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A few days ago, I told a friend that I felt like I wanted to write about a certain subject, but the very thought of it made me nervous. Then I saw that this month is Mental Health Awareness Month and I knew it was time. Time to just admit that things aren’t perfect, that at times they are in fact downright scary, and acknowledge that I’ve got an awesome support system around me to get me through it.

First things first: I’ve been diagnosed with ADD, major depressive disorder and PTSD. I also have a thyroid condition, which can at times exacerbate all three of these. Let’s just say my brain is a virtual minefield and I’ve taken a wrong step a time or two or a thousand. Things can be going great and then KABLOOEY! I’m in a funk so strong I can’t even get out of bed.

Those who know me know that I’m pretty open about things. I feel no shame in my diagnoses. But what I do have an issue with is admitting when I’m in the middle of an episode. I retreat within myself and avoid contact and just generally try to keep everyone thinking things are fine and I’m fine and everything’s going to be fine. All the while, my brain is doing this:

Yeah, that’s my brain in animated gif form. I love animated gifs. They are so awesome for expressing yourself.

So, while on the inside I’m a mess, I’m pretty stoic to those around me. I try, in my own warped way, to let people in by dropping hints here and there that things aren’t ok. Most times, it doesn’t work and I just come across like I’m a whiny brat. To their credit, I give really crappy hints. I wish I was better at letting people know that I’m in internal freak out mode. I think it would make my relationships a lot less stressful.

SuperDad is abso-freaking-lutely amazing for putting up with all of my issues over the past 12 years. When other folks run screaming for the hills, he’s still there, waiting for it to pass and trying to help me through it in whatever way I will allow him. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

This past year and a half has been particularly rough. From getting my PTSD diagnosis, to going through therapy for that, to having people I considered friends using my openness against me, to SuperDad changing careers and my having to start working full time outside the home rather suddenly… Let’s just say those animated gifs up there are an understatement.

One of the major struggles I’ve had over the past few years is how to be a mother to my children during my episodes. It got to the point that they were asking to “visit mommy in bed” because I was spending days/weeks shut up in my bedroom. That was one of the driving forces behind me going back to therapy, which in turn produced the PTSD diagnosis, which in turn explained SO MANY THINGS. Therapy has certainly helped, but I still fight my demons every day. But knowing I have those little girls to provide for and raise to be decent human beings is one of the only things that keeps me going some days.

To a lot of people, they see me make decisions or take certain actions and they think I’m impulsive and flighty. Little do they know that even getting to the point of being able to make a decision is weeks and weeks of panic, anxiety, dread, second guessing and doubt. SuperDad is really the only one who knows how much I anguish over certain decisions. Even when, to anyone else, the choice is clear, I can never just accept that. But this is even more so the case when my decision isn’t the popular choice. I dealt with this recently and while it hurt to have friends take my choice personally, it was quite literally a lifesaving decision for me. But I feel like even saying that makes it sound less true. Like admitting that I was at one of my lowest points and I had to do something, ANYTHING to save myself from doing something stupid makes it an invalid excuse somehow. But again, I know SuperDad was there through it all and we made the decision together.

And yet, still I struggle. Still I deal with the crippling fear that I’m not adequate. That I don’t measure up. That I’m a failure as a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. It’s absolutely exhausting constantly fighting this battle. But it’s so worth it. I look at my family and I think, “They deserve more.”

A lot has happened here with The Funny Family. SuperDad got downsized from his job of 10 years, leaving us scrambling to figure out our next steps. We had considered moving to be closer to my family and I even went down to interview for a job there. That didn’t pan out, but in the meantime, Super Dad decided to make a career change, after 20+ years in the same field. *cue my panic attack due to all the unknowns*

So, SuperDad registered for classes and got himself licensed as a real estate agent. He’s now all official and stuff, so he’s hit the ground running. It’s good to see him so excited about his career again and I’m looking forward to see him create his own success instead of depending on people who care nothing about him or our family stringing him along with promises of pay increases and possible new positions that never come to be. I know he’s going to be fantastic at this.

With CityGirl and BittyGirl now in 4th grade and 2nd grade, that left DittyGirl at home with me. BUT WAIT! She got accepted into the public school pre-k program and will be in school as well. *cue my immense excitement* She totally needs the structured day school will provide and the socialization with other kids.

