Monday, January 28, 2008

In who do we trust?

I try not to put any more faith in celebrities than I do in any regular person with the fortune of not being famous. I really dislike idolizing of other humans but particularly for lame reasons like just because they have a beautiful face, lots of money or fame. That being said, I did find myself a bit enamoured with the entity of Oprah. However, I guess that is why I now find myself disappointed, because I had raised expectations of what she would/could do with her power. But, alas, it will not be so, and here is what I think about it. I've inserted some links throughout this blog, to articles that I find insightful on the particular topic I've linked it to.

Oprah is not the first celebrity who doesn't live up to the religion they tout. She is not the first celebrity using their fame like a wolf in sheep's clothing. I don't know exactly why she in particular has left a bad taste in my mouth lately, maybe because it's a combination, using her spirituality to sell her personal opinion, and having 100 times anyone else's star power to do it with. Granted, it is people who have placed their misguided faith and decision-making power in Oprah's hands, just because she's charismatic, has goodwill and has some intelligent opinions, but if she weren't on t.v. would any of that matter? However, it also bugs me that she has developed a lure to get viewers, capitalizing on people's need for the spiritual, using her own testimony that she believes in Jesus and God, yet also using that platform to create herself as the role model, the person we should trust. I finally saw enough that made me decide I could no longer take her Christianity at face value. I have found that her walk does not match the talk.
There are a lot of examples, the sense of entitlement for one. Her affinity for the excessive and frivolous is beginning to get noticed and many people are of the opinion that she worships consumerism. Regular viewers have acknowledged a growing discontentment with their lives the more they watch Oprah. Then there is the tolerant Oprah, she subscribes to non-judgementalism, where almost everything is acceptable. She hovers over the insinuation that confession equals repentance and she also strongly leans towards the philosophy, as long as you are a 'good' person that is all that matters. The terminology 'good' is all relative of course, and when you lean as close to New Age as Oprah does, relativism allows everyone to define 'good' for themselves. I've also seen cracks in her integrity, some hypocrisy shining through. She uses her show to create a healthier body image for women (yay!) yet then herself succumbs to pressure to be thin when given an ultimatum of shrinking down to 150 lbs just for the privilege of getting on the cover of Vogue. Or, acting humble, making it seem as though she doesn't mean/want to use her persuasive power to influence consumers (i.e. the hamburger scandal) yet condoned a boycott of the Paris Hermes boutique just because one employee was rude, which she only ended after she got an apology. And it's one thing to say she likes a book, a store, a pair of shoes, creating a 'must-have' attitude towards those products doesn't have far reaching consequences, yet knowing her ability to make those things sold out in mere minutes, she has still decided to start promoting in two arenas that will have much more severe implications. To me, that is an irresponsible choice. Messing with politics and Barack Obama is one thing, but her first real product endorsement is another.
What is this controversial product that has been graced with Oprah's good-as-gold seal of approval? It's the newest self-help best seller, The Secret, but this is not just another book, it is a way of life. This article says it much better than I ever could, but here's a summary of what I think. It takes the power of positive thinking to a whole other level. It says your thoughts and feelings manifest themselves in your actions and the actions that happen to you. The so-called 'secret' is that the power to have the life we want lies in controlling our thoughts, channeling them into positive results. Here's that consumerism again, "[The Secret] is like having the Universe as your catalogue. You flip through it and say, 'I'd like to have this experience and I'd like to have that product and I'd like to have a person like that.' It is you placing your order with the Universe. It's really that easy." A quote from Amway executive and contributor to The Secret, Dr. Joe Vitale. Anything negative that happens to us is also as a result of drawing it into our lives by what we think and feel. Any illness, whether incurable, debilitating, genetic, or terminal, it's due to our own thoughts. The Secret says you can't get sick "unless you think you can, and thinking you can is inviting it to you with your thought." Same with poverty. The Secret says, "The only reason any person does not have enough money is because they are blocking money from coming to them with their thoughts." I just don't get how Oprah can believe this. For someone who was very poor growing up. For someone who was abused, and fights so hard for victims, raising awareness of every kind of abuse; child, physical, sexual, emotional, all the way to Holocaust victims. How can she validate The Secret on one level ("this is what I've been doing my whole life") without validating it on all levels? And how can she say to those same victims she's had on her shows, they have brought it on themselves? Does she really believe she brought her own abuse on herself? Yet, Oprah writes this about "The Secret" on her Web site, "the energy you put into the world -- both good and bad -- is exactly what comes back to you. This means you create the circumstances of your life with the choices you make every day."
I think she really has bought into it.
The Secret basically dismisses that people can find real meaning in their lives due to tragedy. It pushes the idea that only positive outcomes will lead you to your purpose in life. What if I had bought into this several years ago. I went through some pretty crappy times that controlled years of my life but there are so many lessons that I would not have learned if I had managed to avoid it with positive thinking. I would never exchange the chance to have those years purely positive for the perspective and purpose I gained instead. How grateful I am I don't buy into this hype even now, hoping to use it to avoid future disappointments and hurts. Hopefully I'm not merely one of a few.
When one of Oprah's audience member dares question The Secret, asking if it was really compatible with the Christian view of heaven and hell, Oprah silenced the matter by indignantly saying, "I'm a Christian." That satisfied the curiosity, or at least shut her up. It makes me wonder how many Christians are blinded by Oprah's star power or golden touch, and have placed more faith and trust in her opinions than in the Christ she says she is guided by. I am appalled that I bordered on being that mindless sheep. My former pastor told me a few years ago that he had done some reading on Oprah and found out how much New Age has penetrated her beliefs, how she has mostly taken the best from all religions and formed her own quasi-religion. I didn't want to believe it because I had heard her speak about hearing from Jesus and praying to him, I just hated the thought that this woman who could do so much for Christianity may end up hurting it more than help it. And that's exactly what I think she is doing, watering down society's understanding of Christianity, dulling our senses to what sin really is. I feel a little fooled. And I'm not one who is easily star-struck or easily influenced. What about those who are? It concerns me greatly.
Thought becomes feeling, feeling becomes action, there is power in positive thinking, mind can overcome matter, what you focus on can magnify-positively or negatively- that is all true, to an extent. At best The Secret is another version of the 'name it and claim it' gospel, but still, trying to make it compatible with religion doesn't disguise its poor attempt to put the power in our hands, so we don't need to rely on God's power. The power of our own thoughts are not even a grain of sand compared to the power we can tap into if we just hand our life over to God. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:7. You may be able to increase some positivity in your life with The Secret but even with your best efforts, you will never succeed at avoiding everything negative unless it is the will of God. Mostly, The Secret will delude you into thinking anything you get in life was because you manifested it with your thoughts, feelings and actions. If you end up with positive results you will begin to believe you have the power, and that kind of power is not positive, that kind of power is the opposite of what God wants. If you end up with negative results you will blame yourself for things that were never in your control, disease, poverty, etc. That is also the opposite of what God wants for your life.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say is The Secret is just another spiritual fad leading people astray and Oprah has decided to use her influence to lead the money train it has become. Therefore I'm no longer willing to subject myself to her propaganda. I'm not the boycotting kind, and I can't discount some of the valuable information on abuse that I have only found through the Oprah show, but I do intend to abstain from things that are Oprah manufactured.

