Married People say the Darndest Things!

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

While this post is intended to be lighthearted, it does concern me to see young and old people pressured by society into marriages that are not healthy. We live in a culture that seems to think that a bad relationship is better than no relationship at all. This simply is not true. It also concerns me that many people spend more energy trying to find a spouse instead of finding God! Now onto the lighthearted (yet true!) stuff……

Most of my friends are married. I don’t do singles groups for the simple reason that I don’t think of myself as a “single person”. I think of myself as a “person”, and I hang out with married and single people who think of themselves and me as people, and not labels. A lot of singles, like myself enjoy mainstream life because we don’t make a big deal about being singe. We just live our normal lives. My church is a multi-racial church and we all get along great because we simply don’t think of each other as a certain race. We just think of each other as people. I not only worship with other races, I work with and play with people from all races and cultural backgrounds. We don’t ignore our differences. We just don’t label each other anything other than “people.” To me, having a singles social is about as silly as having a white peoples social. Why don’t we forget our skin color and marital status and just have a people social? Well by George that’s what we do.  I don’t think a lot about being single. I don’t run home from work each night and pray, begging God to send me someone. Instead I just live a normal life with normal friends.

After all, if I do find a wife I want her to be normal, and what better place to find a normal mainstream woman than in mainstream society, instead of a group of singles trying to avoid mainstream life?

Now even though most people can live normal mainstream lives in a multi-racial culture, you will still occasionally hear people say silly things about other races. They are not so much racist as just ignorant. Likewise, while I enjoy living my single life with normal married and single people I have still heard some silly things over time.

Anyway all this is just an introduction to my personal top ten list of things I have actually heard married people say over the years. Please remember these are all exceptions to the normal mainstream things I hear from normal mainstream people.  I want to stress again that I live in a mainstream society that treats people like people and does not label them, single or married, black or white, rich or poor, Yankees fan or Rays Fan. Okay maybe we isolate the Yankees fan, but everyone else gets treated normal. What makes the list below so funny is that it is so non-mainstream, random and just plain weird!

Top Ten Darndest Things I Have Heard Married People Say.

10. “How can you preach about sex while you are single?”

This was a comment from a lady about my blog post about sexual purity. Apparently the lady commenting did not realize that single people are sexual. Yes, celibate people are still sexual. You don’t have to be sexually active to be sexual. Therefore, any person who is either male or female has a gender, and is authorized to preach about sex. After all, I am a sex.

9. “How can you be an elder since you are single?”

I was only asked this one time, but I have heard about other people being asked the same thing. 99.9% of the protestant world understands that when Paul mentioned that an elder should be the husband of one wife (See 1 Timothy 3) that he was not making marriage mandatory but was speaking against polygamy. For the other .01% let me explain it this way. When you tell your child they can go to the candy store but only get one piece of candy, you remind them as they leave, “get one piece of candy!” Now you are not demanding they get one piece of candy are you? No. You are just meaning only one. It’s that simple folks. It really is.

8. “Don’t worry, you will find someone.”

Who said I was worried, and who said I was looking, and who said “someone” needs to be found?

7. “Why have you never married?”

Possible answers to this question might be, “I guess I am too ugly” or, “I didn’t know I was suppose to get married.” I just scratch my head and wonder why they asked me that, instead of not asking me why I have never been scuba diving. Both questions are just as relevant in my mind.  By the way I have never asked a person, “why are you married” or “why are you divorced?” Such questions about marital status never cross my mind. I guess it’s the introvert in me, only wanting to think and talk about important things, that are relevant to mainstream society. Instead of wondering why people are married or not, I wonder about important things, like “Why doesn’t Cincinnati have an NBA or NHL team? No seriously! I am asking! Why not?

6. “I can see why they have never married!”

This is usually said when a single person exhibits a quirk in their personality. They forget that married people have their quirks too. The saying does not bother me. Actually, single people use that same phrase all the time too. We just apply it to other singles and not ourselves.  Ha ha

5. “Sure! That’s what normal people do.”

That was the response I got from a friend, when I mentioned that I heard his niece was getting married. So, was he insinuating something and I was just too dense to get it? This same friend also has the number one comment at the end of my list. By the way, while normal people get married strange people get married too, and vice versa for singles.