So where does that leave me? Lounging around the house in solitude everyday, sipping adult beverages and eating bon bons, awaiting their arrival home from school? Well, no. I’ve always had a job (or jobs) while I’ve been at home with the girls, but I felt the need for even more change. I’d gotten myself a little part time job outside the home doing really banal tasks that bored me to tears and left me feeling extremely useless. I quickly learned that I needed to find something that would help me feel productive and useful. I decided I wanted to do something that would actually make a difference.

A friend of mine told me I should apply to work with her. She’d recently been hired and would be working the graveyard shift (10pm-6am) part time. My little part time job let me make my own hours and I found working overnight was actually not that bad. So I applied. And I interviewed. And there was a day shift position available. And I got hired. And then it turned out that I could go full time immediately. So I accepted.

I just finished my first full week and I already know I made the best decision for myself and my family. But so much more went into this decision, I feel the need to talk about it. I cried while explaining it to SuperDad. Because it’s emotional and it revolves around people I loved very much. So I’m going to explain.

Elder care isn’t something many people think about. But I do. When my Granpa was in his last years, he was in a nursing home due to strokes and dementia. We visited often, but not as often as my Granny. Granny was there every. single. day. Granny, herself, had emphysema, so this wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for her either. But she was there by her husband’s side every day. Granpa got GREAT care. The nurses were attentive and jumped whenever he needed assistance. But as we walked through the halls to get to his room, I didn’t see everyone getting the same care. And as an 11-year-old, this made me sad. Knowing many of these folks didn’t even have family coming to see them broke my heart.

Years ago, before I even met SuperDad, I worked in a nursing home. I started as a receptionist, but was quickly promoted to an Activities Assistant. Soon after that, my immediate supervisor put in her notice and I was promoted to a management position as the Activities Director. I loved my job. I loved my residents. It was my favorite job ever. Still is to this day. When I got the job, Granny told me that I had better treat those folks like family, and I promised I always would. I loved joking around with them and listening to them talk about their lives. They saw so much history happening around them. I threw a birthday party for a resident who turned 100 years old and made a list of all the things that were invented during her lifetime. It was quite eye opening.

So, here I am now, about 14 years later. I am a caregiver at a local assisted living facility. I still remember my promise to my Granny. It’s certainly not what anyone would consider a glamorous position. But I get to treat these residents the way I would want my family treated. I get to help make their day brighter. I get to listen to them tell me about their lives. I’ve only been there 5 days, and I already know a good bit about many of the residents. One worked for the state for over 35 years. Another lived in Alaska and loved it there. One never had children. One woman loves to be sarcastic and joke around with the staff. One woman can’t handle not being a help and insists on clearing the tables after breakfast. There’s a couple who just moved in and the husband is always telling his wife how much he loves her and that he loves looking over to see her pretty face. They sit on the front porch, their heads leaning against each other while they talk.

This is my extended family. These are the people I leave my house to help take care of and then I come home and love on my own family. It’s not just a job, it’s a privilege.

SisterFriend sent this to me this week, and it couldn’t be more perfect:

residents

Christmas shopping. It’s happening. Well, some people already finished, but I’m not nearly that together. This year, when Super Dad asked me what I wanted (we don’t do subtle hints around here), I was at a loss. Completely and totally. I have no clue what I would like. I’m super practical, usually. Last year, I asked for a nice set of pots and pans, after the set we’d received as a wedding gift 10 years prior had seen their better days.

I guess since I already got my black Christmas tree and wreath, I pretty much feel like that’s it for me this year. I’ve been wanting one for YEARS and it finally happened. I’m a happy girl. No really, it’s a black tree and wreath. No, I don’t find it morbid. Yes, I intend to use them for Halloween next year. More bang for my buck! If it wasn’t taking up the spot the girls’ Lego table usually resides, I may have left that sucker up year round. (Here’s hoping our new kitties, Freddie and Angus, don’t kill it this year.)

And as is usually the case, we’re doing the majority of our shopping online this year. I’m a bargain hunting fool, but you won’t catch me out in the crowds on Black Thursday or Friday. Nope. I sit home and shop in my pajamas. I do help myself out by using Ebates.com, which helps me make some money off the things I’m already going to buy anyway. If you haven’t used it, you really should. I’ve been a member since 2008 and it feels like I’m getting paid to shop. At home. In my pajamas. Because social anxiety is fun at Christmas time.

