pantry, I had to air out the closet and wash off the rest of the potatoes just to remove it. (And, of course, I tossed out the offending one in the process!)

Being Just a Little “Off”

It’s such a clear illustration of how just getting a little “off” in our Christian walk can affect absolutely everything. Allowing in just a little of the world or allowing just a little sin taints our thoughts and actions. It may be barely noticeable at first, like the smashed potato. But as we continue to allow what shouldn’t be there to remain and fester and decompose, soon enough the stink of what we’ve allowed becomes noticeable. And then before we know it, wham! It takes over and covers up all the good to the point that all we or others are aware of is that which stinketh (my own King James emphasis).

The potato stink didn’t appear overnight. It kind of snuck up. Same with sin. It often makes a subtle entrance, weaving its way right into our lives. Sometimes we are unaware and because so, we do nothing about it.

Sometimes we are quite aware that we should be standing clear, yet because we don’t feel God’s judgment at the moment or the Holy Spirit’s conviction, we can end up thinking it’s no big deal so we do nothing. Until the stench becomes so bad that it forces an action on our part.

I believe at other times we begin to be aware of the smell but aren’t ready or willing to turn away. We try to cover it up, make it look pretty, pretend it’s not as bad as it seems. With sin, we may end up ignoring the Holy Spirit trying to get us to turn away from the sin and instead of running from it, we end up embracing it, incorporating it into our lives. At times, even defending it and making excuses for its presence or why we accept it.

The deep sorrow here is that our hearts can then become hardened. We may stubbornly refuse to deal with the sin. We may become so dependent on it we start believing the enemy’s lies that it needs to remain. Or we believe the lies that say there’s no way to overcome, forgetting that while we may be unable, there is One who is more than able.

None of us intentionally wants to keep the stink. We know it keeps us separated from our heavenly Father. We know it’s wrong. And we know it’s detrimental for our Christian walk.

So dear friends, while we know there’s always hope and help in overcoming sin, perhaps the best response is to never allow sin to take root in our lives. Ask daily for the Holy Spirit to help us be aware and watchful. Repent sincerely when sin is pointed out. Humbly present ourselves before our Lord, asking Him to reveal any wicked way so it can be quickly addressed.

What to do?

  1. Recognize or acknowledge the sin. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
  2. Repent of the sin. This means to turn away from it, leave it behind, have nothing to do with it.  “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
  3. Receive God’s forgiveness. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
  4. Remember that in this world, trouble is here to stay. But we are in relationship with the One who has overcome and his power is available for us as well. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  5. Rejoice in God that He has provided a way past the sin. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Mimi

Life sure is messy.

Do you ever think to yourself, “Boy, my life is a mess?”

I sure do. And just like the above picture of my messy computer wires, right now, I’m really feeling it. While my own life is relatively smooth (for the moment), I have countless friends whose lives seem to be falling apart: sickness, legal trouble, family issues, broken relationships. You name it, and I seem to know someone who is experiencing it big time.

As a friend, as I’ve stated before, I always vote for the trouble to disappear. But as a true friend, I pray for others and try to help in any way I can. However most times, there’s no fancy dessert, offer to clean a house, or even a monetary gift that will bring about the desired change or answer to prayer.

So, while I consistently pray for my family and friends, I also actively have to trust that God is in complete control and knows what He’s doing. He loves them more than I do and is always after our hearts and the big picture. So thankfully He is completely trustworthy, even when things seem dark.

Whether your life is a mess right now or you know someone else who is experiencing tragedy, don’t give up the fight. Find ways to serve them but your prayers are mighty and so very important. Often the one in the middle of the fight is so overwhelmed they can’t pray as they should; but that’s where you come in. You can.

So, stand firm on their behalf, and pray, pray, pray.

Trust in the Lord forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. (Isaish 26:4)

Mimi

I’ve been adopted; and it feels so good!

Hubby and I have recently been “adopted” into a nearby neighborhood group of people who live on the same street. Most moved in around the same time and didn’t know anyone else so one person started things off by inviting everyone on the street to come to her house for a Saturday morning get-together. Simple and easy.

From there, the group has morphed into a monthly get-together with a published schedule for the year so everyone knows in advance whose house and what type of event. If there’s a holiday, the event will most likely center on that such as Valentine’s Day for February, and an Independence Day celebration in July. And each family takes turns hosting so no one family feels overburdened.

Despite only knowing a few of the ladies and Greg knowing even fewer people, this group welcomed us with open arms. They saw us as invited guests rather than moochers who were there for the great food.

Ever since this group started, I’ve thought how easy it is to do this. A general invitation via phone or handout distributed to the folks on your street along with a simple first meet-up such as coffee and donuts or dessert. And voila! A new social group is formed.

And you know something? I’m now greatly encouraged to do for the neighbors on our own street. Soon they will each be receiving their invitations to much more than food and a good time. They will be receiving invitations that will hopefully lead to personal connection with others.

As adoptees, Greg and I are now quite welcomed at any of their events. We get to bring food and eat the food others bring. We get to enjoy the social interaction. Though we live in a completely different neighborhood, we are treated as if we live on their street.

Our adoption into the family of God is similar. He extends an invitation for us to join His family and once we do, we are in. Completely. We have the full set of privileges others enjoy and that are outlined in His word. We have full access to the host (God Himself). And we get to enjoy wonderful fellowship with the other guests (the family of God).

The cost to join the neighborhood group is living on the street. Similarly, there is a cost to joining God’s family. We must repent of our sins and we must accept the redemptive work God’s son Jesus did on the cross to forgive those sins.

Once we do, we become adopted into God’s forever family and enjoy the ultimate: fellowship with Him.

If you haven’t yet made that decision, won’t you consider making it today? And if you want to chat with me about it, you can email me through my contact page HERE.

If you have already been adopted into the body of Christ, please join me today in taking an extra minute to thank Him for that amazing opportunity given to us. And rejoice in being able to know Him personally.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.

This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5 NLT)

 

Mimi