You Can Change the World

 

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The world isn’t what it was.

I know, I know. This has been said for many years. It’s said the ancient Greeks even said it. But have you noticed how sad and angry people are lately? Perhaps some of this is all the anger spread by the politicians this election. Perhaps it is the fear brought about because of the terrorist attacks around the world. Maybe, it is that men and women have lost hope.

I have started walking in the mornings lately. I make a point to smile and say hello to everyone I see. Most people look up, almost startled to have someone say ‘hello’ or ‘good morning.’ Still they look up and answer.

I notice people driving, too. They don’t hear me say good morning. Some have frowns that make me wonder about how their day is going. They are struggling, or appear to be. It’s too bad, that people are so fearful, so angry, so out of hope, they have lost their ability to see the good in things.

I cannot change the world, but I can uplift those with whom I come in contact. I can share my smile, my cheerful greeting. My smile may help one person find hope, or happiness, maybe my greeting will take away some of the anger they feel.

Today I saw a meme on Facebook I’d like to share:

Every time you Smile at Someone, It is an Action of Love,A gift to the Person,A Beautiful Thing.--Mother Teresa
I am currently rewriting the part of Eve’s life when they discovered the murder of a righteous son, Abel, by his brother. That was a terrible time for her and her beloved Adam. They lost sons they loved dearly. One to murder, the other to sin. I think she was lifted by the hope she would be with him again, and the smiles of those in her community who loved her and wanted her to find happiness once more. In time, she was able to find hope, love, and joy.

It is not difficult to share the gift of love with a simple smile. Do something beautiful. Help another person out by sharing your smile. It is one of the few things you can give away without losing any part of it for yourself. When do you smile for others? Have you seen a change?

Tell me about your experiences. I’d love to hear about them.

Immortality is Ours

This is the weekend Christians celebrate the most important event of the world, when the Son of God allowed men to cruelly take his life on the cross. Three days later, wonder of wonders, He took up His life again, so each of us will one day be resurrected. What a sacred and holy day.

We know it was not March 27th, this is the day religionists set. It does not matter, even, that Easter is the name of a Pagan god whose symbols of fertility were bunnies and chicks. All that matters is that the Son of God, even Jesus Christ, paid the price for our sins, pains, and sorrows in the Garden of Gethsemane, accepted the sacrifice of His life on the cross at Calvary, and rose again from the garden tomb.

He lives! And because He lives, we to will live. We do not need to seek strange and wonderful ways to extend our lives, as so many have, hoping for immortality. Immortality is a gift, given freely to each of us by a loving Father and Son.

I do not celebrate the cross that took His life, I celebrate the empty tomb, that represents His living. Because of the empty tomb, we, too, will live once more, eternally. This is the best gift we could receive.

Eve knew this. She and Adam taught their children to look forward to Jehovah’s coming, when he would take upon himself a mortal body, then lay it down again as sacrifice for us. The ultimate blessing, however, was his resurrection. Adam and all the prophets taught their followers to look forward to His coming and His resurrection.

As you celebrate this holy event, what will you do to remember the resurrection that will allow all men, women, and children immortality?

A Time to be Creative

283A couple weeks ago, I spent a special hour with my dad. I asked him to help me make something for a daughter-in-law. We went into the garage together and I watched him move from one place to another to manufacture a simple exercise machine.

He found a pulley, some metal to cut and bend, a heavy wire he turned and cut to look like an ‘s’, and some thin rope. He moved back and forth around his shop, out to his shed and back. In about an hour he had created the machine I requested.

All this is especially amazing, considering he’ll be 88 years old next month. His feet hurt, forcing him to walk carefully, but his mind is sharp, his ability to create something from nearly nothing continues.

I spent many years as a child watching him build and create. He built a house and a special kitchen for my mom in older homes three times. Each a kitchen of beauty and filled with the latest, and sometimes only, designs to make it a great place to cook.

Not every girl, of any age—even mine—is able to watch and share in the creation of something. I feel exceptionally blessed.

Creation of something from a little bit of something runs in our family. Dad builds. Mom quilts, writes, sews, and crochets. My brother writes and builds. My sister crochets, creates jewelry, and writes. I sew, crochet, and now I write. Yes, only dad doesn’t write. We are a blessed family.

In my writing about Eve, much of the early drafts focused on creating ways to survive in a new world. I have developed a respect for her and her beloved Adam. Together, they worked to learn and create ways to feed, clothe, and house themselves and their children. I’m not sure I could manage as well as they did.

How have you shown your creativity lately? I’d love to hear.

Another view of the Transgender Issue

When I read this blog, it gave me a lot to think about. I discussed this concern last week. Since then, I received permission from Kaeley Triller to share this with you. It further illuminates the problem of transgender toilet and dressing rooms.

