Her God

 

 

 

Now that she is almost through with Kindergarten, my daughter knows just about everything. Like most know-it-alls, she has no problem informing others of this fact or educating others about the things that they do not know. She still talks non stop, but there are much less questions than there used to be, instead opening discussions with “did you know?” followed by what feels like a several hour lecture on whatever topic she feels inclined to elucidate on.

Most of the time I enjoy these dissertations, if not the assumption that she knows more than me. They are proof not only that she is paying attention in school, but also that she is still excited about learning new things and is proud of that knowledge.

Other times I have no idea what she is rambling on about and am amazed by the absolute sincerity she projects while stating complete nonsense as indisputable fact. I’m often left wondering where she may have picked up such ideas or if she is just so enamored with the sound of her own voice that she’s content to simply make things up. The degree to which I pay attention can vary, but I was all ears this morning when she sat me down and informed me that “it was time for her to tell me about God.”

Some of her story I had heard before, death being a topic that we’ve discussed before though I’m not sure that she fully understands it, not sure that I want her to. During our plane ride to Florida earlier this month she was convinced that since we were above the clouds, where Heaven was, that she should be able to see dead people out the window. I’ll confess to having no idea whatsoever what to tell her.

The God that she told me about is a maker. In addition to the planet and all the people, He also made the buildings and all the food. He did this to take care of us. He spends his time in Heaven, above the clouds with all the dead people, and He watches over us to make sure that we stay safe and provided for. He wants us to be good people and to do good things for each other. He wants us to all be nice.

Her God is a parent.

 

I have my own personal beliefs, a post for another day perhaps, but religion doesn’t play a major role in our family. Sometime in the near future I’ll start taking her to church and we’ll talk about the things that we hear there. We’ll start at the same Congregationalist Church that her sister and I attended for a while, the one that reminded me of the church of my youth. Their God was a kind one, accepting and tolerant, much like hers.

Along the way she will be taught that whatever she believes, whatever road her own spiritual journey takes, there will be others than believe differently, that have their own Gods and that that’s OK. She’ll be taught that being religious isn’t always the same as being right, no matter how strong and purposeful your faith. She will be taught that there are people that do terrible things in the name of their Gods and also others that do amazing works of charity and good, often in the service of the same.

She doesn’t know near as much as she thinks, but today was a good reminder that she knows more than I think, that there are an increasing number of outside influences on her. I don’t know where she got these ideas about God, but I kind of like the one that she described. He sounds nice.

 

 

 

Customize Your Memories With Amazon Prints

 

When you’re a kid there is nothing better than receiving a package in the mail, seeing your name printed on that plain brown box. In the late 80’s that was a three times a month treat for me. My father belonged to a book of the month club, military thrillers featuring Mack Bolan, Able Team, and other cheesy escapist titles that I devoured when he was done.  Most of my allowance and odd job money was spent on music cassettes and later CDs, music clubs promising me twelve for a penny if I agreed to spend the next three years paying exorbitant shipping fees until my obligation was fulfilled. The end of the month meant my favorite package of all, a box full of new comic books.

Those days are long gone now, an Amazon Prime membership offering instant access to thousands of movies and television shows, ad free music and the unlimited reading of books, magazines and even my comic books.

Fantastic services that I confess to not taking full  advantage of. I’m an old timer who still likes to have things that he can hold, pages to turn, shelves to browse. I still like seeing my name on a label, having a brown box full of goodies to open.

 

 

I also like having albums full of pictures to flip through, something that I have been desperately trying to keep up with as the amount of pictures that I take continues to increase dramatically.

Amazon is helping me with that too, having launched a photo printing service that allows all customers to print their memories. Prime members can upload images to their Prime Photos account, print the product of their choice and receive free delivery. If you’re not a Prime member you’ll still receive 5 GB of storage free on Prime Photos and be able to print your favorite pictures. Prints start at $0.09.  You can create custom photo books, cards, canvases and large prints right from your computer, customizing your theme, paper types and print sizes. Mugs, mouse pads and wall calendars are all available.

 

 

It’s the perfect way to keep yesterday’s habits using today’s technology and add some personal touches to that shelf full of old movies.

