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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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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!

 

My Christmas gift to you…a bit of laughter

I suppose I should write a heartwarming story about the birth of our wonderful Savior, express thanksgiving for His coming into the world and into my life, or share a family story with you. But no. I’m going a different route.

This year I’m giving you the gift of laughter by sharing with you some recent events.

A little background before I tell you what happened. It concerns technology, something I’m fairly good at. Oh, I have my limits, but I love using an I-pad and touch technology; I can touch and swipe with the best of them.

Fast forward to last week. It was a baking day and while a delicious sour cream coffee cake (a family favorite) was in the oven, I put my feet up and began reading a print catalog. Fairly soon I saw an item that interested me, and deciding I wanted to know a bit more and to see the photo a bit larger, I simply touched the picture so it would load additional info with a larger picture.

Nothing happened. So, I touched it a few more times until I realized DUH! It’s not going to load anything else. It can’t load. It’s not digital…it’s print!

I kid you not. I’m so used to reading on my I-pad that without thinking about it I treated a printed advertisement as if it was digital and then couldn’t understand why my finger taps weren’t doing anything. Let the laughter begin!

But the story isn’t quite finished. I had no sooner stopped shaking my head at myself over trying to touch printed material to “load” it, when I walked back to the kitchen and noticed something. A softened stick of butter was sitting on the counter. (In hindsight, I believe it was actually mocking me.)

Why was it mocking me? Well, this wonderful family coffee cake recipe is delicious because of the butter…TWO STICKS OF BUTTER. And I had only used one. After it finished baking, I sampled it and while it tasted good, the texture was off and it was definitely missing the decadent buttery yumminess. Needless to say, I ended up baking another one.

Both incidents really made me laugh. And during a time when we can get stressed and overwhelmed, I realized maybe you could use a giggle, too. But most importantly, I believe they happened because I have a dear, dear friend who needed to laugh. So, with great joy, I called her and told her my story. And laugh she did. And it was music to my ears.

My gift to you this year was the laughter that came with some funny stories. I know you have gifts to give as well…gifts you can share with others. Some of you can bake a great cake (that actually includes all the butter!). So, bake and share that cake with some neighbors.

Some are great with words, so share those words with others. Write a note or pick up the cell phone and make a call.

Others do crafting or crocheting or knitting. I bet the hospital NICU could use some knitted baby caps for preemies or the grumpy neighbor could use a homemade anything to bring cheer.

Still others can run an errand for someone, buy a gift card, say a prayer.

Gift giving began with our Lord. He gave us Jesus…the very best gift of all. He set a beautiful example that we can all use to help us carry on the tradition in 2018.

Merry Christmas to all.

Mimi

Dress A Girl Around the World

I’m very excited this week to talk about a wonderful organization. There is much to tell so the post is about twice as long as usual. My hope is that by the time you finish reading, you’ll start thinking about getting involved yourself.

When I moved to a new community last September I came across a wonderful group of ladies who make dresses for little girls around the world. Through donations of material, time, and money, these ladies sew and send out brand new children’s dresses because “We dream of a world in which every girl has at least one new dress. We want girls to know that they are worthy of respect and that they are loved by God.” (http://www.dressagirlaroundtheworld.com/)

Dress A Girl Around the World was established as a non-denominational organization in 2009 with a goal to bring dignity to women around the world. Since its start, Dress A Girl has delivered well over 300,000 dresses to 81 countries.

The Heritage Hills (Clermont, FL) group is a subgroup of Dressed in Hope located in Lake Nona (Orlando), Florida. It started organizing in 2015 under the direction of Linda Smith who wanted to “pay it forward” and she did! It is currently 60 members strong.

Some  make the dresses. Some make the little dolls that are tucked inside each dress pocket. There is even a fellow sewer from southern Florida that brings her dresses to Linda to be included in the shipments.

The ladies sew in their own homes but they come together to share their experiences. Through laughter and stories, every sweet dress is displayed and talked about. This show and tell time provides inspiration to continue on with this project.

