Your Wish Is My Command

I can’t remember what site I saw this on, but thought it was interesting to see the responses. If you had one “genie wish,” what would you wish for?

I think what makes the question tough to answer is that whenever we think of a genie, there always seems to be three wishes. That’s not the case here. Before you give your answer, let’s just rule out the wish for “more wishes,” too!

Here were some of the answers given by participants in the piece I read:

The ability to be fluent in all languages – past and present

I can see where this would come in handy.

Teleportation ability.

I can totally see wanting to do this! The money we’d save on gas alone would be worth it!!

Money

Well, you knew someone would wish for money. While it would come in handy, if it were me, I’d wish for just enough to get by. No need to have boatloads of it – it is the root of all evil after all.

Time Travel/Live Life Over Again Knowing What I Know Now

These two were separate answers, but I think they both kind of are the same. The problem I have with this wish is all it would take is one major change to your life (knowing what you know now) to change the rest of it. That would mean a whole different time line, as Doc Brown illustrates in Back to the Future II.

The Power To Be Invisible At Will

This reminds me of the “I’d like to be a fly on the wall” cliché. I think the reason someone would want this power would be to be able to spy on someone primarily. Personally, I have found that I’d rather NOT know what others are saying about me…

The Power of Shapeshifting

This one goes along with the invisibility thing. As a matter of fact, the person who answered mentioned that if they could shapeshift, they would become a dog or a fly or a cat or something that would go unnoticed when getting close to whatever they wanted to observe.

The Ability to Do Everything Perfectly

Wouldn’t this get old? Sure, I can see it being nice for some things, but for EVERY thing? This just sounds like the plot line to a Twilight Zone Episode.

Free Healthcare World Wide AND A Cure for Cancer

These two were actually part of the same wish – but is it really two wishes? Anyway, Free Healthcare would be nice and I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want a cure for cancer!

Knowing the Answer to Any Question

As most people know, having ALL the answers isn’t always the best thing. Sometimes it is best NOT to know all the answers. I could see where this could work for good – and bad.

Never Having to Feel Anxious or Depressed

In other words, being happy? I can relate! While most of my anxiety and depression is gone, there will occasionally be a bout now and then. It’s not easy to be happy all the time, because sometimes life throws those curveballs at you. It would certainly be nice, though, to get rid of anxiety, depression, anger, and those other emotions that bring you down.

That Every Person Holding a Position of Power Would Have Empathy For Others

Wow! Yeah, that’s a good wish.

Two more and I’ll turn it over to you. One is silly and the other struck a chord.

A Magical Fridge That Always Gave Me Whatever I Was In The Mood For When I Opened the Door

This made me laugh. I also feel like who ever had this wish wanted a whole lot of alcohollic beverages in there …

I Wish I Never Had a Reason to Wish

Let that one run around in your head for a bit. THAT is a powerful wish!

Now – What would YOU wish for if you had just one “genie wish?”

Sending Them Up

Anxiety. Fear. Sadness. Unrest. Nervousness. Sorrow. Overwhelmed. Confused.

Any one of those feelings can be crippling. All of them swirling together are scary. With the wrong mindset, it can be devastating. Those feelings don’t hit me all at once often, but when they do, it is easy to try to figure it out myself. That never works. When I try to fix something alone, I just make it worse.

I can never do anything alone. I’m an imperfect being. I will almost always fail. So I remind myself of one of my favorite verses of Scripture:

Careful in the KJV means “anxious or nervous”. Don’t be nervous or anxious about anything. Instead, in EVERY THING – and I believe every thing means every thing – go to God. He knows the outcome before we do. The key is to take things to Him and TRUST that He’s got it.

So just like every day, today I go to Him. He knows what’s on my mind. I will trust that He hears my prayers and He will get me through. He will give me what I need to be the person I need to be for family and friends. He will provide.

My Heart Aches

Andy Marlette 2017

Just shy of 6 months ago, a school shooting happened 45 miles from my home in Oxford, Michigan. It happened at the high school. 4 students were killed and 7 were injured. 10 days ago, there was a mass shooting in Buffalo, NY at the Tops Supermarket that took the lives of 10 people. Today, another mass shooting at an elementary school that killed 19 students and a teacher.

From NPR:

Education Week as been tracking school shootings since 2018. According to its database, 119 such incidents have taken place since then. There were 27 school shootings with injuries or deaths this year.