Phew, that's all I've got in me for now. I just really had to vent about this, it's been weighing on my mind a lot and I just knew I had to share, hopefully opening some eyes along the way.

Boy I'm a lousy blog author lately

Ok, so I'm almost done my big blog opinion I keep alluding to, I promise. I'll give you a hint, it's about Oprah. Stay tuned.
In the mean time, here are a few snippits from my life lately.
I finally got my appointment booked at the fertility clinic, it is the morning of March 11th so hopefully we'll have some answers soon. Thanks to all of you who have been praying about this situation, praying that God's will is revealed in all this and for our patience to continue as this is could just be one more step of many.
The Big & Rich concert we went to last Monday was both Big and Rich, it was not falsely advertised : ) Considering the duo's music video's I did not expect them to be as humble as they were but they were tossing free stuff left, right, and center, and they even kidded that they could be opening for Emerson Drive by this time next year, because they are getting such acclaim recently (they were also an awesome opening act). We had a blast and they definately exceeded our expectations!
Avery is on the cusp of talking, this last weekend she would mimic us when we said "I love you" with her own "Iwaya". It was super cute and soooo exciting. She is also keenly aware of her family, she can point to Brooklynn, daddy and mommy, and even to herself, when you ask where that person is. I love watching the development of children, I find it so fascinating! I am so blessed to have my neices in my life, I feel so enriched just from being witness to their lives.
Tami & Kellin are now back from Guinea, Africa, we picked them up from the airport Saturday night. They had some amazing stories to tell and they have some amazing pictures on the blog I previously linked, I'll leave the link there for awhile, you should check it out.
Take care, I'll be back soon with my super-opinionated self!

