Today Has Been a Good Day

Today has been a good day. I got a long, restful night of sleep after Friday’s insomnia. This morning I spent some time in my little books reading passages in “From the Back of My Bible—Timeless Truths for the Soul” by Emolyn C. Lambert and “Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams—Roadside Church Signs Across America” by Mary Katherine and David Compton. Next I went to Norcross First United Methodist Church and received an awesome sermon and got to hear some of my favorite young adults sing. Then I heard a thoughtful Sunday School class lesson. Next, I went to our Senior Celebration where we celebrated our high school graduates and sent them off into the big world of college and adulthood. Then, I came home and snoozed on the couch while listening to country music. Next, I ordered a watch on-line at a discount and talked with a lovely lady who called me about my order. I spent several minutes here and there throughout the afternoon sitting in the swing on my deck watching and listening to the birds and soaking in the sun’s rays. I had good conversations on the phone with different friends and family. Then I got a craving for key lime ice cream so I went to Kroger. I couldn’t find it but I found Blue Bell’s homemade peach ice cream instead which was even better. Next, I watched “Rising Star” and voted (using a free phone app) on people that I hope to hear on the radio someday. Technology is so cool! And, I read a challenge on Facebook to document the “Good Stuff” by taking a photo a day for a year and see how your collection unfolds and I started by posting one I took at the Senior Celebration. Now I feel inspired to write to summarize this morning’s sermon by Jody Alderman because it was good and set the tone for the whole day. Here is what he said:

People often think they need more money, power, status, pleasure, etc., etc. But, that is not what we need. We need to live in the present. He listed 10 ways to live in the present that he encouraged us to write down (which I did and am glad I did!).
1. Slow down and rest in God’s love. He quoted the scripture, “Be still and know that I am God.”
2. When you pray, stop giving advice to God. Listen to him.
3. Break your routine—do something new—like showing kindness to a stranger.
4. Be thankful.
5. Give someone a compliment. Encourage, brag on them, be a giver.
6. Be aware of nature both the big and the little things and thank God for the beauty.
7. Take a quiet walk and think of it as a time for God to love you. Live in the grace of God.
8. Give yourself a break. You are not perfect and do not need to impress anyone. Nothing you do will make God love you any more or any less.
9. Smile at people.

I think I combined two of them, because I only wrote down 9 numbers. He said a lot in a few short minutes but I think I got the main ideas. It spoke volumes to me. I have been doing some of this already, but today I just soaked it all up living in the present and loving it.

Caffeine and Insomnia

I know better than to drink caffeine after four or five o’clock at night. I can sometimes get away with six and even seven p.m. but never with Mountain Dew. I figured, “Hey, it’s Friday, so it doesn’t really matter” but here I sit journaling, catching up on Facebook and reading blogs, and listening to an old cassette tape I recorded off the radio sometime around 2003. I ate some grapes which were really good (they’ve been in the frig for a while so I’m glad they aren’t ruined already).

I hate insomnia, and I hate it that I stupidly brought it on with caffeine which I know better and did anyway despite me telling myself I shouldn’t. But, tomorrow (rather today—it’s after 3 a.m.) is Saturday, so if and when I ever do go to sleep, I can sleep until I wake up. I can try falling asleep on the sofa now listening to my cassette tape or a relaxation CD with beach sounds. It was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received for my birthday or Christmas (I can’t remember which it was). I don’t use it often, because the couch is not very comfortable and I do not have a CD player in my bedroom to play it on, but it truly was a perfect gift since I often have trouble sleeping.

I hate the solitary hours I spend trying to be quiet and not wake other people up and just the time I spend alone thinking, flashing back, remembering times long ago and daydreaming about a guy. It’s sometimes kind of nice, too, though, to have my own little time where no one is bothering me and there are no obligations or places I need to be or people I have to see to worry about. So, it’s a mixed blessing/curse.

My sleep has been rocky for the last 2 months, but it is getting much better. Hopefully I have learned my lesson with the caffeine. I say that every time I do this though. It lasts for a couple of months, then I do it again usually with Tea. Oh, well. Maybe this time it will stick.

Good night and sweet dreams.

Tribute To Shannon Mosley by Wendy Weathers

On a Hillside

I’m sitting on a hillside
Looking at a stone.
The sun is shining all around me,
Casting shadows across the lawn.

Flowers are dancing in the breeze
As pictures flash through my mind—
A really nice boy has died.

One day he was alive,
Now he is gone.
It is hard to understand,
Even though it’s been a while.

I remember him,
And what he was like
But a drunk driver took his life.