 

 

Amazon Prime Photos is available on computers, iOS and Android phones, laptops or tablets. You can download the app here: Amazon Prime Photos APP and be sure to visit the Amazon Prints Page

Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway. Enter below for your chance at a $500.00 Amazon gift card.

 

 

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Amazon, Fire and the Amazon Fire TV logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. For further information, please feel free to  visit the Disclaimers Page

 

 

 

Politicizing Tragedy

 

I spend much less time than I used to in “general population” Facebook, less time scrolling through my Timeline. Some of that is because of a migration to “groups”, smaller communities designed for actual discussion, some is due to a re-prioritization of my minimal moments with nothing more productive to be doing, and a lot of it is disillusionment. Since the election and its outcome more and more people seem to have become emboldened to share their opinions on all things societal and political, an irony that I recognize as I sit here and do exactly that.

Some of it’s my own fault. I refuse to unfriend anybody for reasons based on political or religious beliefs different from my own, no matter how tenuous my connection to them may be. I also purposefully follow and read sites and columns that I know advocate views antithetical to my own. Algorithms and partisan “news” media make it extremely easy to isolate oneself and never be exposed to opinion that doesn’t align with your own. I try and avoid falling into that habit.

Sometimes I’m disgusted by what I see. After the horrific suicide bombing earlier this week at a concert in Manchester, England there were some who felt that this was an example of karma, that twenty three year old pop singer Ariana Grande “got what was coming to her.”  The young singer had openly supported the campaign of Hillary Clinton, attended January’s Women’s March, and two years ago was quoted out of context while joking that she “hated America”  when presented with a tray of over sized fried donuts. Obviously this makes her a terrorist sympathizer who hopefully has now learned her lesson in the realities of the world. Excuse me while I go puke.

Less often are the times when I become absolutely fucking infuriated, as I did after coming across this bullshit:

 

 

I’ve never thought of myself as a liberal, preferring to cling to the belief that I am a centrist.

That doesn’t really matter, my beliefs besides the point. I’d be just as angry if I saw something from the left side blaming the President and his policies, anything that used this senseless tragedy to try and further an agenda or assign culpability. I not only pray that liberals never have to face anything like this happening to their children, I pray that conservatives, libertarians, socialists,  progressives, tea partiers and Knights of Ren never have to.

The Middle East is a complicated place, known as one of the birthplaces of civilization but also as a cradle of conflict. A region almost constantly at war since the rise of Sumer and the Early Dynastic Period of 3000 BC.  Sunni and Shiite battling for the soul of Islam since the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632. From The Persian Constitutional Revolution in 1905 and its attempts at modernization to the creation of Israel in 1948 to the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979, the last century nothing but shifting landscapes.

The Middle Eastern youth of today have known nothing but poverty and war. Their leaders promise them Paradise if they martyr themselves for ill defined causes and wars without borders, without care for who is targeted as long as it is done in the name of whatever group or ideology is being followed.

I don’t know what the answer is, or even if there is one. I know that only by working together, Democrat and Republican, with a combination of strategies, will we ever realize the goal that we all share – an end to the senseless violence and strategy.  Being dicks to each other and using dead children to try and build a case for your side being “right” accomplishes nothing.

 

 

The Pics Not Posted

 

Other than a few sports guys, I never was a blog reader before starting my own. To be honest, even then I didn’t realize that what I was reading was a sports blog. I’d heard the term, knew that’s what Cameron Diaz’s character did in the movie “Sex Tape” and remembered Doogie Howzer ending each episode typing into his computer, but that was about the extent of my knowledge.

Now I probably read anywhere between twenty to thirty a day. Lots of dads, some moms, politics, sports, travel and humor.  A few people that just sit down and write whatever comes to mind.  Different experiences, perspectives and opinions. Different voices.

The majority would be considered “parenting blogs”, the niche that encompasses most of what I have to say. ( The topics that I should stick to, according to some. )  One of the things I’ve noticed that all these disparate writers, from all walks of life and corners of the world, have in common is that at some point they begin to question the degree to which they are sharing their lives and the lives of their children with the world. Questions about appropriateness, consent, and even safety.