By Kaeley Triller
NOVEMBER 23, 2015

A few months ago, I registered for “The Story Workshop” at the Allender Center in Seattle. Primarily aimed at helping survivors of sexual abuse find the purpose and weight in their fractured personal narratives, the conference promised to be intense but deeply healing.
So when three unrelated friends randomly mailed me substantial checks with notes that said, “I don’t know why, but I think God wants me to give this to you” all within the same week, I took the hint and signed up for the workshop. I had been waiting more than seven years.
I don’t know exactly what I expected. I was naively hopeful that I would get a few good writing tips that would enable me to beautify my past and approach it like one of Aesop’s fables—third-person fiction with a perfect little moral at the end of the story.
Hating the Little Girl I Once Was
That’s not what happened. One of the pre-assignments was to write 700 words about a painful childhood memory. I was surprised at the one I chose. It wasn’t a heavy hitter, so to speak. I wrote about a Polaroid picture I kept rediscovering in a shoebox at my parents’ house, and my inability to figure out why looking at it made me want to rip it to shreds.
I’m about ten years old in the picture, with scraggly hair, pale skin, and a vacant expression. I’m wearing my mom’s oversized knit sweater and Oxford shoes my dad had bought me. In my hands is a piece of green felt I’d cut into the shape of New York for a school report about a U.S. state. Coincidentally or not, New York is the place my abuser had recently moved. I think I wanted to be closer to him. Don’t try to understand it. I still don’t.
‘Why do you hate the little girl in that picture so much?’
My small group dissected the story with grace and insight that could only be offered by those who spoke the same horrific language of shame and rage and grief. I felt nothing as I spoke about it. “It is what it is,” I remember saying, committed to my ambivalence. My group leader brushed away a tear and said, “Kaeley, this story breaks my heart. Why do you hate the little girl in that picture so much?” I couldn’t access her understanding or her empathy. I recognized the accuracy of her assessment, but I didn’t know how to change it.
Later that evening, one of the workshop presenters tasked us with a seemingly benign activity. We were instructed to play with crayons and miniature tubs of play dough on the tables in front of us. I hated these types of exercises. I thought they were such a waste of time. I reached for a purple crayon and reluctantly complied. I drew a picture of a flower and rolled a snake out of my play dough. And I burst into tears.
Someone Protect This Little Girl
The invitation to engage as a child had revealed my whole dilemma: I didn’t hate the little girl in the photo. I hated her need. I hated her anonymity. I hated the visible proof that she loved her abuser. I hated that she didn’t know any better, that it took her another ten years to figure out why she still slept with the light on and showered in her underwear and vigilantly lined the crack under the bathroom door with a beach towel and destroyed her teeth with gum she relentlessly chewed as a means of escaping the recollection of his breath on her face. I hated that he fooled her. He fooled everybody. He was really good.
She still slept with the light on and showered in her underwear and vigilantly lined the crack under the bathroom door with a beach towel.
“Wake up!” I wanted to scream at her. “Can’t you see what’s going on? Do something about it!”
It’s the same desperate inclination I’m fighting today. Everywhere I read in the news, there’s talk of another school or gym or business that is boldly adopting “progressive” new locker room policies designed to create equal rights for people who identify as transgender. These policies allow transgender individuals to use the locker room consistent with the sex they identify as their own, regardless of anatomy.
While some have proposed a third option for transgender people (single-occupancy restrooms and showers), this option has been largely struck down, and employees are prohibited from suggesting it, as it is considered discriminatory and emotionally damaging to a group of people who are working so hard to fit in. The solution? Anyone can use whatever restroom he or she wants without being questioned.
Victimizers Use Any Opening They Can Find
I read these reports, and my heart starts to race. They can’t be serious. Let me be clear: I am not saying that transgender people are predators. Not by a long shot. What I amsaying is that there are countless deviant men in this world who will pretend to be transgender as a means of gaining access to the people they want to exploit, namely women and children. It already happens. Just Google Jason Pomares, Norwood Smith Burnes, or Taylor Buehler, for starters.
There are countless deviant men in this world who will pretend to be transgender as a means of gaining access to the people they want to exploit.
While I feel a deep sense of empathy for what must be a very difficult situation for transgender people, at the beginning and end of the day, it is nothing short of negligent to instate policies that elevate the emotional comfort of a relative few over the physical safety of a large group of vulnerable people.
Don’t they know anything about predators? Don’t they know the numbers? That out of every 100 rapes, only two rapists will spend so much as single day in jail while the other 98 walk free and hang out in our midst? Don’t they know that predators are known to intentionally seek out places where many of their preferred targets gather in groups? That perpetrators are addicts so committed to their fantasies they’ll stop at nothing to achieve them?
Do they know that more than 99 percent of single-victim incidents are committed by males? That they are experts in rationalization who minimize their number of victims? Don’t they know that insurance companies highlight locker rooms as a high-risk area for abuse that should be carefully monitored and protected?
Predators are known to intentionally seek out places where many of their preferred targets gather in groups.
Don’t they know that one out of every four little girls will be sexually abused during childhood, and that’s withoutgiving predators free access to them while they shower? Don’t they know that, for women who have experienced sexual trauma, finding the courage to use a locker room at all is a freaking badge of honor? That many of these women view life through a kaleidoscope of shame and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, dissociation, poor body image, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, difficulty with intimacy, and worse?
Why would people knowingly invite further exploitation by creating policies with no safeguards in place to protect them from injury? With zero screening options to ensure that biological males who enter locker rooms actually identify as female, how could a woman be sure the person staring at her wasn’t exploiting her? Why is it okay to make her wonder?
What About Women’s and Children’s Rights?
“Wake up!” I want to scream. “Can’t you see what’s going on? Do something about it!”
Despite the many reports of sexual abuse and assault that exist in our world, there’s an even larger number of victims who never tell about it. The reason? They’re afraid no one will believe them. Even worse, they’re terrified of a reality they already innately know to be true: even if people did know, they wouldn’t do anything to help. They’re not worth protecting. Even silence feels better than that.
Survivors are terrified of a reality they already innately know to be true: even if people did know, they wouldn’t do anything to help.
There’s no way to make everyone happy in the situation of transgender locker room use. So the priority ought to be finding a way to keep everyone safe. I’d much rather risk hurting a smaller number of people’s feelings by asking transgender people to use a single-occupancy restroom that still offers safety than risk jeopardizing the safety of thousands of women and kids with a policy that gives would-be predators a free pass.
Is it ironic to no one that being “progressive” actually sets women’s lib back about a century? What of my right to do my darndest to insist that the first time my daughter sees the adult male form it will be because she’s chosen it, not because it’s forced upon her? What of our emotional and physical rights? Unless and until you’ve lined a bathroom door with a towel for protection, you can’t tell me the risk isn’t there.
For me, healing looks like staring at the little girl in a Polaroid photo and validating her need to be seen, heard, and protected instead of hating it. It looks like telling my story, even the parts I can never make pretty, in hopes it will help break the anonymity of survivors and create a sense of responsibility in others to act.
Don’t Let Innocents Get Hurt Before You Rethink This
I still battle my powerlessness to do anything that feels substantial to affect change, but the good Lord didn’t bring me out of Egypt and set my feet upon a rock so I could stand idly by in the face of danger. So even if a little article or Facebook post doesn’t ultimately change the world, it’s better than silent resignation to negligence and harm. I feel a sense of urgency to invite people to consider the not-so-hidden dangers of these policies before more and more of them get cemented into place. Once that happens, the only way they’ll change is when innocent people get hurt.
Consider the not-so-hidden dangers of these policies before more and more of them get cemented into place.
Even if there aren’t hundreds of abusers rushing into locker rooms by the dozens, the question I keep asking myself is, “What if just one little girl gets hurt by this? Would that be enough to make people reconsider it?”
“And what if that little girl was me?” It’s a question I really don’t want to ask. But God’s grace has enabled me to value the face in the photo enough to realize that I have to. And even if I don’t like the answer, at least I wasn’t silent.
Kaeley Triller Haver studied English at Northwest University and puts her education to use as the communications director of a local nonprofit organization. Of all the titles she’s ever held, Kaeley considers “mom” the most significant.

