Of Christmas Classics and Childhood Innocence.

Who doesn’t love old Christmas Classics?

Even though I realize now that there’s a lot of things in those movies that are not explained very well, I don’t think they have to be for the movie to be good.

Actually, I think they make it better.

If you’ve ever seen Frosty Returns, you might recall that Frosty tells one kid that “Some things just can’t be explained.”

And it’s true. I mean, can anyone really explain gravity? Can anyone decide what light is?

 

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I watch Frosty the Snowman now, the nostalgia makes me want to cry.

Because I’m sad for what we have lost.

I love the innocence of these old films. They have songs in them that would never make the cut now. Like the “If you sit on my lap today” Song from Santa Claus is coming to town.

That song is innocent. Whatever might be read into it now.

I am not saying by the way, that we should write songs like that for our modern movies. The problem with losing innocence is that once it’s gone, it’s gone.

You can never un-see or un-know what you know.

It’s impossible for me to forget the threats of terrorism, and drug abuse, and sex trafficking.

And that’s why I would like to encourage any parents our would be parents reading it that innocence is actually a very wise thing to preserve in your child.

It’s going out of fashion now.  The general attitude is that children will have to face reality sooner or later, and hiding it from them is stupid.

And parents who choose to shelter their kids rarely explain why in terms that make sense to those who hold the above view of it.

When parents say they don’t allow their kids to watch or listen to certain things, they usually justify it by saying those things are inappropriate.

But what does that mean? And in the day of gender confusion and school shootings, does that idea have any merit?

I think so.

The way my parents handled the issue was never voluntarily bringing up any shocking behavior. But if I asked about it, they would explain. My dad often more than I wanted to hear. My mom usually more vaguely, because she didn’t like talking about the stuff herself.

My parents used both caution, timing, and natural curiosity to handle the problem of telling my siblings and I about the crud in the world. And that’s the key.

Now that I’m almost 20, I hope I will not be in for too many more moral shocks. (please Lord.) But I am glad that most of the ones I had came when I was over the age of 10.

I am glad I can remember a time when I did not know those things. And that I did not grow up hearing about them all the time. Or that if I did hear, I did not understand, so I cannot remember.

I am glad that I had many years of relative carefreeness.

Why? Because I had no suspicions. I still remember when I could watch a movie and not get the sexual innuendos. Wasn’t’ that great?

I mentioned in my Wonder Woman review that I had the experience later of being horrified to learn about how corrupt people can be. That’s not a fun experience, but I would urge anyone with children not to avoid it by letting their children in on everything without setting boundaries.

Obviously, adults don’t talk directly to children about this stuff (usually) but they let them watch or read things without screening them first. And it adds up.

I am glad to be horrified over sin. It does not make you weak. It is actually a good thing to be sickened by it. To a certain extent. It’s a godly quality. The Lord himself is horrified by sin.

Did you know that there are some sins God does not even imagine us doing? It’s true. It says in Jeremiah 19:5, 7:31, and 32:35 that the sin Israel was committing had not even entered his mind.

God then, is innocent.

You may ask how that’s even possible. And the reason I can think of ties back in to shielding children from corruption.

A pure mind cannot ever conceive the depths a corrupt, sick mind will stoop too. A good man cannot even imagine doing what an evil man does.

The best protection from corruption is to not know about it. Innocence in childhood can be a great foundation fro a strong moral character. Because a child is not ready to process e evil and sort it out from good. That’s why it is the parent’s job to feed them on good things.

I want to make it clear I do not mean parents should pretend evil isn’t real. Children will figure that out no matter how much you try to hie it. What I mean is, trying to give them the best you can and make sure what’s influencing their thinking is a pure as possible. Evil is always evil, and it’s always defeated.

(I recommend A Thomas Jefferson Education for more on how to ease children into knowing evils sometimes wins and preparing them for that harsh reality through their books and movies.)