On a Saturday morning
I heard someone had died.
I realized who it was,
And tried not to cry.

That night at a football game
There was a moment of silence
Tears rolled down my face
As the band played the Star Spangled Banner.

The flag rose slowly, solemnly
And people drew together
His friends and people who’d never met him.

I didn’t attend the funeral
I hadn’t known him that well.
I couldn’t be in a room with all those people
That had loved him when he wasn’t there.

It is easier to understand
When an older person dies
If they have led a full, happy life
It seems time for them to join God.

When a person has their life ahead of them
Then dies,
It is hard to comprehend.

I pray that the man who did this
Will see what he has done—
All the people he hurt.
All the pain he’s caused.

So now I’m sitting on a hillside,
Telling a friend goodbye
He’s in Heaven now, but it’s so hard not to cry.

People Needed on Our Side to fight the Zombies

So, I’ve thought about the team we’d need for the zombie apocalypse some more. We’re going to need some heroes: actors, actresses, musicians, athletes from all sports, some politicians, some cartoons, and games, things to occupy peoples’ free time and give them an escape while at the same time giving them hope and something to strive for in the future, and be educational. We’ll need toys too.

You’re going to need people in their 30s and 40s to bridge the gap between the next generation and the baby boomers. You’ll also need youth to find a cure for whatever is turning people into zombies. That’s why it will be important to have good schools where you teach all the core subjects and corps values as well as the arts and P.E.
You’d need to see how people know each other. Teams they’ve played on together, movies they’ve worked on, so we could get people on our side and spread the resistance movement and convert even more people to our cause.

You’d need a cure, but you’d have to make sure it was a permanent cure and not temporary like in the X-Men.

People I’d want on my side are:
Taylor Swift, Hugh Jackman, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Sara Evans, Lady Antebellum, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, JZ, Coolio, LL Cool Jay, Chris O’Donnell, Drew Barrymore, the cast of Legends of the Fall, Miley Cyrus, Axel Rose, John Claude Van Damme and the cast of Universal Soldier, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the cast of the Terminator movies, Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey, the cast of Raising Helen and the Notebook, Mark Harmon, Cote De Pablo, Michael Weatherly, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Michael Phelps, Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, Amie Copland from the zip-lining accident who contracted a flesh eating parasite, Amy Robach, Bon Jovi, the Soul Surfer, Kate Bosworth, Josh Duhamel, Tim Tebow, Ron Gant, Glenn Burns, David Chandley, Neal Boortz, Clark Howard, Dave Ramsey, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Terry Pendleton, Ryne Sandberg, Dale Murphy, Gary Carter, Ron Darling, Alex Rodriguez, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, OJ Simpson, Madonna, Mike Piazza, the Cincinnati Reds’ Hammering Three, MC Hammer, Salt N Pepa, En Vogue, the Spice Girls, David Beckham, Snoop Doggie Dog, Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, Andruw Jones, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Steve Avery, Mark Wohlers, Mike Stanton, Otis Nixon, Sid Bream, Terry Pendleton, Mark Lemke, Francisco Cabrera, Raphael Ramirez, Bob Horner, Phil Niekro, Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Junior, the cast of Definitely Maybe.

We’d want Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Arsenio Hall, Eddie Murphy, Emma Stone, Anne Hathaway, Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, and George Clooney.

I’d want the board games Life, Monopoly, Pente, Connect 4, Password, Taboo, Apples to Apples, Cranium, Banana Grams, Jenga, Battle of the Sexes, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary. We’d need some puzzles, dominos, card games like Rook, Uno, Skip Bo. We’d need word searches, crossword puzzles, Sudoku games.

I’d want to have the states California, New York, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Arizona, New Mexico, and Washington fighting with me. I’d like to have Europe, India, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada as Allies. I’d want to control the Thames, Seine, Yellow River, Mississippi River, the Nile, the Amazon river and rain forest, the Sahara and Death Valley, Black Sea, Red Sea, White Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, AND most importantly, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