It’s something that I’ve always tried to be cognizant of without driving myself crazy. Many aspects of the teenager’s life wouldn’t even be considered as shareable, stories that simply aren’t mine to tell.  I will tell you that her final prom was this past weekend, that she had fun, and that she looked beautiful.

 

on line sharing concerns
Beautiful girl

 

It’s harder with the little, consent not so easy to obtain.  I write a lot about her triumphs and idiosyncrasies, but don’t feel that I’ve shared anything that would be considered embarrassing to her in the future. I can only hope that she one day agrees with that assessment.

It was a picture of her that led me down this avenue of thought, one that I was about to post on Instagram…and then didn’t. It’s one that I did post to my private Facebook, one many of you may have seen, a picture taken prior to her latest dance recital. She looks absolutely adorable. She also looks very grown up, her hair done and performance makeup applied.

My Instagram is public, a supplement to this space. It’s accessible to all, including those that may be searching the Internet for pictures of little girls dressed up and looking pretty in fancy dresses and makeup. It was probably a silly thing to think about but I did. I did, and once thought it became an uncomfortable enough idea that the picture remains seen only on the channels that I have control over.

 

When solicited, my advice to other bloggers is simple: use common sense, trust your instincts, and hope for the best. A story about a seven month old peeing in your eye may be funny, one about a seven year old peeing the bed probably better left unwritten. I never share any vacation pictures until I’m back home.

Is that enough? I don’t know.  All of us are living our lives in an increasingly public manner, for better and for worse. Bullying and stalking have never been easier, but neither has keeping contact with those that might otherwise fade from our lives. We all have to decide what level of sharing with the world we feel comfortable with.

 

I’ll leave you with this picture, another one of my daughter looking adorable. It’s not the best one that I’ve taken since she started playing softball, it’s just the best one I’ve taken that doesn’t show the name of our town on the front of her shirt.

 

online sharing
ready position

 

First Crushes

 

There are a lot of romantic “firsts” that are always remembered. First date, kiss, lay. They may not always be pleasant memories, but these are defining moments in our lives.

Less often discussed and often much more embarrassing are our first inappropriate crushes. Often years before we begin to notice others in our age group there is somebody older, a teacher, babysitter, lead singer in a boy band, that gives us those first awkward tingles, those butterflies in our stomachs that we don’t quite understand.

For my wife it was John Stamos, dreamy bad boy Uncle Jessie on Full House and probably a common answer among women her age. The teenager doesn’t like to be reminded of this, but when I first met her at five years old she had a really bad case of Beiber Fever.

For me that person was Olivia Newton John, the advent of music videos coinciding with her transition from country to pop music with 1981’s “Physical” album. The videos for the title track, “Make a Move on Me” and “Tied Up” enough to make a seven year old boy want to move to Australia.

“Grease” remains one of the most overrated movies of all time, it’s songs only suitable for drunken girl night karaoke, but 1983’s “Two of a Kind”, also co-starring John Travolta, is one of the greatest campy guilty pleasures of the 80’s. It’s theme song “Twist of Fate” one of the decade’s first synth-pop masterpieces.

 

First Crushes
20th Century Fox

 

It’s too soon to say for sure who my youngest will one day look back and blush about.  After receiving a rose from the dashing Red Knight at Medieval Times she turned several shades of red herself and I can’t remember another time that she’s been rendered speechless since uttering her first words. She cried about not being able to give him a present in return and cried again upon realizing that their paths nevermore shall pass. She solemnly declared that from that moment forward she wanted to wear only red clothes, her new favorite color.

 

first crushes
our handsome hero

 

She was over it by the time we were back home but it was a sobering reminder of what’s to come. So far her older sister’s romantic endeavors have been disastrous dramatic nightmares. Judging by how fast the past six years have gone by, our next tour of duty will begin long before I’m prepared to rejoin the fray.

 

All thoughts for another day. I’m not a handsome Greek in a leather jacket but tonight our Full House is empty. My wife may not be a blond Australian songstress but I can still visit the land Down Under.

Sometimes it’s not your first crush that really matters but your last.

 

 

 

Adventures with girls, from preschool to proms