I really appreciate my parents for not going nuts on gifts. My mom mentioned one year after I was married with kids that she liked the “3 gift rule” that they’d stuck to when we were kids. SisterFriend and I couldn’t believe that was the case. So we started recalling the gifts of Christmases past and sure enough, we only got three gifts each year. (This didn’t include the obligatory socks, underwear and batteries for whatever we got.) Just goes to show how much we didn’t focus on it! I hope my own children are learning to look outside of the WHAT and focus on the WHY of Christmas. But I can’t help but love gifting them with things at Christmas. I’ve never been much of a giver, but having little people whose faces light up on Christmas morning will take the Grinch right out of you. (I will admit, I do sneak practical gifts in there too. I just can’t help myself.)

So how do you handle Christmas in your family? Do you go into major debt every December? Are you a Black Friday Warrior? Do you shop online in your pajamas like me? Let me know!

DittyGirl is in speech therapy and on the way out the door to take her, I grabbed a drink for myself. Not too long after I got off the exit and headed down the road towards town, blue lights lit up behind me. I glanced down at the speedometer. Nope, not speeding. I got into the right lane, thinking the police officer would pass by me. Nope, he didn’t. I slowed down and pulled off the road. I started wondering what on earth I’d done to get pulled over. “I paid that ticket from the other state that I got on vacation a year and a half ago. Did I put the proof in the van? No? Ugh, is this what’s going to land me in jail?”

Kind of silly, huh? But that’s how my brain works. Instant Worst Case Scenario.

As the officer approached my Mom Mobile (read: minivan), I got a huge lump in my throat and rolled down the window. My wallet was sitting right next to me in the console. My proof of insurance is in the mobile app for my bank. Registration is up to date. BREATHE.

“Ma’am, I’d like to see that bottle.” OH CRAP. My drink. It didn’t even dawn on me. My drink of choice that day?

IBC Cream Soda

IBC Cream Soda

The officer had seen me taking a swig of my delicious cream soda as I drove down the road. I quickly handed him the bottle and he looked at it, sniffed it and then laughed. And I laughed. We both laughed. I quipped, “The funny thing is that I don’t even like beer!” He apologized for taking up my time and told me to have a good day. He walked back to his cruiser and then that’s when it happened.

PANIC ATTACK.

Why? Because I have a fun little phobia called dikephobia. No, it’s not a fear of lesbians.

dikephobia
an abnormal fear or dislike of justice.

That’s right, I fear justice. More specifically, authority figures who have the ability to arrest me or send me to jail. Police, judges, what have you. Now why on earth would I be afraid of that? Too many episodes of Law & Order? Not really, even though I’ve probably watched every single episode of the original series, SVU and Criminal Intent. But I digress…

I know the exact moment that this phobia entered my life. When I was a young girl, my father used metal nail files. He kept one on his dresser at all times. SisterFriend and I would use them, but we were really bad about putting them back. Of course, it was irritating. So we were forbidden to use them, unless we put them back.

One day, the nail file went missing. Admittedly, it was usually my fault. But this time, it wasn’t. I hadn’t touched the sacred file. My dad told me to just admit I’d taken it and that would be it. But I couldn’t. I hadn’t done it. I wouldn’t admit to something I hadn’t done. There was a LOT of back and forth. It got to the point that my parents sat me in the living room and basically interrogated me for THREE HOURS. (I’m sure it’s much worse in my mind now than it actually was back then, but I’m not exaggerating the amount of time. I’m pretty sure they just told me I couldn’t get up until I admitted my “crime” and sporadically asked me if I was ready to fess up.)

For THREE HOURS, I held firm. I never doubted my innocence. Eventually, they gave up. I think I was sent to my room to “think about what I’d done”. I cried. A lot.

Flash forward several years. This whole situation came up while my family was reminiscing about our childhood years. SisterFriend says, “Man, I felt SO BAD when that was happening.” I asked why she would feel bad and she said, “Well, I had the nail file.” WHAT?! She sat in her room and said NOTHING for three hours! Can you believe that?

So, of course, I have to give her a hard time about this every time something like this happens. But the phobia is real. And it’s not fun. My worst nightmare is getting arrested for a crime I did not commit or even worse – getting convicted! If a police officer pulls into traffic behind me, I stop breathing for a short time. Panic attacks are not uncommon. (That ticket I mentioned earlier? I had to call a friend to talk to me on the phone for the last two hours of my drive to keep me from freaking out.) Fun times, fun times.