Friday, January 18, 2008

More Randomosity

Well, I have a blog entry I'm working on but I want to word it just right, it's a bit of a rant and so I want to focus on it to make sure I'm expressing myself clearly before I publish it. But in the mean time I feel like I haven't got much to write in my blog except for snippits of random thoughts. That's better than nothing, right?
My ENT specialist appointment was anti-climactic. I was given nose spray. I'm very congested and dry apparently, and she was checking me out on a good day. My tiny bottle of nose spray was $10 and not a prescription so couldn't use benefits. However, I have been breathing a little better already. And the good thing about it not being medicinal I can use it as often as I need, however the cost of that is deterring me a little. The other thing she said to do was lose weight, even though I've only gained 5 lbs since my issues started. On the down side, I've realized my issues started when my cat Kody started shedding in his adulthood. We've already done a few things to reduce cat hair around the house, but if all of this doesn't help I will have to choose between him and restful sleep.
My Scrappy Place is usable now, although not everything is in the place I eventually want it to end up but the important thing is it's usable. I just need to tuck away the garage sale stuff off in the corner for the time being, cover it with something pretty so I can pretend all that junk isn't in my nice new crafting room! Lol. Once it's a little tidier I will post pics.
It just occured to me I haven't talked to Richard in 6 months. That's the longest span of silence between us in 12.5 years. And this time it isn't only his doing. I've only occasionally had to stop myself from feeling bad about cutting him off, but mostly it's allowed me to just feel what I really feel. No more being less than truthful to spare his feelings, at the expense of mine (and Sean's for that matter too). I also have to be careful that I don't get too caught up in the anger I'm finally allowing myself to feel. It's one thing to be truthful, it's another thing to be unforgiving.
My sister Tami and her husband Kellin, along with most of Kellin's family, are in Guinea, Africa, on a mission's trip. They are part of a team that is building a medical clinic for a village there. Guinea has experienced a little political upheaval recently but God has covered them in His protection as the offended party has delayed protests for several reasons. But they could still use every one's prayers. Sean and I pick Tami & Kellin up from the airport on January 26th. Here is the blog their team is keeping if you want to check out what they are doing.
I'm anxious for Tami to get back for another reason. She's going to be my personal trainer and I am really anxious to have a plan so I can start working my way to being healthier. Between my ENT doctor, the doctor I saw in November, and from other stories I've heard, the fertility clinic (whenever they finally have an appointment with me), all consider my weight an issue and so I want to have a plan in place, especially to show the fertility clinic I'm working on it. I know I can start working on it without her plan, but I also need her to provide a little motivation (aka - crack the whip, "whoopa" as Chandler would say).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Top Ten Tuesdays

Here are my top 10 events of 2007 in photos.

January - got our first brand new vehicle!

April - the last time we saw the Reddekopps before they moved to Lloydminster.

June - our garage was finally built

June - Tim McGraw & Faith Hill concert

July - my tattoo

August - Chopping about 11 inches off my hair

October - Halloween isn't really the memorable event, but having fun co-workers again was, yay Golder.

November - Paul Brandt concert

December - Sean got his promotion (this is the scarf of triumph, aka the scarf of his former boss, the one who's job he got).

December - knowing my neices are home in Manitoba for this Christmas and future Christmas' in the forseeable near future.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Just some random cuteness from Christmas time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

When it rains it pours

When Sean got his promotion in early December we finally felt a little relief since we are still paying off the garage and this would allow us to be able to increase our payments. We figured our $11,500 garage could be paid off in a year and a half (which wasn’t bad, but we really hate being in debt) but after his raise we thought it could possibly shave 6 months off of that time. Since the garage was built we’ve had a few unexpected expenses that had to be put on credit, but just a little at a time over the last 6 months, like Sean’s root canal - $200, Sean’s speeding ticket - $160, my computer monitor blew - $200, and my computer was crashing and I needed to reformat it with a new version of Windows - $115. Spread out it wasn’t much but it did lengthen the time it would take to pay off our credit cards.

But now, since December, since Sean’s promotion, the expenses are pouring down on us and it’s getting a little ridiculous. First, furnace stopped working - $100, then plumbing was blocked in main drain under house - $150, then Sean grazed the front of the Jeep on the garage, popping off the light cover and it broke - $135, And now, Sean’s computer got fried by a small power surge and we thought it would be cheaper to build around the parts that still worked. Good thought, in theory, but then his old computer had out dated pieces that aren’t readily available anymore and if we replaced exactly what he had and only one piece needed replacing later on it wouldn’t be available anymore and he’d have to have to replace almost everything inside again in order to replace one piece. So we went with the newer hardware but that meant we couldn’t use his old video card or RAM and had to buy that too. And then they said they wouldn’t be able to use his operating system still on his hard drive so we had to buy him a new copy of Windows as well (we can’t share one copy for the both of us). In the end, all said and done, $730! It started as $350!! Not to mention, my hard drives are still having issues that didn’t get corrected last time so I probably have to replace them before I lose all my data, at approx. $100 (but I’ll be using my Christmas gift money instead of credit, boo).

We know that not all of that had to be replaced immediately, some of that was our choice but it just all has hit us in less than 2 months and we’re just hoping this is where it stops. We’re acting so incredibly cautious now, which we probably should have done in the first place, but it’s also such a worrisome way to live. And now that we’re thinking of selling our house and there are repairs we need to do in order to be appealing to potential buyers (less than $1000 worth but its asthetics that could lower the value of our house if they are not done), and we wanted to sell in Spring because the housing market is skyrocketing again, and is predicted to double by next winter. We doubt our house value will increase by the same percent as the houses we’ll be looking to move into so we probably need to act fast on these repairs. AKKK!

Ok, my little freak out is done. For now.
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