Difference Between Indifferent and Different

A friend of mine wrote a recent post to his blog asking the question “when did different become wrong”. This piece is in no way pointed at the examples he used in his blog, but simply my thoughts on that question in general.

As I grew into adulthood and lived on my own, I realized how much of my parents’ ways of doing things had unconsciously become my ways. For a silly example, but one to which we can probably all relate, my family was an “over” family. You know, that’s our preferred way of how the toilet paper should be draped on the bathroom wall. Well, Without thinking about it, when I had my first place, I instinctively hung my toilet paper over-the-top. I did that for years, and still do.

But I learned something when I had a girlfriend with a cat.

This is a fun and silly reminder that in life, there are many little things that we are practically programmed to think and do. For certain people in certain circumstances, those things may work perfectly well. However, for others, not-so-much.

In many areas in our lives, it’s not so much about right and wrong, but your way and my way. However, there are other areas in life where it’s definitely about right and wrong. What do you do when you have two people or factions who have completely opposite opinions on something, yet they both think they’re right? Do you protest and throw rocks through their windows?

I watched some of the activities outside the arenas of both parties’ national conventions the past couple weeks. I also remember the time when I was unwittingly smack dab in the middle of one in downtown San Jose. In those cases, people were so self-righteous that they somehow felt the liberty and even obligation to say and do things which were completely senseless, rude, crude and even illegal. I heard and saw things both said and done in the presence of small children. In fact, I saw parents, with their own children in tow, doing and saying despicable things right there in front of their children.

On the other extreme, I see people who believe they are so enlightened because they are completely apathetic about what others believe and do. Hey, to each his own.

I am a firm believer that you’re not going to “win” too many people to your way of thinking by yelling at and insulting them. I am also one who believes that we should love people enough that if they are doing something and believe in something we believe is damaging, we really should care and not just “live and let live”.

There have been areas in my life where I have changed my opinions and ways of doing things. Those areas were not as a result of being beaten over the head by someone else, nor was it by someone who “loved” me so much as to let me just do whatever I wanted. I have made my own decisions, and established my own values based on my own experiences. My parents raised me well, but there came a time when I had to choose for myself which direction I would go with my life. My path has had many ill-timed and misguided diversions. But I had to come to a place where I had to identify what it was I wanted in life, and find people who were already “there”, and spend time with them. When someone has what you want, you’re more likely to experience the desired results by learning from their journeys.

I want to lead a life and experience results that others wish to achieve. And for those who are finding their way, I want to make myself available to pass on what I’ve learned from others and our experiences.

If you have a different ideology, hey, I’m not going to beat you over the head with “my way”. I hope I’m big enough to be your friend anyway, despite our differences. However, I will in no way be indifferent or apathetic about you and our differences. You may have something in your life I need, and maybe…just maybe, there’s something in mine that you need.

I’m Pro-Choice, And I’ll Tell You Why

I have always enjoyed the English language. I mean, you know…I’m somewhat partial to it being American and all. Being a communicator, and appreciating good wordsmiths, I really like to pay attention to what people say, and most tellingly, how they say it. There is power in words. Our language can be complex. There are often times many ways to say the same thing. When working in radio, I was taught to always look at the positive way to say things. For example, when giving a weather forecast which called for rain, you might want to advise people to be prepared. There might be two ways to say it:

don’t forget your umbrella
remember your umbrella

Isn’t it more positive and encouraging to remind someone to do something they’ll be grateful for later than nagging them not to do something they might later regret?

I always found it interesting that two opposite sides of the abortion topic were both “pro”. You have your “pro-life” group, and your “pro-choice” group. For those who are pro-choice, their main argument is that the government has no right to be in their womb. I think this is an interesting view of where the “choice” begins for such folks.