So, lesson learned. IBC Cream Soda will not be consumed in the car, unless it’s in a can!

Do you have any phobias you’re not embarrassed to admit?  Help me feel a little less crazy and let me know in the comments. Bonus points for any funny stories involving them!

Penn State Students Clash With Police in Unrest After Announcement

I read this article and I’m seriously wondering what is wrong with our world. Has hero worship really gone this far? Are the youth of today ready to turn a blind eye to the cover up of sexual abuse just because a guy has helped a team win some football games?

“I think the point people are trying to make is the media is responsible for Joe Pa going down,” said a freshman, Mike Clark, 18, adding that he believed that Mr. Paterno had met his legal and moral responsibilities by telling university authorities about an accusation that Mr. Sandusky assaulted a boy in a university shower in 2002.

No, no, no. The media is not responsible. The people in power at the university who did nothing to stop the abuse are responsible. The media would have nothing to report on if they had done the right thing before all of this. Sandusky would have been the only one in the news. Joe Paterno could have easily avoided this by properly reporting this abuse.

“We got rowdy, and we got maced,” Jeff Heim, 19, said rubbing his red, teary eyes. “But make no mistake, the board started this riot by firing our coach. They tarnished a legend.”

No, I’m sorry Jeff, but the board did NOT start the riot. YOU STARTED THE RIOT. They tarnished a legend? Seriously? Joe Paterno tarnished his OWN legacy by allowing this abuse to continue. HE COULD HAVE MADE IT RIGHT. Imagine how much MORE of a legend he would be if he had put an end to this the minute he knew of the abuse. He would have been heralded as not only a great coach, but an advocate for the protection of children.

…Justin Muir, 20, a junior studying hotel and restaurant management, threw rolls of toilet paper into the trees.

“It’s not fair,” Mr. Muir said hurling a white ribbon. “The board is an embarrassment to our school and a disservice to the student population.”

No, Justin. The demonstrators who decided committing crimes of their own to protest against someone being fired for committing a crime are the embarrassment to the school. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU. Where are the protests to show support for the boys who had their innocence ripped away from them? Where is the outrage over THAT?

They flipped over a news van. They damaged other cars by climbing on them and dancing on them. Police officers were assualted. All because someone covered up sexual abuse of young boys.

Mixed in the crowd were a few dissenting opinions. Dan Smith, 21, a junior studying secondary education, said he thought the board was correct.

“The hardest part, because he was a hero to me, is coming to grips with what he did, or actually what he didn’t do,” Mr. Smith said.

I love how they saved this part until the end of the article. At least SOMEONE gets it. Thank you, Dan, for that. Thank you for pointing out that he did something wrong. Thank you for making some sense.

I have way more to say. But my children can read my blog and I don’t want to use the words that are in my head right now.

I have learned the power of social networking today. While we were dealing with the Apple Store stuff on Friday, SuperDad tweeted about it. Later, I noticed someone retweeted his post and went to see who it was. I saw it was a Twitter account devoted to all things Apple Store. I tweeted my blog post and put an @mention to them. Apparently things snowballed from there. I started getting comments, some nice, some “do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” bad and some very helpful. (You won’t see the worst ones, those went in the trash where they belong.)

Apparently, some people sent it to Matthew, the manager at the Mall of Georgia Apple Store. He read the blog and commented. And then, he called. His simple apology was exactly what is missing in customer service today. He acknowledged that things went poorly. He said those two little words that hold SO much weight with someone who feels they’ve been wronged: “I’m sorry.”

At that, I was satisfied. That was all I really wanted. He did offer to replace my phone, but just the night before, SuperDad had listed it on eBay and within a minute it was bought and paid for. The purchase price covered the cost for an upgrade to the 4S, so I was happy with that.

I explained that we had sold it and my plan to upgrade and my hopes I could get through the reservation process this evening. My attempts at that on Monday evening were futile. Matthew asked what kind I was wanting, called his store and had them set aside one that was in stock for me. I really appreciate him doing that for me.

We are on our way to the store now. I’m actually posting this from my cracked phone, which we ship off tomorrow to the eBay buyer. Matthew, by just acknowledging the issue and apologizing, made things right. He went above and beyond by setting aside the phone for me. I have a very real expectation that other customers at his store will be treated with more respect now.

Edit: Wanted to add that I was treated very well by Brooke and Monica when I was in the store to purchase my upgrade. (Monica gets bonus points for complimenting my glasses.) I’m hoping my experience on Friday was just a one off thing and it won’t happen to another customer again.