The Gun Violence Archive, an independent data collection organization, has counted 212 mass shootings that have occurred so far this year, as of Tuesday. It defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people were shot or killed, excluding the shooter.

As for school shootings, according to Education Week, 2021 had 34 such incidents at educational institutions (the highest since the organization started its database). In 2020, there were 10 shootings. Both 2019 and 2018 recorded 24 shootings.

Mass shootings are becoming more and more common. I read a blog today that said: I’m not trying to be glib, but mass killings in America have become a bit like living near train tracks. The trains routinely rumble past, but we are so used to it, we stop noticing them after a while. (The blog was pointlessoverthinking.com) I truly hope this is not the case.

It is sickening to me. For the life of me, I cannot understand what motivates someone to do something like this. 19 children – elementary school children with bright futures ahead of them – had their lives taken away from them. 19 families – parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles – all will mourn the loss of someone near and dear to them for many months and years ahead.

Obtained from politicalcartoons.com

How many children told their parents they loved them for the last time this morning? How many parents said they’d see them later when dropping them off at school? How many had plans to go to dinner with family after school? It is SO upsetting to me.

Sam and I were discussing preschools and schools just this weekend. We’d also talked about home schooling as well a few months ago. It scares me to think about it.

I know that “active shooter” and “lock down” drills have become a regular thing in schools today. However, I think about those elementary kids. Do they even know to run? If a gun was going off in a building it would be loud and scary. I know many a child who would just stand there and cry.

When the story about the shooting broke today, it originally stated that 2 children had died. That number quickly grew to 14 and now 19. The numbers don’t matter, because one child is too many. I feel tremendously sad for the families of those children, the children who survived, and the entire community.

Deep down, I also feel anger. I’m not starting a political debate here, please don’t make it that. I am angry that there is so much violence and hatred in the world. I am angry that children cannot be children and have to live ever so cautiously. I’m angry that parents, who already naturally worry about their children, now have more worries than necessary.

Whitney Houston sang, “I believe children are our future.” She wasn’t alone in feeling that way.

Nelson Mandela
Zig Ziglar
President John F, Kennedy

Our children ARE IMPORTANT! It is our job to do what we can to keep them safe. We are to raise them to respect others and to be kind. We are to teach them to be honest and show gratitude. We are to teach them integrity. We are to teach them to forgive and to be compassionate toward others. We are to teach them to be determined and perseverance. We are to teach them to be responsible. We are to teach them that it is ok to fail. We are to teach them love.

I pray that the senseless events of Tuesday will cause us to look for ways to protect our children at all costs. The hurt, the anger, the sadness, and the violence needs to stop.

Mixed Emotions

If I had to describe today with emoji’s, I’d need a lot of them!

Exhaustion – Tuesdays are always difficult. I get very little sleep before having to come into work for the night. I do the best I can to nap when the kids are napping, but things just never seems to line up where we all sleep at the same time.

Confident – Recently I was presented with an opportunity that peaked my interest. It was one of those things that I really wasn’t searching for, but I looked at it very carefully. After much discussion and weighing all the pros and cons, I made a decision that I feel is best.

Afraid – At the same time, looking on the horizon, there is something I stumbled on that has positives and negatives. I took a leap of faith today. It would be a HUGE change. It has been something that has been on the back burner for some time. Whether or not anything comes of it is yet to be seen. If it does, there are some big things to think about and consider.

Angry – Annoyed – Exasperated – Done – One phone call can bring about so many emotions. How many times can the same things be rehashed? When do you just say “Forget it? I’m done?” An hour and 20 minutes of being on speaker phone being accused, judged, called every profane name imaginable, and treated like a piece of crap is not exactly how I want to spend my time. Once you apologize for something, you shouldn’t be expected to keep apologizing for it over and over again. Especially when the other party has said they forgive you. My God, it was a vicious circle of things that are from years ago, yet here we are talking about it again! Enough is enough. If you can’t get past it, I don’t know what to tell you. Don’t feel sorry for me or my family, because quite frankly, we are fine! Please just let it go!

Dedicated – It is time for me to stop letting the outside BS affect me and my family. I am dedicated to being the best husband and father I can be to those who will let me. I have found happiness and NO ONE will take that away from me. I love my family more than I will ever be able to express here, and intend to keep it together. Leave your negativity at the door or better yet, keep it away. There is LOVE, tenderness, faith, and joy in my house! I intend to increase those feelings with every moment I am alive!