4. “We would like to invite you to Thanksgiving dinner if you have no place to go.”

No thanks. I’ve already had several invites from families who invited me because they like me.

3. “We would invite you, but you would just feel like a third wheel.”

Really? How do you know? And why would I feel like a third wheel? Because you all are purple and I am white? Or because you all are Catholic and I am protestant? Or because you all were born in New England and I was born in Oklahoma? Please help me with that one. I don’t know what to feel like a third wheel about. That’s okay. I’m not a wheel anyway. I’m going to go hang out with people. I’m a people.

2. “Wow! How did you know that? You’re single!”

A lady asked me this, years ago, when I asked if she was expecting. She was a casual drinker and made the comment she could not have alcohol right now. I asked if she was expecting to which she said she was and then acted shocked and dismayed that a single man would know that a pregnant woman should not be drinking. Seriously people? Do we need to go back to the top of the list?  (By the way I believe in abstinence from alcohol  for everyone so no need to write to me about that.)

1. “If you never get married and have kids, then when you die, it is like you’re whole life was all about nothing and you never existed.”

I was told this by the husband and father of a family I was having dinner with, in their home, at their invitation. I don’t think that one even deserves a rebuttal, but it is good for laughs whenever I remember that a real person actually said that! And no, he was not joking. It was a very serious and earnest comment.

See, married people really do say the darndest things!

My Top Ten Secrets Revealed!

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

My Top Ten Secrets Revealed!

10. I am “Voice”. In 1985, while attending Southern College of SDA (Now Southern Adventist University) I was doing my laundry at my sister’s house one night. Talk Net was on the radio with Bruce Williams, a business counselor. I decided I wanted to call in just for fun. I called into the national program and told Bruce I wanted to be a sports play by play announcer which I did. He told me to start working doing sports programs with my college radio station. I told him all they do is play classical music. Bruce then told me the radio station was not doing its job then in helping college students. Someone from the college was listening because the next week, in the college paper was my complete conversation! Since they did not know who I was I was simply called “voice”. The college paper blasted “voice” for not standing up for the school and radio station. Hey, I was just calling in just for fun! For weeks later letters poured into the college paper about the school radio station and “voice”.

9. It hurts very much to have my motives misread. About twenty years ago I was a literature evangelist traveling all over Oklahoma. Pagers we becoming popular at this time. This was before cell phones were popular. My grandfather died of a sudden heart attack and I always worried about my dad as well. I bought a pager so that if anything happened to my dad or mother while I was away I could find out and come back and be there for them. Since I was on a strapped budget someone accused me of wasting my money and just wanting to have the latest technology. That really hurt.

8. Back in the 80s when I had my own apartment in Tulsa, my mother was out of town. I called my dad to see what was up. He did not answer. I started getting worried. What if he had a heart attack and was laying alone on the floor with no one to help?  Being a guy I knew I could not act too concerned, so even though I had just done my laundry, I grabbed what little dirty clothes I had and headed over to my dad’s house “to do my laundry.” I was really just checking up on him. About the time I drove up to the house, my dad came in on his motorcycle, from an  evening ride. I just smiled, said hi and that I came to do my laundry. He just looked quizzically at my small bag of laundry.

7. I have openly claimed to be a Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and now Tampa bay Bucs fan, but for several years now, I have found myself loving it whenever the Detroit Lions win. I have never expressed it, but for several years now I think I have been a Lions fan. No joke. I am serious.

6. I miss working for UPS. It was a hard challenging job with good pay and benefits. I loved rising to the challenge. I also loved becoming a UPS supervisor and helping other people rise to the challenge as well. I felt good about myself while working there. It was very hard to quit. I am very happy to be in Florida now, but I wish there was a way I could have continued part time with UPS. There wasn’t.

5.  When I was in the 5th grade a friend of mine and I prank called a girl in our class. She asked who we were and we hung up. I am not going to disclose what we said, but I felt so bad after my friend left, that I called her back and apologized. She asked again who I was. I just said, “hey I’m sorry” and hung up! What a geek! I’m the only prank caller in history to call back and apologize!

4. I know without a doubt that I am no way close to being the best preacher, Bible worker, golfer, or photographer in the world. I do however, believe I make the best enchiladas in the world.

