Of bubbles and bibles and Southern Baptists …

A new friend is graciously letting me share a piece he wrote — the mark of a quality person in my world, especially as there was no hesitancy and he doesn’t know me from a ton of coal.  All I know about him so far is that he has a gift for saying things that need to be said — and read — and that’s sufficient for the time being.  And that he’s good people.  I hope my friends will be as struck by the truths he’s delineated as I am …

“I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but we don’t live in a Christian nation founded on Biblical principles. 

We live in a secular nation founded on the U.S. Constitution, which protects your freedom to be a Christian if you so choose, and to live by Biblical principles, whatever you interpret those to be. 

It also protects the freedom of those who choose otherwise. 

It’s kind of a beautiful thing.

If you’re a Muslim, no one can make you eat pork. If you’re a Christian, you can load up on the bacon and ham with a big greasy grin on your face. If you don’t subscribe to any religion at all, the world is your buffet.

It even works well within Christianity.  Southern Baptist? No one can make you say a Hail Mary. Catholic? No one can keep you from wearing your “I love the Pope” hat to the mall.

Do you think gay marriage is a sin? Ok, fine. Check your fiancé’s genitals before the ceremony and everything should be a-ok. Just remember it’s not your place to peek inside the pants of other people’s partners. So you can go your merry way and let others do the same.

See how that works? You get to live YOUR life according to your beliefs. You don’t get to force others to live THEIRS that way. And they don’t get to force you to live their way either.

This is how our funny little government works for everyone. This is why it’s a handy dandy thing to remember that, should you seek an office or a job in government, YOU ALSO WILL BE WORKING FOR EVERYONE when you clock in each day.

It’s also good to remember this is why the courthouse lawn and other taxpayer-funded facilities are not churches or temples or mosques. 

The Ten Commandments may look lovely hanging in your church or on your wall at home, but unless you want to allow symbols of other religions including nine-foot bronze statues of a half-man-half-goat with curly horns from the Temple of Satan to greet you when you go to the DMV to get your plates renewed, it’s really best to leave those things up to the private individual to display. 

Any Pentecostals cool with a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe at your state Capitol building? No? Well, then maybe you get my point.

Your church, however wonderful it may be, has not been appointed to govern those who don’t wish to attend it. Your holy book, however full of wisdom you find it to be, has not been passed into legislation. 

And if you ever study what happens when any religion is given a pass to govern with that kind of power, you’ll thank God it isn’t that way here.”

by Ken Robert

{Follow him on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/writerkenrobert?fref=ts}





Longevity rocks …

Yesterday was nice.  I slept through sunrise, thereby assuring myself that it still functions well without my supervision.  Kim made ranch-bean omelets and we shared massive quantities of coffee and a soak in the spa tub.  We gave Madison a bath and watched her turn into a fluff-ball again while she careened zoomie-dog-style through the house.  Laundry was done and favorite pieces made ready to wear in mere seconds on the balcony — it was one of those hot windy days that signal a change of seasons, which will add to our appreciation for cooler temps later in the week.

And it was my birthday!  Not a five- or ten-year milestone, but it means more to me than any since my 30th, which I nearly missed thanks to an inconvenient cerebral hemorrhage at 29.  Far too many people I loved left this life far too soon, including my brother at 29, my first husband at 58, and so many others.  I was born when my mom was just short of 20, and sharing a birth month with her I always felt there was a ribbon that connected us in some indestructible way. When she died suddenly at 67 a little trapdoor clicked open inside me and closed just as quickly.  Shut up in there for the past twenty years was the unanswerable question of whether I would outlive her.  Yesterday I celebrated 68 — and now we know.

Both of my grandmothers lived past 95 and kept their minds intact, so that’s my goal, free and clear, now that I’ve crossed the Rubicon.  Not that I actively contribute much — walking our tiny dog three times a day is the extent of my exercise program and most of the time I eat what I want, although a recent not-good metabolic workup is forcing me to rethink that approach.  Basically, in lieu of hard work on my part, I’m banking on great genes and a positive outlook.  Happiness determines about 99% of life, so a Zen attitude and an abundance of good juju are my weapons of choice.  And all these numbers … ages, blood pressures, cholesterol counts, calories … are just that — numbers.  It takes so much more to measure the weight of a life, and our control over any of it is mostly imaginary .