Sadness – With every day my kids continue to grow up. Ella will be two this week. I am having a very difficult time wrapping my head around that. Andrew will be 4 months old this week and it seems like time won’t slow down. Sam has often said to me that she feels when she is done with work for the week, she feels like the look older and are bigger. I feel the same way. Despite having gone through this with my two older sons, it feels like time is going by even faster than before.

I will end on a positive emotion:

Happiness – This week, Ella started saying, “I love you, too, Daddy.” and “I love you, too, Mommy” after we tell her that we love her. There is nothing that will melt your heart faster.

Earlier today, Andrew was laying on the floor and he was giggling. I snapped a picture of him and Ella immediately came over and laid next to him and said, “My turn, Daddy!” In an absolute amazing moment, she grabbed his hand and I snapped the picture.

THAT IS WHAT MATTERS! Those two amazing kids (and my beautiful and wonderful wife) are the source of my happiness. There is nothing but joy connected with them. There is no negativity. There is no hate. There are no grudges. There are no hidden motives. There is LOVE. There is JOY. There is HAPPINESS. There is DELIGHT. There is LAUGHTER.

This is what is important! THEY are what is important.

On my bad days, those two special kids remind me to focus on what really matters!

Fill in the Blank?

I really have every reason in the world to be happy. I am married to my soul mate. I have 4 wonderful children. I am saved by grace. I am alive. I am employed. I have food on the table and a roof over my head. The list goes on and on. However, I have fallen back into a funk and I am trying to remind myself of all the wonderful things in my life in an attempt to break free from it.

I used to see the above picture at a therapist’s office. There are more feelings on it than the ones seen above: enraged, ashamed, cautious, smug, depressed, overwhelmed, hopeful, lonely, lovestruck, jealous, bored, surprised, anxious, shocked, and shy. I’m sure there are many others that I am forgetting. I remember looking at the poster and wondering just where I fit in on that particular day – even though it was not my appointment!

I wish I could sort it out. I HATE being in this place! I HATE not being able to figure out just what is going on in my head. Just what the heck am I feeling?! I wish I could figure it out. When I get this way, I feel like everything everyone says to be puts me on the offensive. I feel attacked. I feel pushed. I feel like I have no control over what is going on in my life. I feel that way, but that probably really isn’t the case.

When I feel like I have lost control, I kinda go off on a tangent. I go from “0 to 100” as my wife has told me on occasion. I react. I don’t think before I open my mouth. Is it stress? Maybe. Is it lack of sleep? Maybe. Am I overwhelmed? Maybe? I just can’t seem to figure out what the deal is.

Am I happy? Yes! Am I happy with myself? Not always. Sometimes I feel like I let the people in my life who need me down. There are so many things that I need to be doing as a husband and a father, but I am just exhausted and feel like my brain isn’t able to really understand what I need to do.

Perhaps it is the fact that we’ve been living as hermits? In two years, we have pretty much lived a life of isolation. No big birthday parties for my kids. Limited exposure to everyone and everything. Life consists of work and home. Anything “fun” seems to have been put on hold. I just don’t feel comfortable yet. When will I feel that way again? Will I EVER feel that way again?

Perhaps it is the thought of change? I don’t like change. That is no secret. I have blogged about that many times. Fear of the unknown has been a fear of mine since I was a kid. This is so unwarranted. Many times I have taken a leap of faith and it turned out ok. It is bad enough when you have a fork in the road with two options, anything more than that can really take the stress and fear of the unknown up a few notches!

This is one of those situations where I wish my mom was around. I could always count on her to listen and offer her thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I have people I can talk to about things, and I appreciate their opinions, but they are not mom. Really, if I am being honest with myself, we are all going through some tough stuff right now. Are my friends really going to want to hear about my silly BS when they are dealing with their own? Probably not.

So here I am. Trying to sort through every possible emotion and feeling known to man to try and figure out what is going on. What do I do with those things in front of me? Do I just shut down and shut up? Do I just keep on keeping on? How much more can I look at all of this and scratch my head? What EXACTLY is the BEST outcome/scenario/choice?

This is going to sound silly, but sometimes I wish there was a fast forward button for life, so you could see what would happen based on decisions. Don’t like the outcome, rewind and try another option. Just rereading that I realize what a stupid thought that is. There is no such thing. There are no do overs. You make a choice and you live with the choice. If the outcome wasn’t good, you make a change.