Each dress is based on a pattern provided but the similarity ends there. With different fabrics, patterns, pocket placement, dolls, and embellishments, every little girl has their own unique creation. Dress a Girl Around the World believes every girl deserves a new dress so please visit their website (CLICK HERE) to see more photos of some very happy girls from around the world proudly wearing what may be their first new dress ever!

Twice a year a Bag N Tag event is organized to prepare the dresses for shipment. The usual tally from Dressed in Hope is around 200 dresses, made possible by the generous Heritage Hills community through donations of cash, fabric, and sewing notions. These donations keep Dressed in Hope going and as Dee states “We cannot thank everyone enough for thinking of us in this way.”

How Dress a Girl Around the World makes a difference (from their website):

By providing a new dress you may well be changing a young girl’s destiny.  We all know that a new dress makes us feel good, so imagine never having had one! A new dress tells each precious girl that God loves them, that someone else loves them enough to have made this dress especially for them. That makes a difference in how she feels about herself and can definitely change her destiny.

In addition, village pastors tell us that a girl wearing new dress presents an appearance that she is well cared for and may discourage would-be predators. Since we attach our Dress a Girl label on the outside of each dress, it sends an additional message that each girl is under the care of an organization, giving her added protection from those who would harm her, predators or traffickers.

The Invitation

You, too, can make a difference and are invited to get involved in any way you can.

Local people should contact Linda Smith at 407.656.0266 or Dee Kafka at 407.347.5085 for more info. And those from other areas can simply visit their website (CLICK HERE) for more info and to find out if there’s a local chapter in your area.

It’s been my pleasure to talk about this wonderful organization this week.

Like me, you may not be able to sew but perhaps you have materials or notions in a drawer, maybe you want to shop for some for someone else to sew, maybe you want to work at a bag and tag event, or maybe you want to donate money. All donations would be appreciated by a local Dress A Girl chapter or if none in your area there are ways to donate through their website.

Another great way to be involved is simply to share this on social media. I just bet there are others out there like myself who will want to become involved after learning about Dress A Girl and with your help we can spread the word.

A big shout-out to Deanna Kafka, one of the many Heritage Hills ladies who sews, for providing much of the info contained in this week’s post.

Mimi

A moment at the beach.

BeachWe’re enjoying a little visit at the beach where my parents live. Their tiny town abuts the Atlantic Ocean and they have been blessed with a waterfront home. Their 12th story view is just amazing.

As often happens, we visit the pool, but don’t always make it to the beach. I decided to end that abysmal track record so yesterday ventured out for a brief walk.

In the middle of the summer walking on the sand without enduring first degree burns is impossible but at this time of year it’s just perfect. The sand retains just the right amount of the sun’s warmth so walking down to the water’s edge can be slow and thoroughly enjoyed.

Yesterday’s water temp was a beautiful 83 degrees so I walked in the salty loveliness and let my mind wander. I realized very quickly how loud the breaking waves were…they created a din like a deafening roar. The sound blocked out everything else and as I watched people play in the surf I realized I couldn’t hear a thing other than that roar. The conversations and shouts of glee were blocked out, the seagulls’ squawks were muted, and I found myself in my own little world. And instead of being disconcerting, it was instead rather pleasant.

And the light bulb went off as I realized this may be one of many reasons why some people I know absolutely love going to the beach and plan their weekends and vacations around it. I’ve kind of taken it for granted since I can go anytime I want simply by visiting my folks, but in that moment yesterday when the entire world faded away as the ocean roar took over I discovered how beautiful and calming being near the ocean can be.

Mimi

Boys will be boys.

Callan Zero

Callan BeetleLooks like I’ve got an all-boy grandson. Four-year-old Callan is all about new challenges and apparently won’t let things like icky bugs or reptiles stand in his way.

Those pictures show him holding his brother’s pet gecko Zero and playing with a large, strange beetle he picked up from the ground recently. Me? I’ll hold the lizard, but will say “no thank you” to the bug!

The advice to my daughter at this point? Always empty his pockets before doing laundry. If the kid is willing to pick up a big beetle, chances are those pockets will hold a host of other things occasionally, many of which SHOULD NOT go through the washing machine!