We are told nowadays that children only grow up with concepts of good and evil because we teach them too. And we are advised to throw away responsibility and treat them like case experiments. Exposing them to all things and letting them decide.

but no matter how hard you pretend it’s otherwise, children will decide based on you. Whether they reject your morality, or imitate it. You will be their guideline. You are teaching them one way, whether you like it or not.

So, why not teach them good, noble things, while it’s up to you. Before friends and school have a stronger grip on them. (Though find the best school you can by all means. And encourage healthy friendships.)

I want innocence for my children because it’s the last part of life that remains a little linked to how things were mean to be. And a child who has that experience will be able to imagine better things more easily than one who only ever saw the darkness in the world.

Adulting?

Did I mention yet that I got laid off? No? Maybe?

Well now I have.

It’s not the first time, so I guess this isn’t a new experience for me entirely. At least I’m not as hopping mad as I was when it happened before. That was a whole other story.

I won’t really reflect too much on it here, since you’ve all probably had that happen to you.

Anyway, you know that new term going around the internet? “Adulting.” ?

At the store I worked at we actually had plaques and notebooks that said “Coffee then adulting.”

I wouldn’t have a clue what that meant (Other than the adult part) if I hadn’t seen a helpful YouTube video titled “No you are not adulting.” (Check it out, it’s on a cool channel.)

So, because I’m trying to enroll in college; waiting for my first tax return; wondering what new job I’m going to find; and hoping to get my driver’s license next week (if you pray, please throw one in for me;) I seem to be adulting.

I mean, I don’t like that term.

But I think I know why it was invented.

There’s a lot of people my age who don’t feel adequately prepared for adulthood, one minute you’re 17 and haven’t a responsibility in the world beyond school, which isn’t your choice anyway; and then boom! You turn 18 and you start wondering what the heck to do after you graduate. Or you might have just graduated, depending on when your birthday is. And suddenly careers or college is staring you right in the face.

If you don’t live in America, Canada, or some parts of Europe, and I know some of you who read this don’t, then I imagine it’s a little different. Maybe 17-18 isn’t the year everything changes for you. Which is fine and all, not every country has to have the same system. But in American especially, you can’t legally do most things till you’re 18. So it is a big deal.

 

However, just because I can do stuff now, doesn’t mean I want to.

I don’t want to pay taxes, but I won’t get much of a choice there. I don’t want to have more expenses than before.

And I think that’s where my generation is finding itself. When we were teens and kids we were told we could become anything. But we didn’t hear the people adding under their breath “but it will cost you a fortune.”

I’m speaking to someone right now.

For example, if I wanted to get certified to be a ASL interpreter, it will take me at least two years, maybe more, doing multiple classes. And classes other than Sign are required to finish.

And that’s an easy one. And cheap–er.

I think the truth is, we millennials missed the part in every story where the person has to hazard all they have, like Bassanio in Shakespeare, in order to win the prize.

The fact is, you never get time back. Money can be refunded, time never is. And older adults tend to think that millennials don’t take that into consideration.

Well, my theory is, they do and they’re scared to death.

Personally, for all of my eighteenth year, I was feeling almost paralyzed from wondering what to do with my time. Looking back, I hope I didn’t waste it.

Well, I know I didn’t, because if I had had the chance to do more, I would have. When opportunity isn’t there, I don’t think it’s a waste to occupy yourself at home while you wait.

But now, it’s crunch time. I have to make some major changes in a couple months of time.

And I am not qualified to give all people, millennials or otherwise, my five tips for dealing with this period.

But I do have a little piece of advice.

One thing I do think I did right in the last year was choosing not to obsess over my lack of direction. I thought about it a lot. But in between times, I chose to keep reading, writing, and studying language. And pursuing activities outside myself. And learning to drive.

I believe that was a smart choice.

Another thing I believe I did right was committing my time into God’s hands. I may not see why I was in limbo for so long, but there was a reason, and there were moments of understanding. Like getting to go on another mission trip. I might not be able to do that again this year. (Here’s hoping.)