I’ve made thousands of changes in my life. Those changes have brought me to the point where I am now. The point where I need to reassure myself of all the things in my life that make me happy.

If I have done something recently to annoy you, upset you, make you angry, or anything along those lines – I am sorry. I wish I could sit down and say, “I am feeling _______ and I’ll get through it!” I just need to fill in the blank. I’m just not sure how long it’s going to take to figure it out …

Insurance Rant

Look, I understand, we all need insurance. Right? It is supposed to be there for us when we need it. But let’s face it, insurance is one of the biggest money making scams out there. You pay and pay and pay, and when you do need it, you end up jumping through hoop after hoop to get what you need. They always have some clause or reason that you won’t get what you need. It doesn’t seem to matter what the outcome is for YOU, because in the end, the insurance companies keep making bank!

I guess I am going to sound like an old man here, and I am ok with that. There used to be a time where your place of employment gave you decent insurance as part of your benefits. Out of pocket costs were often very minimal unless you had a lengthy hospital stay. People who worked for a hospital or health care were taken care of by their employer. The auto industry also tended to have some of the best benefits. This just isn’t the case anymore.

Years ago, I remember deductibles were reasonable. Now, they are outrageous! How many people actually meet their deductible in a year? Not too many people I know. Now they have higher deductibles for how many people are in your family and so on… They raise them so you will end up paying it (as well as your monthly costs) and they will always come out ahead! Last year I put the amount of my deductible on my FSA card (because when it was all gone, I would know I hit my deductible, right?!). I used it for all out of pocket costs – co-pays, prescriptions, etc. After I had used the entire FSA balance, I got a bill for something and I called the insurance company. I was told that co-pays don’t go toward your deductible. Maybe I am just stupid (or maybe the rules of the insurance companies are so vague purposely), but I questioned just what they considered “out of pocket” costs. To me, if I am paying for it – it is OUT OF MY POCKET! So I got screwed there.

I have found that I am not the only one who pays high costs for medical insurance, only to wind up with a stack of medical bills that I will spend years paying off. And by the time you get close to paying them off, you get hit with another one! A friend of mine who works with some financial company told me that medical debt is one of the reasons so many people in this country are struggling. So many people file for bankruptcy because they will never get their head above water because of medical expenses. Look on Facebook on any given day – there are always “go fund me” pages for people who need help with medical bills. It is SO unfair.

I wish I had a dollar for anytime someone has said to me, “Why do I bother having insurance?!” If I did, I would take those dollars and pay off some of my medical bills! How sad is it that people won’t go to the doctor or to the hospital when they need to because they are afraid of racking up thousands in medical debt?!

So where did this rant come from? Let me tell you. We recently received the bill for Ella’s ear surgery. How much of that was covered by insurance? According to the bill – ZERO. Zilch. NOTHING! Well, you can imagine how well that sat with Sam and I. It was all I could do to not use some choice profanity while I was talking to the insurance representative. The bill was close to $9000! The entire surgery took 6 minutes! (That works out to $1500 a minute! Nice gig, huh?!)

When the ENT called to talk about the bill prior to surgery, they told us our cost (after insurance) was less than $800. As a matter of fact, they even offered to take 5% off the bill if we paid it all off prior to the surgery even happening. Gee, thanks! Anyway, when that bill showed up, Sam and I about lost it. All we had to see was “claim denied” in big red letters at the bottom and our anger (and stress levels) were through the roof!

So I called and got some clown with a smile in his voice on the line. I held back all my anger and explained why I was calling. He stated that he needed to make sure that there was no other insurance that might be considered “primary” insurance that would cover this. I told him no, we only had this insurance. He immediately stated that they would rebill it and take care of it and we should see an adjustment within 7-10 days.

So what is that all about?! I can barely afford the insurance YOU provide. I guess the answer is to pay for more than one insurance policy in order to make your bills. But in the end, if I am paying for more than one insurance, is it really saving me any money? These insurance companies have you by the shirt collar and you are their pawn. You need insurance. Yet, you will still go into debt with it. I just don’t get it.

Don’t even get my started on car insurance…. because that is just as bad or worse!

Ok. I’m raising my blood pressure, so I will stop. I’ll be ok …. until the new bill arrives!