Famed feminist Gloria Steinem wrote a scathing article Thursday against Sarah Palin. Ms. Steinem just doesn’t believe that Mrs. Palin is a worthy torchbearer for today’s woman. She cites several issues which I believe are gender-neutral, but of course, the topic of abortion was raised. After reading it and considering her position, which I believe is ridiculous and hypocritical, I found it astonishing that Ms. Steinem doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose to disagree. In fact, I find that as rather ironic for the entire party which touts itself as being enlightened and preaches tolerance. Tolerance. Webster defines tolerance this way:

sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own


Ms. Steinem has dedicated herself to womens’ rights, at least according to her standards. In actuality, she suppresses womens’ rights.
For Ms. Steinem, a woman’s choice begins and ends with deciding whether or not she should give birth to a developing fetus. For me, the choice begins in the moments leading up to conception, not afterwards. For me, choice includes having the right to choose for yourself if you agree or disagree with the moral, emotional and legal ramifications abortion has on themselves, their family, the baby, and our country.

As you read this, you may totally or even partially agree with me. You may totally or partially disagree with me. You know what? I’m OK with that.

It’s your choice.

Character

I am one who really enjoys being inspired. Most often, inspiration comes at times and in people you don’t expect.

While I am a conservative, politically, I haven’t been too interested in the upcoming presidential election. You’ve probably noticed that in the past couple weeks, my attention has been grabbed. I find this particular season of our country’s political process very compelling. Conventions are very intriguing. You see men and women, who only months ago were bitter rivals competing for the highest position in the land, suddenly become staunch and passionate allies. You see the battle of rhetoric and sound byte-worthy quotes and responses. Party line talking points, etc.

A couple things have grabbed my heart this week, however. And before you brush it off as my partisanship, please read on.

First, in listening to different speeches at the RNC this week, I learned something about John McCain that I didn’t know. Maybe everyone knew this and I’m slow or I just had my head buried in the sand until now. I learned that while McCain was a prisoner of war in Viet Nam, he was offered an early release due to his injuries sustained in his plane crash and torture. While I don’t think anyone would have blamed him for accepting, he turned it down in favor of prisoners who had been held captive longer, and by virtue of that, deserved to be released ahead of him. I’m certain that Mr. McCain’s thoughts were not of the political collateral this decision would hold later in life, you know…just in case he survived and decided to enter politics. But simply because it was the right thing to do. I don’t agree with all of McCain’s policies, but that speaks volumes to me about his character. I believe I can trust a person in the White House whose life holds such examples of putting others before his own best interest. This inspires me. I honestly don’t know I would have had the courage and character to do what he did. I want someone in the White House who is a better person than I am.

The second example this week came in the form of a 7 year old girl and her 4 month old baby brother. While her mother was delivering the most important speech of her life, before the world…little Piper Palin was holding her little brother, Trig. While the media wants us to question the quality of parenting offered by Sarah and Todd, this spontaneous moment captured by the television camera proves to me that this is no ordinary family. At least no ordinary political family. Maybe it proves that they’re really very ordinary in a real world sense. This was not a choreographed move by some media savvy political advisor. This was a raw moment which proved to me that no matter what is going on around them, this family is going to stick together and take care of one another. This is evidence, to me, that what-you-see-is-what-you get when it comes to the Palin family. How refreshing is this in today’s political climate?

Today, find something to inspire you, and inspire someone with your life. Tomorrow…do it again!

Editor of Us Magazine

After showing you the recent Us magazine covers featuring Barack Obama and Sarah Palin, here is an interesting follow-up on that topic. Below is an interview of the article’s author magazine’s editor side-stepping and back peddaling. I hope this serves as a warning to all of us to be careful in swallowing what the media is feeding us. And I would say that if this were an attack against someone with whom I disagree:

Bittersweet Sign of Being Older

Last week, when John McCain introduced to the world his choice for running mate, I was both impressed and somewhat horrified. One reaction was political, the other strictly mathematic.

When the news outlets began broadcasting Sarah Palin’s biography, it was noted that her birthday is February 11, 1964. That makes her exactly 54 weeks, to the day, older than me. While that would normally bother me, looking at her and her family is somewhat encouraging. They seem to be a young and vibrant family. Some people age more gracefully than others. I’ve seen people younger than I am who look at least 10 years older. Sarah Palin, though slightly over a year older than I am, looks younger than I do. And yes, I have been told by a female friend of mine that her husband is “hot”. Not an adjective you often hear of political figures and their spouses, but this is a new era.