Do you ever wonder why God created some of the things he did? I’m sure they serve a purpose of some kind but when a cockroach scurries across my path (or my half-eaten pizza as happened at my house last week) I have a hard time figuring out the “why” behind the creation.

Thankfully, I know for certain God had a plan in mind when He created me. I’m here for a purpose and it’s a good one, too. After all, Jeremiah 29:11 states it quite clearly:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Knowing God has a purpose and plan for my life encourages me to seek Him more because I certainly want them fulfilled according to His desires.

My friend, read that verse again because it applies to you, too. He’s got a brilliant plan for your life as well.

Mimi

Look out…grandma on a scooter!

ArmSo…a funny thing happened to me a few weeks ago.

I broke my arm. Or as Callan would say “Mimi bloke her arm.”

How? you might ask. Well, ah hem, I fell off Konnor’s scooter. Ooh, did I really say that out loud? Yup, I did.

I was having a grand old time and realizing just how much fun it is to fly down a sidewalk on a thin piece of metal attached to two tiny, hard wheels. Did I mention two tiny and hard wheels? Nearing home and keeping my eyes forward, I saw a raised hunk of sidewalk. In a moment I thought to myself: It might not be a good idea to go over that…but hey, kids do it all the time.

Next thing I knew wham! Those tiny, hard wheels hit the raised sidewalk, the scooter stopped in its tracks, and this Mimi went flying over the handlebars. And when I hit the pavement, I knew it wasn’t good.

Shocked and embarrassed I was actually happy no one was outside to witness my scooter defeat. I simply picked up the scooter with my right hand, held my hurting left arm close to my body, and limped home, muttering “This isn’t good, this isn’t good.”

Konnor was great. I told him I thought I had broken my arm and he got me an ice pack along with a towel to wrap it in. Then he and Callan played quietly for the hour until Mommy came home. Kate took one look, said something very medical like “eee-ooo” which to me meant something’s definitely wrong, you need to go to the ER.

Lesson  1: Be choosy where you go for treatment. I’m not kidding. It was afternoon drive time so I purposely did not choose the stand-alone ER on the major road thinking others would stop in on their way home from work. And I also didn’t choose the large complex that many use as their primary care practitioners. Instead I opted for a small hospital where I thought I stood half a chance of NOT being there until the wee hours of the morning. And it turned out to be a very good choice. I was in and out in less than two hours. Not bad at all.

Lesson 2: Never ride a scooter when you are a relatively inactive 61-year-old. ‘nuf said!

Lesson 3: Trust your instincts. I knew my arm was broken; it hurt like crazy, was swollen grotesquely, and I couldn’t straighten or rotate it. The x-rays showed no breaks according to the ER doc. But after examining me the doc took a second look at them and pronounced a break after all. Splinted me up and told me to follow-up with their recommend ortho in 3-5 days. The next day when I called that ortho to make the appointment, the office informed me the x-rays had been reviewed overnight and the opinion changed to no break, follow-up with ortho in 14 days. What? I’m in pain. I’m nervous, and I’m also about to go on a three-week car trip. I’ll be in Ohio in 14 days—who’s gonna see me there?

After stewing about this over the weekend I called my own ortho on Monday, got an appointment on Tuesday, brought the x-rays with me and a break was definitely confirmed. But the good news was the ortho showed me how to remove the splint (I didn’t know I could), told me to exercise the arm, and take Ibuprofen for the swelling. None of that info came during the call I made to the ER ortho.

Trusting my own instincts and going to see my own ortho resulted in me being a much happier camper. Exercising the arm and taking Ibuprofen has reduced swelling and allowed me to perform some tasks carefully. And taking a shower without a garbage bag wrapped around the arm is so much nicer!

But it will take weeks to heal. And the pain I continue to have is a constant reminder that while I want to be a fun, hip Mimi, it’s important that I also use common sense. I had two opportunities to avoid what happened: (1) I should never have been on the scooter in the first place, and (2) when I noticed the raised sidewalk I should have stopped immediately and not decide to chance it.

The final lesson: I can still be a fun grandma in a million ways that don’t involve scooters such as baking with the grands, or doing crafts, taking walks, or even riding bikes.

Mimi