3. Sometimes I counsel myself in second person. I get outside my head and tell myself objectively how things are, and how other people feel and how I should respond. I talk to myself as if I was counseling somebody else.

2. I golf alone as well as with friends. My greatest fear is that my hole-in-one will come when I am golfing alone.

1. In my career as a Bible worker and lay pastor, my heroes are not preachers or teachers. I idolize the old man standing at the bedside of his ill wife 24/7. I am amazed at the grade school girl who campaigned at her school to get Christmas gifts for poor children, while her birthday was in December and with a father out of work, she got no birthday gift, and never made an effort to benefit from her campaign.  I respect the pathfinder leader who, instead of taking home her personal awards, puts them in the trophy case at church for the team. I admire the family man who stops by the church while no one is around and paints and fixes things without anyone ever knowing he came by. There are so many people in my life, who see themselves as ordinary everyday people, but I love, admire and respect them more than they will ever know! And they have taught me more about Jesus than I have ever taught them.

Jesus Wept: The Bible and Human Emotions, Lesson 4

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

You may download the weekly adult SS lesson to your android phone here.

 I am no David Letterman, but suddenly I am in the mood to write top ten lists. In conjunction with this week’s SS lesson, here it is:

Top Ten Tips for Relationships

10. Don’t let Satan sabotage your relationships. A few months ago, during a church social, I was visiting with a teenager I previously studied with, before they were baptized. We were talking about having friends, and relationships. I told them,  sometimes I feel like I care more about my friends and family than they care about me. They replied, “I do too!” Then they paused and said, “You know, I bet that is just Satan wanting everyone to feel that way.” It’s good to know my young friend is already onto Satan and his lies.

9. Friends come first. I admire cultures that put friends before things. In some cultures, being late for an appointment is totally justifiable if visiting with a friend made you late. In the United States, we let time and appointments rule our lives, while in most of the rest of the Americas, time is subordinate to people. In Texas, I had some friends from Mexico, who would throw all their plans and appointments for the day out the window, when company stopped by unexpectedly. They were happy to do this. I love a culture that ranks people as their number one resource.  If I have a friend call and ask me to hang out with them, I gladly forget the game I was getting ready to watch, and go hang out with them. Friends come first.

8. Do not be easily annoyed. If your friends do things that annoy you, guess what? You probably do things that annoy them too. Your friends can criticize you as easily as you can criticize them, if that’s really how you want to spend your life. Some people annoy us, because they are so desperate for our attention. For example, let’s say you and I walk into an Olive Garden and they tell us it will be a 30 minute wait for a table. You and I can calmly sit there and relax while we wait on a table. Now, if a man walked into the Olive Garden who had not eaten for  a week, no way would he be able to causally sit and wait 30 minutes for a table. He would be making a fool of himself trying to get some breadsticks or whatever he could get his hands on. Some people make fools of themselves when they are starved for attention. Put yourself in their shoes and give them some attention. I am not saying reward bad behavior, but look past people’s faults and see their needs.

7. With very seldom exceptions, never write off a friend. We are all human. The field goal kicker who missed the extra point last week, will kick the 50 yard game winning field goal this week. You get my point. The friend who let you down yesterday may be the one who saves your neck tomorrow, and the friend who saved your neck yesterday may not be there for you today. Sure there may be times you may need a little space from each other. Life is a football game. Your friends are the players and you are the coach. Sure, you can sit your friends on the bench for a while, but don’t kick them off the team. Know what I mean?

6. Communicate. People ask me what my favorite music and T.V. shows are, but fact is, I would much rather sit and visit than watch shows. I find people more fascinating than T.V. I can watch a movie when I am alone. If I am with people then I want to talk. Oh…..and listen to them talk too!

5. Don’t just hear. Listen. Several years ago in Texas, I had a lady Bible student who was enduring a lot of stress at work. She would leave work and meet me at the church for our Bible studies. She would go on and on about her work problems before I would steer the discussion towards the Bible study. One day, I decided when she came in, I was just going to listen and not say anything until she quit talking. Two hours later, when she stopped, I had prayer and we went home. No Bible study, but she got to talk while I listened.