And don’t discount the little things. Getting to spend more time with my cousins, we have a bond now because of that, that I might have missed otherwise, and that’s a precious thing that time can’t wear away. Though it may take a back seat during some seasons.

And being there for my family. I hated being stuck at home so much, but the fact is, my family did need me. I may not feel like I do a lot, but even what I did was more than if I hadn’t been here. And I bring things to the family circle that nobody else does.

I don’t just say that to be cliche, it is true. I’ve observed it over time.

So it was a tough year, but I don’t believe any year spent seeking God is a bad one. No matter what bad things happened during it.

Heck, the Friday before my birthday I spent going to the second funeral of the year. IF that’s not symbolic of what I’ve been saying, I don’t know what is.

And all you 50+ folks have my sympathy for how much more frequent funerals must get as you and the people you know age.

But I don’t mean to be depressing.

Anyway, making the most of your time will make you feel better when you don’t have a clue where you are going next. I’ve still spent too many days sitting around doing nothing, even though I despise that attitude.

Adulting is not something you start to do when you’re 18, it’s something you learn to do over life. In fact, adulting is the wrong word for it.

It’s called growth.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

Boasting, binging, and beginning.

First of all, I apologize for not posting in several days. I’ve been out of commission.

But today I feel better, so here we go:

You know what I notice about technology? It’s a tough thing to break away from.

But what if our addiction to it isn’t just because its addictive (though it is as addictive as drugs.) What if we have more addicts in our culture simply because our values have altered so much that we encourage it?

That’s not really  a new idea, but I think the implications of it tend to go over our heads.

We can all agree that entertainment industries feed our addictions. They even have the audacity to boast in their commercials that they are “bingeworthy, you can’t miss it, you can’t go without it, it’s irresistible”… sounds familiar right?

What if I said that about my posts? You have to read this. (Hey, we get emails titled that don’t we?)

Well, I’m not kidding myself. No one has to read my stuff. No one is going to die if they don’t see my latest. Come on.

Frankly those commercials annoy the heck out of me.

But how little resistance there is to them now. Being an addict is even kind of cool now, in the meaningless way anything is cool nowadays. (Cool used to be a certain way of acting and thinking and dressing, now I’m not sure what it means except that you like something.)

People joke (READ:Brag) about binging on things that they can’t get enough of. And the rest of us laugh; ha ha, they have no self control, it’s hilarious!

I suppose it’s equally hilarious when it is deadly things like drugs and alcohol.

So what about technology? We’re proud of being addicted to that too. Well, I’m not.

I don’t mind loving a good show or movie, or finding usefulness in electronics, but that’s nothing to be proud of.

The pride isn’t obvious, most of us wouldn’t use that word at all; but what else would you call it?

Getting the latest version of whatever. Getting to a more difficult level of a video game. Getting so many likes or views on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, you name it.

Getting a bigger TV, getting a better car, getting those channels on TV that other people can’t get.

Being able to say you’ve seen every single episode of this show, or that you’ve seen this movie so many times in theaters.

Even being slightly embarrassed about how much you consume can be something to brag about….I’m not clear on why. It just is.

Because somehow, admitting it makes it okay. I may do nothing at all to rectify my problem, but at least I’m not deceiving myself.

Except I am. Many of us are. We think that just because our friends (both in person and online) don’t judge us for our weaknesses in addiction, that means it’s okay.

Which is like a colorblind person thinking they know the difference between yellow and pink, just because all their friends are blind.

That’s an unlikely example in the physical world, but when it comes to mental things, it’s all too common.

The fact is, all our friends are not likely to point out our problem because chances are we only make friends with people who have the very dame problem.

What would most Americans have in common with anyone who did not own a TV, or a smart phone, and preferred old fashioned entertainments and knew nothing about pop culture.

I don’t mean to generalize, there are Americans who don’t buy into all that stuff, but there’s precious few of us who don’t own a TV and struggle with this problem at some level.