The lesson retailers should learn from this? Treat your customers with respect. Learn how to say no without being rude or condescending.

Since some people seem to think I’m simply complaining about not getting my phone replaced, some clarification: I am angry simply because I was treated so poorly by the employees at this particular Apple Store. I asked for a replacement, yes. Because if you don’t ask, you have a 100% chance of getting “no” as an answer. I only asked once with each person I spoke with. I DID ask why I wasn’t being offered one when others were. I was not rude to any of the employees. I asked questions to clarify what I was being told and WAS NOT GIVEN ANY ANSWERS.

    My issue is plain and simple: Customers should NOT be treated like I was at the Mall of Georgia Apple Store.

A chain of events has occurred which I wish I could completely erase from my memory. I just got home from the tail end of it and I’ve got a headache and feel nauseated from the stress. Tears have been shed and angry words have been spoken.

All because of my iPhone.

It all started yesterday afternoon. I came upstairs and plugged my iPhone in to charge and set it on my nightstand. I went and took a shower. I had somewhere to be at 6pm. I wanted my phone charged before I left so I could keep in touch with SuperDad, who would be staying home with our three girls. He kept the girls downstairs with him so I could bathe uninterrupted. Not a common thing around here these days.

I got out of the shower and came into our office, which is right off the bedroom. I sat down at the computer and pulled up Facebook. A friend from high school had posted a funny picture of her daughter and I commented on it. So did a bunch of other people. I could hear my iPhone vibrating from the notifications from all the new comments. Since I was at the computer, I was reading them from my browser. After a few minutes and many new comments on that photo, I heard a slight thunk in the bedroom. I got up and walked in to find my iPhone on the floor. I went to go pick it up and that’s when my stomach dropped. The screen was shattered. Not just cracked. The glass looked like I had decorated it for Halloween with a massive spiderweb. There were tiny chunks of glass missing and I even got a shard in my hand just by picking it up. There were slivers of glass on the laminate floor of our bedroom.

I screamed. Loudly. SuperDad thought I’d seen a huge rat or something. I was sick to my stomach. How could this have happened? I took the phone downstairs to show him. I took HIS iPhone and took a picture, which didn’t even begin to capture the true damage to the screen. I posted the picture to my Facebook. I got a bunch of comments and messages from people who were trying to help me figure out what options I had. I heard from three different people who had something similar happen and they all told me to make an appointment at the Apple Store and take it in. They had had their phones replaced at no cost when they accidentally dropped theirs. One of those people dropped theirs off a 7th floor balcony. Seeing as how I wasn’t even touching the phone when it happened and it was a function of the phone itself that caused it to fall, I thought it would be covered by the warranty.

We made a 3:40pm appointment at the Apple Store at the Mall of Georgia. We got up the next day and chaperoned a field trip for CityGirl’s class. After school, we took an hour drive to the Apple Store and even got there a little early. I checked in and waited. And waited. I was told they were running a little behind. I finally got called up to the Genius Bar, where a guy whom I believe was named Chad, shook my hand and then immediately started looking at his computer screen. I explained what happened with my phone when I checked in and they put notes in the system. Chad didn’t even look at my phone when I sat down. He just looked at his screen and said, “Oh, good news, I can offer you a reduced price on a replacement, it will only be $149.” I looked at him and said, “I’m sorry, you haven’t even looked at the phone. I wasn’t touching it when it fell. I wasn’t even in the same ROOM with it when it fell. It vibrated off my nightstand. As far as I’m concerned, that’s normal usage, which should be covered under the warranty.” That is when he finally looked at my phone. LOOKED AT IT, mind you, he never touched it. “I can tell from looking at it that there are multiple points of impact.” I said, “Well, unless it hit the floor a couple times after it fell, maybe. But I wouldn’t know since I wasn’t in there.”

That’s when he looked at me and said, “That does not look like damage caused from falling off a nightstand.” I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Are you calling me a liar? I’m not trying to pull a fast one here. I have spoken with THREE people who have had their screens cracked by their OWN NEGLIGENCE and they had them replaced. I set my phone on a flat surface and the vibrate feature in your product caused it to shimmy off my nightstand. There has got to be another answer.” He then started the broken record treatment, “The best I can do is $149. The best I can do is $149. The best I can do is $149.” At this point, SuperDad was at the front of the store with the girls. I couldn’t text him, obviously, as my phone was sitting on the counter and a simple swipe of the screen would get me splinters of glass in my fingers. Chad then said, “So, are we going ahead with the replacement? Let me get that started.” I said, “No, we are not. I am not paying $149 to replace a phone for which I paid $75.” This is when he lost me completely. He laughed and then scoffed, “The iPhone 4 has never been that price.” I said, “Again, you are calling me a liar?” I got up, took my phone and walked out. I was livid.