4.   Always be honest and always be polite. This is especially true in organizations, including the church. Over the years I have sat on several different boards. Sometimes I have encountered people who were afraid to speak out because they did not feel influential or powerful. Some people feel other people get their way because they have more money. Well, no matter how rich or poor you are, you always need to speak you mind, and no matter how rich or poor you are, you need to be nice when you do.

3. Don’t tell your friends what their motives are. You can tell your friends when you do not feel their actions were appropriate or even unacceptable, but do not tell them what their motives were. After the Haitii earthquake, President Obama allowed illegal Haiti immigrants to stay in the U.S. for a while without being deported. Immediately Republicans started questioning his motives and accusing him of having selfish reasons for doing what he did. So what is Obama suppose to do in that situation? Do the wrong thing so people won’t accuse him of having selfish motives for doing the right thing? In that situation, all he could do was the right thing, and as long as he was doing the right thing the motives were irrelevant at that point. The Republicans showed their true colors by being more concerned about the President’s motives rather being concerned about the people of Hatti. I am a Republican by the way.  We already make poor judges of other people’s actions, and we have no clue when it comes to judging motives.

2. Be conservative towards yourself and liberal towards others. Hold yourself to the higher standard while cutting all those around you a little slack. This is what Jesus did. In the Garden of Gethsemane He asked His disciples to pray with Him. They fell asleep on Him, and while He continued to pray, He excused their weakness by saying, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

1. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Replace the word, “love” with your own name, and then ask God to work in you, so that those verses will still make sense.

Jesus Wept; The Bible and Human Emotions, Lesson 3; Top Ten Ways to Avoid Stress And Live a Productive Life

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

To download the Sabbath School lessons to your android phone click here.

In conjunction with this week’s SS lesson on Stress, here is my top ten list of

The Top Ten Ways I Avoid Stress and Live a Productive Life

10. Make Life as simple as you can. Avoid clutter. Every few months I go through my apartment just looking for things to throw away or give away. I do the same with my life. My life is simple. I am not embarrassed by being a simple person living a simple life. Life was never meant to be complicated. It is complicated because of sin, not by God’s design. The closer we get to God’s design the more simple and happy life becomes. When I was a kid I walked into Taco Bell and there were 9 items on the menu. That was great! I bought the bean burrito. Now I walk into Taco Bell and there are over 50 menu items and I buy the bean burrito. Today Their menu board looks cluttered and confusing. Why does Taco Bell make life complicated for no reason? Why do people make their lives complicated for no reason? I have seen so many people stress themselves out doing needles projects, and then look at me like I am lazy for not helping them out. I am not lazy, I just don’t think your daughter really needs a $7,000 sweet sixteen birthday party, so forgive me for not helping you put it together. Take her to Taco Bell and buy her a bean burrito, and say, “Happy Birthday!”

9. Have a planned daily routine. I cannot tell you how important this is. When I first started working at UPS I had to get up at 2am to get to work by 3am. It changed my whole life. In orientation class at UPS they told us, in order to cope with these strange work hours we had to have a planned daily routine, not just at work but all day long. Once I got into a planned daily routine, life got so much easier and working at one of the most stressful jobs during the most stressful hours became fun and enjoyable.  I actually miss it!

8. Exercise! If you have a desk job, you will think so much more clearly if you exercise your whole body. Exercise clears the brain so you can think and study better. It makes life more balanced and healthy. I used to obsess about things a lot. Now that I have taken up golf in the last few years, instead of stressing and obsessing, I go play a round of golf and come back to work with a clear mind, and emotionally balanced attitude.

7. Music. I am not a musician. I do love to listen to music though. In the car I have to have more lively music, but while working on my computer I have to have classical music. I was never into classical music until about 11 years ago when I got a computer. The music with lyrics distracted me from what I was reading or writing, but classical music, for the most part, does not have lyrics so it worked out great. Now I have several classical CDs and attend symphony and orchestra concerts. Music keeps me from being stressed. I remember years ago, while working as a Bible Worker in the Weatherford Seventh-day Adventist church, I would be having a stressful day. I would stop by the church office for something, and if nobody was around, I would go into the sanctuary, go to hymn number 86, “How Great Thou Art,” and sing my heart out so loud it raised the roof. Then I felt much better and went about the rest of my day with a renewed attitude.