What’s hard is even getting the younger generation to see it as a problem. They have grown up with their lives wrapped around technology and entertainment. They boast about how much of it they consume.

The older generation admits it’s a problem but often is too susceptible to it themselves and they don’t set a strong example.

In my family the problem tends to be that each person spends a portion of the day engaged in other activities, but we don’t do it at the same time. One person’s play hour might be another’s work hour, so we distract each other without meaning to.

In some ways, having a designated room for TV and another for study and work is a better arrangement, but too often it becomes an excuse for isolation.

I know I harp on about this subject a lot, but part of the reason is that I mself notice that if I’m not regularly reminded of the dangers of screen addiction, I start slipping into it and not bothering to fight it.

So I’ll end with a few tips for at least cutting back on it, though eliminating it completely is something I haven’t figured out yet.

  1. Don’t be constant: It sounds like weird advice, but one thing to do is to limit what you watch in a day. One TV program, one movie. My mom used to give us time limits for how long we could use the computer for a movie or game. Sometimes I hold off watching anything until a certain time of day, and then only one thing. (It’s too easy now to just passively sit while someone else puts on something unfortunately, but if you live alone  or with less people that’s not such a problem.)
  2. Just don’t: Kids and teens will usually give into the temptation without much resistance; not because they are by nature more susceptible to addiction, but because they tend to go along with what adults are doing, and make poor choices when left to themselves. Humanity in general is not apt to make wise choices as it is. But with no one to watch us, we tend to do worse. So just don’t let your kids have access to technology except when it’s necessary or it’s a special occasion.

 

That’s about all I’ve got. Self control in this area is particularly difficult due to how often we are tempted. Total abstinence seems to be the only guarantee for never slipping.

But since perfection is not what we can expect, limitations are a good place to begin.

I don’t give up hope of conquering this addiction, but I admit it is hard and the hardest part is realizing it’s a problem. It just doesn’t feel like a problem most of the time.

Anyway, here’s hoping, until next time–Natasha.

Stressing it.

I am normally a healthy person, but a trip to the doctor the other day informed me that I have  higher stress level than before. Causing me tension headaches, neck-aches, and back pains all over.

It sucks because stress is a vicious cycle. You stress until you get symptoms; then you stress about getting those symptoms; so of course you do; and so on.

Since my family moved, I’ve had one difficulty after another and I guess the new job was just the icing on the cake. Maybe the straw that breaks the camel’s back would a be a better analogy, cakes are supposed to be fun.

Actually, back when I was not saved, I had stress symptoms all the time. Only I have a feeling the doctors would have sent me straight to a psychologist, who in turn probably couldn’t have done anything, because my fears were irrational, and pretty far beyond what most psychologists would be able to handle.

I don’t mean any disrespect to them, but no one without a spiritual understanding of things could have understood my fears. To them it would be all mental, but it wasn’t.

Anyway, as I’ve shared before, I would feel sick to my stomach, shaky, and cramp up. I don’t recall getting headaches then, but now that I put more weight on my neck and back it makes sense that the tension is settling there.

I am not now one to stress out on purpose. Maybe some of you can relate, you don’t feel like you’re stressed, but you feel the signs of it. Maybe we’re just disconnected from our emotions. I’ve never been the best at knowing what I felt unless it was fear.

And my fear isn’t like it used to be. When I was a kid, my fear was right up in my face. Now that I know better, fear tends to hide from me so that I’m barely aware I’m feeling it until something pushes me tot he breaking point.

The last mission trip I went on, I had no idea just how much stress and fear I was feeling until I had an upsetting exchange with another person there. Then it just set off a wave of sickness and panic. Ugh, I hate even remembering it. But I didn’t have any serious ailments while I was there.

So my question is, still, why am I stressing out?

I know why.

I’m afraid to fail.