I’d want the band Train, Paco De Lucia, the Gipsy Kings, Three Kings–both military and religious, Counting Crows, Collective Soul, Chris Tomlin, Third Day, John Berry, Rob Thomas, Everlast, Elvis the King and Elvis Costello, Priscilla and Lisa Marie, Chris Cornell and Audioslave, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Redford, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, the cast of White Men Can’t Jump, Juliet Lewis, Robert Downey Junior and the cast of the Lost Boys, the numbers 21, 22, 24, and 27, as well as Steven King, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Joss Whedon and Josh Wheaton, a couple of Billie Jeans, Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks, Sandra Bullock, Kelly Clarkston and Keith Urban, Keith Whitley, Lori Morgan, Lori Loughlin, and Lori Greiner and some shark oil, Trace Adkins, the Palace Hotel and Central Park, El Retiro, MC Hammer and Guns N’ Roses, the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith, Serena and Venus Williams, Boris Becker, John McEnroe and John Mayer, John Legend and Tatum O’ Neal, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Prince’s sister, An Officer and a Gentleman, and Intersection to pick up a Pretty Woman, a Delorian to travel in time, lots of Jonses and Smiths. The colors white and black, orange, yellow, green and white, red, white, and blue, and yes, a ROYAL purple. I’d even venture to say we’d need a few shades of pink and mint green as well as several tints, hues, and shades.  I’d call up Brad Paisley and the cast of Rising Star (both new and old), the Father of the Bride and the Good Wife, you’d need a good voice that could hold a tune in the wind as well as a cornet player and the whistle song.  I’d want the Pyrenees Mountains and the Bosque Region and for Roland to finally get his girl.  I’d want Alsace and Lorraine, Luxembourg and Germany, and definitely Switzerland and the Netherlands.  And for crying out loud, get Viggo Mortensen even if you have to walk on the moon!!!  I’d want Contact, but I want communication and a way to return home even if it is with a volleyball named Wilson.

You’d need to go Down by the Creek Bank and wrestle a snake, and then send out a Proof of Life and pay the Ransom.  Then get the cast of Charlies’ Angels both new and old and a Few Good Ryans, Steffi Graf, and Andre Agassi. Next get the cast from the shows House, ER, Grey’s Anatomy. Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Junior, Renee Zellweger and Friday Night Lights, the Boys of Summer and the Eagles, Sir-Mix-A-Lot, the cast of the Notebook, Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Kevin Bacon. The cast of the Fast and the Furious movies, games like Pole Position, Crazy Taxi, Tetris, Pac Man, Styx, Wi machines, X-boxes. And make sure to leave an air hole and raise the ship in Hawaii.  Then get some coffee shops with waitresses and baristas like Jennifer Anniston, a baker, and 8th grader, and a Marine, a Navy Seal, and the cast of Friends. Then draft Beavis and Butthead, the Simpsons, South Park, Arrested Development, In Living Color and find some Treckies to fight the Force.  Then get some blue people.

We’d need Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Don Johnson, Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Renee Russo, Kevin Costner, John Cusack, Bruce Willis, Jason Patric, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Samuel Jackson, Dakota Fanning, the cast from the Twilight Movies and Buffy and Angel the Cast from Brehm Stokers’s Dracula, and the Lost Boys, Fire Fly, Battleship Galactica, Superman, Batman, Thor, the Avengers, Star Wars, Titanic, and I don’t know.  Don’t forget to get some Guses and their mommies.

You’ll need to Fight for Your Right to Party.  I’d like to have John Travolta, Debra Winger, Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Darryl Hanah, Robert Duvall, Richard Dreyfuss, Liam Neeson, Daniel Day Lewis, Julia Stiles, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a Doll House. Dude, we’d need a lot of people to convince the zombies and those on the fringe to our way of thinking.

We’d need Jennifer Lawrence, and Liam and Chris Helmsworth.  They are really important as well as Bradley Cooper.  You’d need to pack some MREs to feed a hungry army and the refugees and those on the fringe.  Don’t forget Matthew Goode, Amy Adams, Mandy Moore, Hillary Duff, Chad Michael Murphy, and Meryl Streep, and Amanda Seyfried. And make sure to ride a Gondola and kiss under a bridge on the way to the Vatican.

We’d want Glenn Burns, David Chandley, Monica Pearson, Brenda Woods, Jill Becker, Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Diane Lane, Wesley Snipes, Jamie Fox, Tom Berenger, Sean Connery and Camelot.  Crying Out to a Beloved Country in South Africa, Nicolas Cage, Jodie Foster, Billy Bob Thornton, the cast of the Deer Slayer, the English Royal Family, Obama, Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, Aerosmith, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Katie Holmes, some hockey, polo, soccer, and rugby players, golfers. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law.  Please don’t forget the writers and the Gutenberg Press.

Man, I’m tired after trying to get all these people together. We’d need Wayne Gretzky, Jennifer Jones, Mitch Gaylord, Kurt Browning, Scott Hamilton, Katarina Witt, Mary Lou Retton, Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Kerri Strug, Gabby Douglas, some ice skaters, runners, bicycle and motorcycle drivers, triathlons athletes, track and field people, the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lord of the Rings movies. Gerard Butler, Hillary Swank, Clint Eastwood. Don’t forget to tip your waitresses, musicians, and bartenders, and find a good IT guy.