Okay, I have to go, my husband’s running the spa tub full of hot water and therapeutic salts again for heading into another year of doing it right and seeing what happens.


P.S.  The greatest of ironies would be if I’d gotten fried in my tracks on any one of my trips out to the balcony tonight to watch the lightning.  Hitting the mark is no sort of guarantee, but I’m optimistic.


When was the last time you thought you knew everything?

If it’s ME you’re asking, that was another lifetime.  Kim and I met twelve-plus years ago, we’ve been married eleven, and if you know him it’s no surprise that I’ve learned a lot from him.  I wasn’t a rookie, I knew things … just not necessarily THESE things, not for sure.   So from the always beguiling viewpoint of my toothsome mentor …

LIFE LESSON #1:  It’s okay to be happy — you have to give yourself permission.

LIFE LESSON #2:  Just because someone looks like that guy your mother warned you about doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fall in love with him, get married, and live happily ever after.

LIFE LESSON #3:  Knowing when to be satisfied is the key to life.  {Spoiler Alert:  It’s when The GOOD arrives, not just the Good Enough.  Knowing the difference between GOOD and PERFECT is central to the equation.}

LIFE LESSON #4:  With proper motivation old dogs can learn new tricks.  {Madison affirms that truth.}

LIFE LESSON #5:  Work is not the only honorable use of time, and is, in fact, an insult to the universe if not matched with an equitable amount of not-work.

LIFE LESSON #6:  The best way to get a job used to be a) say you know how to do it  b) go home and read the manual/book/instructions/recipe, and c) show up and do it.  Even though the world doesn’t much work that way anymore, the basic principle still applies in some way to most of life.

LIFE LESSON #7:  You won’t necessarily stay in command of your limbs and faculties right up until you die, so in case your heart/lung apparatus keeps performing longer than your motor skills and your brain stays on the job until lights out, you’ll need things to think about, so start deliberately cataloguing scenes in your head … memories of EVERYTHING.  The way the air smelled, the voices, all the sensations.  Every part of every face you ever loved … and the taste of kisses, all of them.  Because someday if you aren’t exactly independent anymore, and the hours get long and you’re going out of your freaking gourd, you can stop chasing nurses up and down the halls in your throttled-back Jazzy and take some time to remember the good shit.  Once you crawl into your empty box, snag a memory from the archives and get settled, you won’t even remember where you parked your carcass.  You won’t hear anybody, you won’t see anybody, they’ll assume you’ve come unhinged, which is perfect because they just might walk away and leave your wrinkled old ass alone until it’s time to ladle out the evening pudding.


There are more, but I’ve been pleasantly hung up on #7 since last week, and I’m preoccupied with storing details in the database.  The weather triggered all of this — our early transition from hot-and-humid to autumn-is-at-the-door.  The air has changed, the leaves are turning, the students are back in town — it’s ridiculously easy now to memorize the feel of the mornings and evenings and what happens in between.

Last night I asked Kim to wake me up early enough to see the sunrise this morning, and by golly if that didn’t stick in his drowsy mind.  6:15am he’s standing right there, on the job, already dressed (I peeked), his smile threatening to blind me, so without actually opening my eyes I slid into my jammies and felt my way to the balcony (because he’d sweetly provided a hint).  The view that greeted me when I finally raised my eyelids was totally worth waking up for.  First of all, my husband — still smiling — and in front of him on the table two steaming mugs of coffee.  And the SKY, seemingly ALL of it, splatter-painted every shade of blue and pink.  We sipped our beans and listened to the city waking up while the big orange sun floated out of the trees in nearly the same spot the big orange moon did last night.  The air was clean, the sounds were a sampling of everything, those wafty little food-smells from up the street were insinuating themselves past the railing and making us consider our bellies, the sky was growing ever lighter, brighter, and more childrens’-movie-like, with its panoramic rays and white fluffy clouds and sheer natural drama until it all became so overwhelming I had to come back in and lie down.  I did better than Maddie — she was back in bed in five minutes.


We aren’t really solidifying plans to end our days as wards of the medical system, I mean, who DOES that.  But if


Plan A) to get really ridiculously old but also miraculously in shape and just gradually eat less and less until we fade away right where we are


… doesn’t work out, and

Plan B) to spend the last of our cash on a fabulous trip around the world and then drive off a cliff together in a brand new Porsche


… has to be cancelled for lack of discipline and foresight






Everybody fall in …




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