(Point of fact: I upgraded to the iPhone 4 in December of 2010. Radio Shack was offering a trade in of $75 for an iPhone 3G with a $50 instant rebate, bringing the price down to $75. So yes, I did pay $75 for my iPhone 4. It was my Christmas present from SuperDad. I had to be put on a wait list for it and got it on December 31st.)

At the front of the store, I asked to speak to someone else as I was very unhappy with the treatment I received from Chad. The young lady asked me if I had an appointment. I said yes and she said, “Did you miss your appointment time?” I told her I had not, I was there early and they were running behind and I had already spoken with the Genius. A guy in a black shirt was called over and I explained the situation and the treatment I received. He just said, “Well that’s not covered by the warranty.” I said I understood that, but knowing that people have received replacements for instances that were their fault, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t being offered any kind of assistance and was being treated so rudely. He said, “We’re not saying this is your fault.” So I asked, “Who’s fault is it then?” He repeated, “We’re not saying this is your fault.”

I despise the broken record treatment. DESPISE IT. I looked over at SuperDad and said, “Let’s go, this is ridiculous. I don’t want to sit here and continue to be treated like this.” We walked away from the store and I sat on a bench and called Apple. After a 15 minute hold, the representative on the phone asked me how I was doing and I said, “Well, not good after just spending the past hour in one of your stores.” He said he was sorry to hear that and asked me to explain what was going on. I told him and he said he was sorry for the rudeness and repeated that the damage isn’t covered by the warranty. When I mentioned the people I know who have had a free replacement, he said, AND I QUOTE “Well, maybe you just got someone who was having a bad day.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I asked him, “So, basically what you just said is that because one of your employees is having a bad day, it’s ok to treat me with disrespect?” He said no, but maybe that’s why I wasn’t getting more help and maybe I could try to come back another day. Seriously. So if I had come in and Chad had seen a double rainbow on the way to work that day, I might have gotten my phone replaced? What kind of customer service is that?!

SuperDad had gone to talk to AT&T (our carrier) while I was waiting to see Chad and they told him I was eligible for a discounted upgrade to a iPhone 4s. After discussing it, we decided to go ahead and do that. So I went BACK into the Apple Store and told them I wanted to upgrade. I waited again for someone to help me. The young man who helped me asked me how I was doing and I showed him my phone and said, “Not very good.” He laughed and said, “Oh that sucks.” I cut my eyes at him and said, “I’m really not in the mood for jokes, I am not happy about spending this money.” He put in the request for the phone and then said someone would bring it out to us. He continued to make lighthearted comments about my broken phone and said, “Guess you’ll be more careful with this one, huh?” Again, I said I wasn’t in the mood for jokes. It was at this point that he told me that Apple Care made some changes recently and NOW it covers accidental damage. About 10 minutes later, another employee came up and that’s when I was told they were out of the 16GB 4S in both black and white. Would I want to go ahead and upgrade to the 32GB for $100 more? Uh, no. He laughed AGAIN and said, “This day keeps getting worse for you, huh?” At this point, I started to cry. He kept poking fun at all the misfortune I was experiencing and I had enough. He AGAIN laughed and said, “Well you can always reserve one online, but you have to do it at 9pm or else they’ll all be gone.” I was in shock at this point. I just walked out.

I was called a liar twice and laughed at on multiple occasions. I just can’t understand how so many people told me how great Apple customer service is and this is the treatment I received. I was willing to pay money to upgrade and then felt ridiculed while trying to do that! Ridiculous and completely unacceptable.

Ok, so maybe I need to change the name of my blog to “The Serious Sister”. Just been doing some heavy thinking lately and this is the only place I can really let it out!

An open letter to other adults who are older than me:

I understand that you think that I’m “only 32” and I’ve still got a lot of living to do. I sure hope that’s the case, to be honest. While I understand you think I’m young and inexperienced, I’d like to explain to you why your dismissal of my thoughts and opinions is not only hurtful, but could be detrimental to others.