Maybe I want to prove something to people who’ve said I couldn’t make it in the real world. Maybe if I get sick and can’t bear up under the load, they will think they were right, or I at least miss my chance.

Maybe deep down, I have doubts about how well I’ll make it out there in the real world. Even if strictly speaking, I’ve been in the real world all my life.

I’m also afraid to succeed. Most of us are. That’s because if success comes, we have to live up to it, and improve even more. If you already doubt you can handle level one, how will you be during level 2, 3, 4…?

But what all of us are really doing by thinking this way is submitting to the mindset that we grew into. Most of us didn’t have great family backgrounds growing up, even if you’re like me and had an exceptionally good family, they still weren’t perfect. Neglect happens in some areas, if only because circumstances often prevent certain needs from being met. My social life suffers now from distance and a lack of transportation. That’s no one’s fault, but it still causes a gap in my life.

Maybe for you it was higher education because your family could barely pay rent or buy food.

Maybe it was isolation because everyone was super busy and you didn’t have friends for whatever reason. (I think it’s luck more than anything else sometimes.)

You fill in the blank, we all had something.

And that something gave us a box that we call our comfort zone.

Mine involves using my mind more than my body, and relying more on my ability to figure out problems than to deal with people. I can fake being a good epople person, but beneath it all, I’m just an introvert trying to act like I enjoy doing this.

Which is not to say it’s a total act. I do sometimes like talking to people, making connections, and helping them. But it wouldn’t be my choice if I had another, you see what I’m saying?

My work exhausts me emotionally and physically. Yet I need more hours if I want to make enough money to even pay tuition for one year, or buy a car, or whatever.

This is just my own little problems. You all can think of dozens more of your own. We all have cares that we sometimes worry aobut.

Yet, hard as it is to admit, worry is a choice. And we can choose something else.

For me, it’s faith. Do I believe God will fulfill the work He has started?

If that sounds too churchy and like empty repetition, then I would just say it like this:

God hired me, so to speak. (We are his fellow workers, Ephesians says.) He is not looking to fire anyone, but to promote them. So why would He stop coaching me till I’m learned how to do what He wants me to do?

God is a better boss than any mere mortal, because He doesn’t need you to make His company run, He just just needs you to fill one spot in it.  No pressure.

No pressure. That’s a thing I’ve been thinking about quite a bit.

Well, talking helps.

Until next time–Natasha.

Bouncing back.

A little update on my personal life. I have started working, yessiree, I have found a job at a department store.

Otherwise known as (ominous drum roll) …retail.

I ask every single person who’s worked retail to forgive me for thinking it was simple and easy.

Two days, I’ve done it for two days, for a four hour shift, and I already know this is going to be hard.

And I’m doing seasonal. So it’s about to get really crazy.

I’m  a young person, but I was sore after putting stuff on shelves for a couple hours. My hat would be off to anyone who does that all day long.

Or to those who work (gulp) harder jobs for a even longer.

I guess necessity is the mother of stamina. Even though I have voluntarily done hard work, needing a paycheck really makes you stick to it. Even when you feel cruddy, as I have been. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. I bet all of you guys have already had this experience.

The one thing I can’t claim to have superior understanding of is having a job. This is my third, but my first set up like a regular position that most people would even think of as a job.

Though I maintain that dealing with parents and children every week is just as challenging in it’s own way. My babysitting position was at least as complicated as retail, even if it was less physically demanding (in some ways.)

Anyway, so this is all pretty new.

I don’t even know if I’m good at it yet, and neither do my bosses. Two days doesn’t tell you that. But I’m not terrible, so there’s that consolation.

By the by, if i sound pessimistic, that’s just my sarcastic sense of humor. I’m actually not a pessimist. I try not to be.

I’m wavering between hoping I’ll exceed all expectations, and feeling certain I’ll blow them.

Maybe you guys are in a place like that right now. Or you have been, certainly, in the past.

I’ve had to except that while academically I soar, when it comes to just plain work, I have to learn with as much trouble as anyone.