6. Write. Keep a journal to record your thoughts. Start a blog. There is therapy in writing. I have no way to prove this, but I also believe there is emotional therapy in writing your feelings out by hand instead of typing. The important thing is to write. I kept a journal in my teens. I look back and read it now and discover things about myself that I did not see at the time. I even look back and see clues as to why I annoyed certain people even though I could not figure it out at the time. When I first moved to Texas, before laptops and cell phone texting, I would go into restaurants with pad and paper and write letters back home while I ate. Then I made friends where I was at, and went to eat with them, and stopped writing letters back home. I miss that. Even today I will occasionally leave my laptop at home and go to a nice restaurant and write a hand written letter back home.

5. Don’t take yourself seriously. Laugh at yourself. A while back someone insulted me in public and I was very offended the person insulting me said what they did in front of everybody. Later, while talking to some of the people within earshot of the insult, I realized they did not even hear what the person said. They were not paying attention, and had other things on their mind. The only person who remembered it was me. I wonder how many times I have been stressed out from embarrassing situations that are recorded in my brain and nowhere else.  I have learned not to be so intense. Some insults that I have taken to heart in the past, I found out later where not given as intensely as I took them. Being melancholy, I think everything has to be perfect. I have realized, that being a perfectionist is a flaw. I don’t need to stress because of the small dent on my  new car. I don’t need to stress because of a little dust on my bookshelf. I don’t need to stress because a friend is a little upset with me. Relationships, like everything else, don’t have to be perfect in order to be absolutely wonderful.

4. Set goals, but don’t cut your wrists if your goals are not met. Have a minimum and maximum goal within reason. For example, as a Bible Worker, I have a goal of how many people I want to contact every day. Some days I can contact 40 or more people. Some days I can only find 10. So 10 is my minimum goal which I can live with while I try for 40 or more. Some days, I get a phone call from a Bible student who is struggling with something, and I take the day and just hang out with them, encouraging them. That is okay too. My goal was not met, but I am not cutting my wrists over it. That would freak my Bible student out!

3. Pace yourself. Take time to relax. Sometimes I will be working on a Seminar presentation or sermon and I get a mental block. I put down my laptop and take a walk. I relax my brain, and then the ideas for my presentation or sermon just start popping into my head. Sometimes my best ideas come on my day off while I am relaxing and reading  or praying.

2. Remember all stress is relative. During the 1998 home run record chase between Sammy Sosa and Mark Mcgwire, I believe it was Sammy Sosa who was asked how he was handling the stress of chasing the home run record. He responded, “This is not stress. Having no food on the table is stress.” Last year, after the Tampa Bay Rays lost a close game, radio announcer Andy Freed refused to call the game a “heartbreaking loss.” He said “having a child in ICU at All Children’s Hospital is heartbreaking! This is just a game.” While a little stress is good as it keeps us shooting for our goals, remember it’s all relative. Some things need to stress us out but not everything. What will it matter ten years from now or even next week?  Several years ago I was working in the church office as an office administrator as well as Bible Worker. There was an older man who could come into my office and talk my ear off while I was thinking about all the things I needed be getting done. He was a dear man, very close to Christ. He would tell me stories, while I would fret about getting all of my work done. A few years later, while sitting at his funeral, I asked myself, Was I really all that busy?

1. Prayer and Bible study. Jesus accomplished so much that John says the world could not hold the books that would be written if everything He had done was written down. Still, He spent long hours in communion with His heavenly Father. Before we can live like Jesus, we must pray like Jesus. His life was spent between the mountain and the multitude. We can’t expect to accomplish all He accomplished without praying like He prayed. I talk with people who tell me they are too busy to study and pray. Life is just too busy, they say. I say, if life gets too stressful and busy for prayer and Bible study then forget life! I won’t live without my time with Jesus! If life gets so hectic that I don’t have time to spend with Jesus, then life has just defeated its own purpose! My life has no purpose without God, so why would I let life make me so busy I have no time for Him?  You can accomplish so much more in life, after you spend time with God and leave your stress with Him, than you can by ignoring Him and carrying all that stress yourself.