OK. I’m gonna stop now. I think that’s a good start.

Oh, yeah.  I forgot.  After further reflection, none of this will work if you don’t have my brother, Penny Lane, and a good Albatross.

My Plans to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

I took a continuing education class today about disaster preparedness and it really got me thinking. People from my church also began talking about it on our retreat a week ago. So along the lines of my last blog about snipers and the Terminator II philosophy, what if the zombies were just like Non-Christians that needed to be converted to Christians/back to being humans? What if the zombies just need love and understanding and we have to coax them back into our world rather than killing them?

If I had to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, I would want to live in Norcross, Georgia. First we would take my neighborhood, Beaver Ruin Road, and Buford Highway. From there, we would spread into Lilburn, Snellville, Loganville, Monroe, on to Athens and conquer/ take back UGA. Then from Norcross, we’d also go up I-85 North and 316/Boggs Road to Sugarloaf Pkwy. and Lawrenceville, take Briscoe Field, go through Winder and Bethlehem and get another safe way into Athens. We’d also go up I-85 North to I-985 into the mountains.

Next, we’d go up Buford Highway to North Druid Hills, Clairmont Road, the City of Decatur, then take back Stone Mountain, Lithonia, and I-20 to Social Circle and back to Monroe. Then we’d go the other way out I-20 toward Carrollton and capture the University of West Georgia area, and all the way to Augusta. We’d need to hop the Savannah River, take over the Deepwater Port of Savannah and the Sea Islands, then work our way back through the countryside on a reverse Sherman’s march. Then we’d also go back across the Savannah River, back into Augusta, and back down I-20 into Atlanta, and up 85 North to get back into Norcross. From our strong post in Carrollton, we could take Newnan, then Franklin, head into Alabama, La Grange, and approach Atlanta from the South taking back Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

We’d have to secure I-285 from I-20 to I-75 North. This way we would have Emory hospital and university, Northside Hospital, Egleston, Meridian Mark and would go down one way toward downtown Atlanta, and the other way into Dunwoody, down Peachtree Dunwoody to Perimeter Center West, Ashford Dunwoody to Hammond Drive, 400, Roswell Road, then we could reconquer Holcomb Bridge and head back the other way up to Norcross. While in Dunwoody, we would need to capture Perimeter Mall and infiltrate Marta.

People I would want to have on my side are: the military, the clergy, teachers, gypsies (you need some good thiefs!), police, writers, bloggers; you need a good baker, hairdresser, realtor, butcher, farmer, communications and technology gurus, firemen. You’d also have to have plenty of Wal-Marts, Targets, Lowe’s, Home Depots, Krogers, & Publixes, as well as the Mom and Pop businesses like the Good Stuff, Agavero, the Brick Store, the 5 Seasons, some farmers’ markets, some restaurants.

But, you’d have to build your immunity so you could walk in and out of the zombie world without sustaining too many injuries. You would have to build up your tolerance to the poisons that turn you into a zombie like the Dred Pirate Roberts built up a resistance to the effects of iocane powder in the Princess Bride and be able to cross over into both worlds. You would need a white shirt for daytime and a black shirt for night, a pair of dark sunglasses, a vehicle, and lots of guns and explosives. You’d need computers, and means of communication like playing cards, bill boards, magazines, and coffee table books. You’d need toys for kids.

My home would be a safe house/neutral ground for both zombies and non-zombies. They’d have to call a truce to step inside and one must call “Peace be to this house” upon entering. If you do not hear someone say “and also to you”, then you need to get out fast.

The supplies I came up with most important–#1–got to have clean water! That’s where boy and girl scouts and survival training will come into play. They’ll need to know how to turn urine into water. It will be even better to have Spring water, distilled water, Aquafina, Poland Springs, Dasani, Nestle, etc. You’d need things you could barter with like jewels that you could sew into garments and use when necessary. You’d need safe drug stores and medication along with doctors and hospitals in your corner for those with illnesses.

I would want a cross necklace, a watch, batteries, cell phone–don’t forget wall & car chargers—face masks, Brita pitchers & filters, tools/toolbox, gasoline, battery powered lighting & fans, generators, coolers with ice, water, & Gatorade-type products, breathing machines, sun screen & bug spray, non-perishable fruits/snacks (energy bars), CASH (banks & ATMs will be offline), First Aid supplies and blankets, any extra RX not filled for future use, & a list of medications a person takes.