I’m a firm believer that God allows us to go through certain things in order to strengthen us. He puts situations in some of our lives and teaches us things from those that He wants us to use later on to help others. When you have received a very clear calling from God in this area, it’s foolish not to take heed and follow through. I know this because I’ve lived through something and received that very call. And while I’m “only 32”, I feel I’ve lived a lot of life in that time. I was forced to learn lessons and gain wisdom on matters that some people NEVER learn because they, quite thankfully, never go through something like I did.

So when I speak, please don’t think to yourself, “She has no idea what life is really all about.” I don’t claim to know that. But God has shown me things and brought me through things in order to be a light for Him – and if you snuff out that light, you’re hurting God – not me. I’ve got things to say. I’ve got things to share. I know from experience that “more mature” adults can learn a thing or two by listening to my life stories, as I’ve been told that on several occasions.

This isn’t a prideful thing either. It’s just the truth.

I read this article after it was posted by my pastor’s wife. I figured I’d dust off the ol’ blog here and give my opinion on it, because believe me, I have one.

Ok, first of all, let me get this out of the way: I have VERY strong opinions on adultery. The people I love and care about the most in this world have been deeply affected by it. I do not take it lightly. If you are a friend of mine and you do it, chances are we won’t be friends after I find out about it. Yes, I know all about forgiveness. Yes, I know it’s a sin like any other. But once trust is broken, whether it be in a marriage or a friendship, it’s hard to regain that trust.

With that said…

Are you KIDDING me?! I’m sorry, but Facebook is NOT the cause of these affairs. The hearts and minds of the people committing the adultery is what is causing it. Personal responsibility has apparently gone the way of the dodo bird. I have a very good feeling that these couples would be in the same exact position had they had Facebook accounts or not. There are entire websites specifically devoted to helping MARRIED people find someone with which to have an affair, so I know it’s not just Facebook causing the issue.

If a marriage is going to be affected by adultery, it’s going to be affected by adultery. Not using a particular website is NOT going to stop that. Those marriages obviously had issues BEFORE these old flames were reconnected with on Facebook.

Full disclosure: Both SuperDad and I have Facebook accounts. Neither of us has the other one’s log in information. We both have former boyfriends/girlfriends on our accounts. Neither one of us cares and we know this because we have openly discussed it with each other. If one of us was to become uncomfortable with someone on the other person’s account, we would just ask them to delete that person. It’s called mutual respect and it is VITAL to a marriage. If I have specific communication with an ex I tell SuperDad about it out of respect to him as my husband. He has done the same with me.

This pastor forcing his church leaders to give up their account is totally missing the target when it comes to dealing with marital issues. Yes, I will admit, there are probably some people who should not have Facebook accounts because it can lead to trouble. But, I will say it again: The problem is NOT Facebook. The problem is that these people have hearts and minds prone to that kind of distraction in their marriage. Address THAT issue, Rev. Miller. Focus on healing the issues in the marriage that cause these spouses to be looking elsewhere to begin with and then you might actually make a difference.

And shouldn’t he be forcing ALL church leadership, not just those that are married, to give up these accounts? If you’re going to make that demand of the married folks, why not the single? Why not be concerned that Facebook could connect those single leaders with someone with whom they could have a premarital sexual relationship?

One of the comments on the article pretty much hit the nail on the head. What is right for some is not right for others:

“Facebook doesn’t cause marital problems anymore than guns kill people. People are the ones responsible and saying social media is the cause of something takes away personal responsibility. Anyone who can’t deal with the temptation of an ex’s friend request shouldn’t accept the request in the first place. If they accept the request and things start getting too personal, they should unfriend them. If someone just can’t take the temptation at all, they should delete their account. And maybe cancel their internet service as well since there are plenty of other sites, not just facebook. In 1 Corinthians 10:27-30, Paul talks about listening to your conscience and considering others. Some things might be wrong for me but not for you, and vice versa. Someone who struggles with alcohol shouldn’t drink at all, and (I think) others should not drink in front of them. But (I also believe) enjoying a glass of wine or beer isn’t wrong. Everything in your personal Christian walk is not an absolute, although a lot is. I think the pastor has his heart in the right place, but I think he should focus on the personal responsibility of his members and trying to show that they need to walk more closely with God.”

(For some good reading on the scripture referenced in the comment, see David Guzik’s commentary on it.)