Classic Calvin and Hobbes

Emotional Weekend Recap

It is taking all that is in me to write a blog today. I don’t feel like writing. I’m numb today.

All weekend long I struggled with whether or not to proceed with something. It is something that has weighed very heavy on my heart. It is something that comes with risks no matter what I decided to do. I have spent three entire therapy sessions (one I scheduled purposely) discussing it with my therapist. No matter how much I talked about it, no matter how I looked at it, no matter what the pros and cons were, I still don’t feel like I was ready to make a decision. Based on previous blogs, you can probably figure out what I am talking about.

It doesn’t really even matter what it is. I wrestled to make a decision and now I am wrestling with the decision I made. I am literally numb. I am feeling many emotions today – fear, anger, sadness, uncertainty, worry, and so many more. As I stared at the computer screen, I wondered just what the hell I wanted to write about. So I grabbed my phone and looked back at some of the pictures from the weekend and figured maybe I should at least talk about the positives.

Positives

First of all, I got to spend the entire weekend with my wife and daughter. It was an extended weekend for my wife and I, and as a bonus we both got Tuesday off. We actually had time to sit on the couch and watch shows we had on the DVR, which is something we rarely get to do. Ella had us laughing a lot this weekend. Recently, Sam’s folks bought her an easel. It has a chalkboard, whiteboard, place for paper, etc… We thought that this would be great for her to draw on. We haven’t let her paint yet, but she can color on it and uses the chalkboard a lot. Up until now, the sidewalk chalk had to stay outside. Now she has it on the easel, which isn’t always a good thing ….

This probably won’t stop her from drawing on the furniture … but it was worth a try!

On Sunday, I got together with two of my close friends from high school – Margaret and Chris. It was probably a couple months ago that a picture of the three of us came up in Facebook Memories. I think it said the picture was taken 10 years ago! While I’ve gotten together with them separately since, it had been that long since we all got together. So we met at Margaret’s house and she had a cook out. The town was hopping because the peach festival was going on. I got their late, because I thought we were supposed to get together on Monday. No matter, we all got to sit around and chat, reminisce, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company. Before we wrapped up the day, I said we had to get another picture! I sent the picture to both of them, and each of us posted it on our pages. Margaret joked around and said to crop the picture more …. so I did….

Really a great picture of us ….

Sometimes, I have to do things just to take my mind off the crap that is on social media. I am so sick of the politics, hatred, and sadness that is often the subject of posts on Facebook. During conversation at Margaret’s, the topic turned to some silliness I have been posting. I did this last September, too. I know it is stupid, but it truly makes me laugh and I share to save my sanity.

One of the Three Stooges pages I follow on Facebook takes Shemp Howard’s picture and Photoshops them on other pictures. The can be movie stills, magazine covers, etc. They call the entire month of September – SHEMPtember! So every day this month, I find a silly pic from their page and post it. This remains one of my favorites, and I am sure my musical followers will get a good laugh from it, too….

The Shemptations!!!!!

30 days of stupidity? Yeah, probably. I’ll take the stupidity and enjoy the laugh over the other things I am feeling any day.

The rest of the weekend falls into the area that I’d rather not think about ….

I hope you had an enjoyable Labor Day Weekend.

Music – LISTEN TO IT!

I posted this on Facebook earlier, and thought I would share it here on my blog.  I am WAY behind on my Tune Tuesday posts, and I hope to correct that soon.  I know many of my followers enjoy music like I do, so I wanted to post this article I found extremely interesting.

Cute-baby-with-bigg-headphones

You should listen to music every day.  And according to a new study, you should listen to 78 minutes of it every day.

That’s the amount recommended by the British Academy of Sound Therapy for maintaining good mental health.  But you can’t just listen to one specific type of music.  There’s actually a formula.  You need:

14 minutes of “uplifting” music to feel happy.

16 minutes of “calming” music to feel relaxed.

16 minutes of whatever you choose to overcome sadness.

15 minutes of “motivating” music to aid concentration.

And another 17 minutes of whatever you choose to help manage your anger.

Even though they recommend 78 minutes, 11 minutes a day still has therapeutic benefits, and you can boost your happiness with just FIVE minutes.

studying_jpeg-824x549

Here is a link to the entire article:  https://loudwire.com/study-music-mental-health/

Music background with notes and watercolor texture

So turn up the volume!  Enjoy some music today!!