I have a few picture frames by my front door I would take off the wall and take with me as well as a basket of small photo albums. But that’s only if I had to leave my safe house.

You’d need a list of your computer passwords, a purse/go-bag, Matches, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, a mirror, candles, toilet paper, power strips/flash drives, and old school garlic and salt tablets as well as Magnesium and Folic Acid, Slo-Niacin, Vitamin C & D, Fish Oil, etc.

I would start a school with flash cards and books/textbooks. After all, education is the key to civilization. You would need pens, pencils, paper, markers, crayons, paint. You’d need some greatest hits albums/CDs, some classic movies, The Wizard of Oz, & movies like GI Jane, the Terminator, X-Men, Red Dawn, A Few Good Men, Shooter, Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, etc. You’d need to save some art, have some Bibles in multiple languages, and I think Spanish or Latin should be the lengua franca(s).

If TV works, I’d want to have access to the CW, CBS, and CNN and the radio stations the Bull, the River, and the Fish as well as AM 750 and NPR. We’d need some athletes, actors, and actresses, musicians, politicians, and a good mix of people of different ages on our side.

You’d have to pay attention to birds and other animals, the stars, colors, lights, signs, peoples’ eyes, all kinds of things. In addition to the zombies, you have to worry about the vampires and the machines and cryogenics.

You’d need a few treats like soda (both caffeinated & decaf), coffee, beer ( both with and without alcohol), I’m sure some people would want wine, American Eagle cigarettes for smokers, chocolate, Takis, & Doritos.

Man, there’s so much I need to think about and share. I’ll write more or at least revise this once more comes to me.

Sniper

OK. So I said I was looking forward to watching the Sniper Trilogy I got a year-and-a-half ago, but did not sit down to do it until this week. I just didn’t want to see Tom Berenger get his finger cut off. I finally decided I was ready for it and liked the movies very much. They were different than I remembered. It’s been a long time since I saw them so I did not know what was going to happen. That was kind of nice. I often watch the same movies over and over and know what’s coming next so it’s a little boring.

When I have taken career aptitude tests, military has always come up as a job for me given my skills and interests. However, I don’t think I would have made a good soldier because I am a pacifist, don’t like peeing outdoors/in public, and have some health issues which I don’t think would do well with sleep deprivation. I’m too old to enter the military now. But, I really like watching action movies and am a pretty decent shot.

I ascribe to the Terminator II philosophy of injuring people but not killing them. The old King James Bible  says “thou shalt not kill” which I thought was pretty clear, cut and dry.  Since first writing this, I have learned that the newer translations say “you shall not murder.”  In some ways the two words are splitting hairs.  But, I think killing someone in self defense is different from maliciously seeking out to kill someone intentionally which is more what murder is.

I value my life but I am willing to die for others to save someone if necessary.  I know that soldiers are willing to die to protect the country and people they love.  I have a picture of a soldier with angel’s wings with the scripture from John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  If I am faced with someone committing violence against me, I’d probably just take it.  But when other people who are innocent or vulnerable are involved, I feel like I probably would try to protect them and would lay my life down for them.  I am not sure I would take a life to save a life but if it were for the greater good or if I were fighting what people would deem a “just” war (other peaceful means have been exhausted), I think I could reconcile myself to it. After all, in the Bible there were all kinds of battles and wars that God ordained.

I think that we should give people as much of a chance to come to God and live right as we can. When it comes to the death penalty, I think only God has the right to end someone’s life.  I think having to serve a life sentence thinking about what the person did to be there can be it’s own kind of torture and seems punishment enough to me.

If at all possible I think injuring is better than killing.  I think that if I were to actually use a gun on people, I would need to become really good and accurate so that I could injure without killing but cause enough damage to stop them from doing whatever bad thing they’re trying to do. That would require practice that I really don’t have the means to do. I guess every once and a while I go to arcades and have a little fun hitting targets that I can’t harm. I really do like blowing shit up at least at the arcades.

So, I think it’s time for me to take a brief sojourn to an arcade and get my inner soldier out. If you’re wondering if I were a soldier what kind I would be, I would be a Navy Seal that would enter from the Navy. After all, like Sam says on NCIS Los Angeles, “Seals are the best”.

My MOS would be sniper. After playing paintball, I realized I’m no good at running and hiding behind things. I do much better at long ranges from a secure location. But, I realized the danger of being a sniper, because when I finally got hit, it was a head shot. That kind of brought home the realization of what it was like, what soldiers must face,Dec. 2011-Mar. 2012 070 and the danger they put themselves into. It definitely increased my respect and appreciation for them.