I understand that Facebook can make it a lot easier for people to reconnect with their past flames. But not EVERYONE who reconnects with an old flame is going to spark a fire. For a lot of people, those embers died out long ago and there’s nothing left to be sparked. For the old boyfriends I have on my account, I also happen to have their wives friended as well. It’s good to see people happy in their current lives and share in that with them.

If SuperDad ever wanted to see messages or anything else on my Facebook account, I would log in and give him carte blanche to look at it. Again, I have nothing to hide, so why wouldn’t I? I can say with utmost certainty that he would do the same for me. Again, mutual respect, trust and openness along with a close relationship with God – all keys to a healthy, thriving marriage. This is what works for us.

I think the pastor making such a blanket recommendation for such a large congregation is a bit on the foolish side. Making this particular demand of his married leadership, while within his rights as the pastor, makes me wonder about his own trust in that leadership. If you think a website is going to be the downfall of marriages in your church, focus on strengthening the foundation of those marriages FIRST. Then maybe the “temptation” Facebook’s ease of connecting with others presents to those already headed down that path wouldn’t be such an issue.

When we found out CityGirl was going to be of the female persuasion, one of the first things I said when we got in the car after the midwife appointment was an excited, “I’m going to get an Easy-Bake Oven!”  The anticipation was intense.  But, there’s a reason…

When I was a little girl, I got an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas one year.  I was SO excited.  I could not wait to make some baked goods with the heat from a 100-watt lightbulb.  It wasn’t just about baking, it was almost a science experiment at the same time, which was fun for me.  (Yeah, I was a weird kid.)  I put the little orange oven into my closet and daydreamed about the day I would get to use it for the first time.

This is what mine looked like.  I will never forget that orange plastic.

This is what mine looked like. I will never forget that orange plastic.

Not long after Christmas, I went to use my Easy-Bake Oven.  I pulled it out and then went to get the instruction manual so I would know what to do.  (I still have a thing about reading the instructions for things even when I know what I’m doing.  I got the engineering gene from Dad and can basically reverse-engineer almost anything.  So it’s not like I *need* the instructions, I just like knowing they are there.)  One problem – the instructions were no where to be found.

At this point, we had a housekeeper who came in once or twice a month to clean our house.  Best I can figure, she accidentally threw away my instruction booklet.  It was there one day and then she came to clean and it was gone.  I had no idea what to do with my little orange plastic oven.  I was mortified.

Being the rational young kid that I was (SisterFriend, stop laughing), I decided to write to the company and ask for a new instruction booklet.  So that’s what I did – in crayon.  I waited and waited, yet my instruction booklet never came.  (Is your heart breaking yet?  No?  What are you, made of STONE?!)

I mourned the uselessness of my Easy-Bake Oven.  Time passed, and I would walk by displays for the wonderful toy at the store and sigh wistfully.  Years passed and I yearned for a daughter, who would give me an excuse to buy this fantastic little plastic oven and give me back my chance to actually USE one.

The other day, we were spending time at our friend’s house.  The kids were playing outside and I put BittyGirl down for a nap.  When I walked outside, there, sitting on the front steps in front of me, was an Easy-Bake Oven.  SuperDad looked at me and said, “Hey, look what it is!”  Instead of snatching the thing up and yelling, “MINE!” like I wanted to do, I just nodded and said, “Yeah, that’s cool.”  Our friend said, “So your husband just told me this sob story about you and an Easy-Bake Oven…  That’s for you.”  SuperDad said he was hoping for more of a reaction out of me and I told him I hadn’t wanted to ASSUME it was for me.  But when I got confirmation, I jumped up and down like a little girl and squeeled.

They sure have come a long way in 20 years, don't you think?

They sure have come a long way in 20 years, don't you think?

Last night, CityGirl was asking to use it.  I opened up the box, checked to make sure there was a lightbulb in it… and realized there was no instruction booklet.  Thank God for the internet. There was also no tiny little cake pans, but I know they sell replacement ones so we’ll go pick those up later this week.

The point is, I’VE GOT AN EASY-BAKE OVEN!  WOO HOO!!!  Uh, er, I mean… CITYGIRL GOT AN EASY-BAKE OVEN!  WOO HOO!!!  😀

Edited to add: Even more reason to thank God for the internet!  The friend who gave us the Easy-Bake Oven saw my blog post and informed me that she has the pans for it at her house.  Most excellent.  🙂

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