I may be a smart worker, but that doesn’t mean I automatically know how everything should be done, or even how I can do it. I didn’t learn to ride a back faster than the average person, I’m not learning how to drive any faster, I don’t have exceptional sports skills.

I actually have a terrible time opening a combination lock because I never went to a high school that used one.

If you’re also a person who tends to be really good at a lot of things, and just average in others, you can probably relate. There is usually a balance.

every now and then we hear about those Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Jefferson types who are all around good at pretty much everything. (Not fair.) But the rest of us tend to fall into one of three broad groups:

Academic. Physical. Or Relational (being a people person).

I wish I was a better people person, or that I had a natural aptitude for being fit. But I’m a mix, just like most people.

I am lucky enough to have co workers who were nice enough to help me out, and to have been involved in sports only with a positive team.

But maybe you don’t have such positivity around you, and if so, I’d just like this post to encourage you to keep improving and not beat yourself up for making (let’s be honest) dumb mistakes. We all make them.

It’s not because we’re dumb (hopefully.)

My theory is, sensible people make dumb mistakes simply because when you learn something new, you cannot take it all in at once and retain it. The dumb mistakes happen when something slips your mind. Like when you can’t remember that one word that would you perfectly understood in a conversation.

Basically those who do not do it all right the first tie learn the most about themselves, so bounce back.

I do get frustrated and embarrassed when I do something wrong, but I can’t let myself stay there because I have to improve. Why would I do something (willingly) if I was not going to do it wholeheartedly and with effort?

We have to at least try.

At the end of the day, if you hate what you’re doing, do something else. But if it’s just hard, I’m not willing to say I’m defeated.

(The most important motivation for me is actually that I asked God for this, and now I have to do it in a way that would glorify Him, or else I’d be an ungrateful brat. To be honest, for me, that is often more important than doing a good job just because I should, which I am not sure is a virtue. But whatever works.)

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

 

A lesson we should heed

Some of you bloggers out there know that awkward moment when you read the first post you ever did (next to your “about me” page,) and its been two years.

Yep, I finally reread the “My passion” post.

I was afraid it’d be really immature sounding, but aside from a few things, and grammar mistakes, I actually am pretty satisfied with it still.

It just goes to show when you set a theme for yourself, you tend to stick to it, subconsciously.

I am one of those fortunate people who can merely think that they need to wake up early tomorrow, and then they’ll do it automatically before the alarm goes off. (I hate being woken by an alarm, so I wake up naturally as a subconscious defense, in my opinion.)

I think a blog theme is kind of like that. Even while yo’re unaware of it, your thoughts are veering in that direction.

I do think it was a smart decision to let go of my today’s truth: ending. It was kind of corny.

Anyway, that’s all in retrospect.

I am just glad that I have no regrets aobut starting this blog after two years and a quarter.

How many things do we start in life and then wish we hadn’t? or we wish we waited longer?

I could name a few off the top of my head.

I can’t write long today because I have to get to the DMV and retake the Written test. Fun I know.

But I really think five years from now I’m going to be glad it took me so many tries to get something as simple as a Driver’s License. It’ll be such an encouragement to my children to hear that their mom flunked something that many times. (I’ll probably be that mom who had all those impressive sounding accomplishments to tell about, but if I’m wise, I’ll make sure to tell them about my failures too.)

I can’t tell you how much better it made me feel to know other adults I know failed the first time…not the second and third I grant you, though my Grandma knew someone once who failed over and over again because of some dumb equipment on the test.

Anyway, like I said, I have to go soon. But those are my thoughts for the day. Trial and Error is my motto at this point.

And parents, please tell your kids the things you used to suck at and got better, it’s super inspirational.

Kids, ask your parents. It’s very enlightening.

And I just have to say the cliche:

“If at first you don’t succeed, blame modern technology–I mean, try, try again.

Tis a lesson we should heed, try, try again.”

–Natasha.