I have to admit that I’m very impressed with Mrs. Palin and her family. Obviously they have been plopped in the media petri dish for all the world to analyze. For every bit of information revealed, people will use those details to further their agendas. Agree or disagree with her decisions and platform, I think you have to respect her. She personifies the modern woman, balancing family and career. They have FIVE kids! The most recent of whom is a special needs child. And it has now been revealed that this infant son will soon have a niece or nephew who will be less than a year younger than he is.

I admire Sarah Palin’s resolve and fortitude. And even moreso, I admire that of her family. Her husband seems to be what many would consider a man’s man. Rugged outoorsy guy, blue collar worker. Yet, he will be the one holding the bible for his wife on January 20, 2009 should they win in November. There are many men who wouldn’t be comfortable in this role. Can you imagine Bill Clinton in this hypothetical role? As Hillary is taking the Oath of Office, there’s Bill winking and firing his finger gun at the cameras.

I’m looking forward to the speech tonight. And if you find yourself at a watercooler conversation about her daughter, take the high road and walk away. But that’s a blog post for another day.

Day 2

I’m happy to report that I survived Day 1 of the Atkins diet plan. So far, things are going fine. My fridge is pretty well stocked with Atkins-friendly items. I went to the store yesterday and loaded up with boxes of sugar-free Jello and fat-free pudding. You gotta love a plan that includes these! I just LOVE Jello! Plus, you can have pretty much all the whipped cream you can stand. Maybe I’ll just throw a few spoonfuls of Jello into the tub of whipped cream and just go for it.

Yeah, maybe not.
On the job front, the search continues. I have targeted one particular company/ministry as where I would like to work, but as of yet, they don’t have much in the way of openings. Fortunately, I know some people there, including the CEO. I got an email reply from him this morning saying he’s very busy, but he’d like to meet on the 19th. That’s two and a half weeks from now, which looks like an eternity when you’re looking for a job. So, the effort continues in hopes that by the 19th, I’ll just have to walk down the hall to meet up with him. And hopefully by then, I’ll be at least 10 pounds lighter!

More New Beginnings

You’d think that after the last couple months, I’d be a little tired of changes. But in another sense, it’s almost like going through one or two significant changes gets you thinking of all the stuff that could use a makeover. So now that I’ve got a new place to live, in a new town, in a new church, making new friends…it’s time to do something to and for myself.

Today seemed like a very obvious and natural time to start. It’s the first day of the week, and the first day of the month. So, today I start on the Atkins diet plan. I did it before with great success, but got lazy and drifted back into my typical eating habits. So, for the month of September, it’s cutting out the nasty carbs. Those tasty, tasty carbs. So long potatoes of every kind. French fries, hash browns, and of course, the baked and mashed varieties. Bread? Yeah…see you in a month, too.

When I first discovered the Atkins plan a few years ago, I was stunned. I have never been one for diets because they all seemed so unreasonable. I hear of portion control, eating tofu and soy junk. Bleah. But Atkins says, “eat all you want!”. Now that’s a diet I can sink my teeth into! And anyone who knows me knows that I’m a dyed-in-the-wool carnivore! And Dr. Atkins created this plan for ME!


I’m pretty ready to do this. I’m definitely needing to do this. I went for a nice 2 mile walk today, which is also something I’m motivated to do. I was very athletic growing up. Going from one sport to the next from 5 years old through high school. As an adult, I still played basketball, softball, raquetball, tennis…whatever I could get out and do. The past several years have seen almost none of that. So I think shedding some weight will increase my energy and desire to be more active.

The plan is for 30 days of hardcore Atkins. Then maybe a week “off the wagon” which will include such delicacies as pizza, potatoes, pasta and other goodies. Then, back to more Atkins-related goodness.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I weighed myself this morning. The outcome was pretty much what I expected. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be on October 1!