Transgender or Pervert?

1Recently, there has been a question of what to do for those of one gender who identify as the other gender, especially when it comes to toilet and dressing room facilities. There is a genuine concern for those who believe themselves to have the wrong gender body type. However, there is always a concern for those who have to come into contact with those who pretend to be the opposite gender to have access to women and girls.

Move beyond the need of those who genuinely need to have separate dressing and toilet facilities because they do self identify as the opposite gender as their body. Instead, consider the women and girls who must face these perverted predators.

When we allow men who seek victims for their perverted and scary actions to have free access to places where women and girls need to feel safe, we are putting them in danger. A recent article in thefederalist.com discussed the problem of women and girls who have been raped or abused. These girls and women have enough problems surviving a world that minimizes their recovery. I cannot imagine wanting to try on new clothes or use a public toilet ever again if it is open to these “transgender” individuals.

One woman who commented told of a man who waited for her to be undressed then entered the co-ed dressing room and peeped over the door. Every woman would be left feeling angry and unsafe in this situation.

Opening these rooms to both genders opens doors to predators who are searching for victims, whether they want to peek at an undressed female, fondle her, or rape her. Do you want this to happen to you? Do you want it to happen to your wife, daughter, or granddaughter? I do not!

I plan to have someone who will stand guard for me if I must use facilities open to either gender, or I will wait—try on the dress at home and return it if I must, take a chance on bladder infections rather than use those toilets. These alternatives are better than putting myself, or my daughters or granddaughters, at risk.

What would Eve think? Though we would think she would never have to face this perversion, I believe she would be as horrified as most of us are. Her daughters were precious to her. She would want them to be protected. She would want to do all she could to prevent the possibility of them being victimized by evil men. Can we be any different?

If one is truly transgender, offer them a separate room, for one. Do not mix them with those who were born as females or males.

What do you think? Is this a problem?