Archive for the Something that got me thinking Category

Talents

Posted in Something that got me thinking on July 20, 2011 by Julie Mangan

A while ago we read the parable of the talents and it got me thinking. The point of the story is clear. Take what you’re given and turn it into something more. Don’t squander or hide it. Value it. In the parable the master gave the men their talents. They knew what they had been given. It was right there in their hot little hands. Two men went out and used their talents to get more talents while another guy buried his, only to hand it back to his master later.

Here is my concern: I don’t know what talents I’ve been handed, so how can I be held accountable if I don’t use it/them to gain more talents? Maybe I’m really good milking cows, but I’ll never know because I don’t live on a dairy farm. Some of you might ask, “well, do you have an interest in milking cows?” My answer would be “Of course not. Do I seem like a morning person to you?” But just because I have no interest in doing it doesn’t mean that wasn’t one of the talents given to me.

On the flip side: There are things in my past which I have considered talents. I tried to enhance them, but they never went anywhere. But in those moments, in the midst of those experiences, I really tried. So why, if the Lord wanted me to do something with them, did it not work out? If those were the talents I was given and expected to use to garner more talents then why the big Fail?

I guess what I’m trying to say here is: How do you know? I can’t go out and experience everything. With the things I do suspect as talents, how do I know when to say, “Ok, I guess that’s not one of the talents,” and move on. Maybe I’m spending so much time trying to enhance a talent I suspect I’ve been given that I’m really missing the talents I actually did receive.

At the beginning of the movie Matilda (and maybe the book too, I don’t remember) they talk about people being born into this world as unique individuals. Some will be butchers and so on, and others will only be really good at making Jello salad. For some reason that has always stuck with me. Whenever I get to wondering about my talents that line pops into my head. And before you ask, no, Jello salad is not one of my talents. Trust me. It never sets properly. But I digress.

What if my talents are in that realm? What if my talent is getting knots out of shoelaces? What if my talent is memorizing movie lines? Folding underwear? Brushing the cat? If this is the case, then shouldn’t things I gave up on in the past stop bothering me? Shouldn’t I NOT have to wonder, “maybe that was it, and I missed the boat. I gave up to soon, and now I’ll never get that talent back, and I’ll have to answer for it when I meet God.” Why do I feel the need to do something more if this is what He intended me to do?

When Past Meets Present

Posted in My life, Something that got me thinking on March 7, 2011 by Julie Mangan

Facebook is in interesting tool, probably best left unused in some cases. People from your past are all over the place, begging for attention, and in some cases you can’t help but give it, in hopes that things are working out well for them. You go to their wall, read their last few status updates and big as life, there it is between the lines. Their tone and content is pleasant, even humorous at times. But you can tell, you can just tell, that it’s all one big farce.

The latest person I’ve read about will remain nameless, but some might be able to guess who it is. Please, if you can, don’t name him/her/it. We will call him/her/it The Topic. Now, The Topic was once a dear friend. We did lots of things together. Spent endless hours talking on the phone, hanging out at school, after school, at work, at home, on vacation together. Pretty much, we were inseparable for a few good years. Then, lives changed, circumstances changed, and we drifted apart. I made decisions, The Topic made decisions, and we have arrived at March 6 2011, both alive, thought having not spoken in ages. There was no scene, no horrid falling out. We simply grew apart due to our responsibilities and goals. We reconnected for a time, but during that brief time span it became clear to me that The Topic had changed. I didn’t want to judge. I still don’t. It’s just evident, (then, just as much as now) that perhaps The Topic had made a few regrettable choices. I too, had made such choices, and resumed the friendship after airing a few grievances and talking them over. No harm, no foul.

In the course of that period The Topic did some things I would never dream of doing. It caused irreparable damage to another friendship, and put me in the middle of a rather uncomfortable situation. Still, I tried to remain friends with The Topic. The Topic went about life, making choices, achieving goals. I supported The Topic as a friend, lending a shoulder to cry on when upset and never doling out recriminations for choices made. Then, after a serious crisis in The Topic’s life, ties were severed. I had nothing to do with said crisis. Yet in the fallout, I became a casualty. The Topic disappeared.

Years later, another friend and I found The Topic on Facebook through sheer happenstance. The Topic had changed last names to no last name we ever knew The Topic to go by, but the photo was unmistakable. Also by sheer happenstance, The Topic happened to be online at that exact moment and we spent a good hour or two chatting over the social medium. We friended each other and every now and then I see a post that sparks my interest, pinches my memory about something in our past, and I take a look at The Topic’s wall.

Absolutely depressing.

And not because I see The Topic doing things I would like to do (because The Topic doesn’t). It’s because I see The Topic doing things that I know are in direct contrast to who The Topic is. Or at least was. Perhaps that is who The Topic is now. If so, it makes me wonder what happened in between that time of crisis and now, to completely destroy that wonderful personality and turn it into such a phony facade. I know The Topic. I know The Topic is in a desperate place. I can see it dripping from every status update. And it’s depressing to think The Topic could get out of it, just by admitting a few things were wrong. By manning up, and saying “I was wrong. I need to take a step back and reevaluate the things I value in life. I need to give a few apologies and make a few amends. I need to make a few adjustments.” Why is that so hard for some people?

I’d like to help The Topic. But I don’t know how. Even if I did, I don’t think The Topic would accept it. I think the bitterness and despair is too deep. I can only hope someone else, Someone above or someone The Topic calls a friend now, sees it too, and helps where I can’t.

Trials

Posted in Something that got me thinking on February 28, 2011 by Julie Mangan

During the last few months I’ve heard people talk about trials and tribulations a lot. Even more than food storage. It’s been said that trials are given to us to make us stronger. So my question is (and forgive me if it irritates someone) what if you don’t really have any?

I’ve wondered this before. I’ve looked at my life compared to others and I marvel at how lightly I’ve gotten off so far. And whenever I think this I instantly become paranoid, waiting for the axe to fall. But so far it hasn’t. Why, I wonder. Obviously the Lord has blessed me and mine. I don’t dispute that at all. It’s not that I want horrible things to happen. I just wonder what I’ve done to deserve such blessings, or conversely, why the Lord chooses not to utilize trials in strengthening me thus far. Why do some good people have such horrible things happen while people of questionable ethics and morals get everything they’ve ever wanted? And then there’s me, far from perfect but hopefully far from horrible as well. Just like a lot of other people I know, going through life-altering challenges.

What makes me so different?

books vs tv adaptations

Posted in Something that got me thinking on February 26, 2011 by Julie Mangan

I’ve read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies, and it never fails to astounded me how one can be so much better than the other.
The example that got me thinking on the subject is abcfamily’s pretty little liars, named after a book series by Sara Shepard. I’ve watched the show from day one, have had my issues with it, but nothing bad enough to turn me away. Yet in the first ten pages of the novel I was so irritated by the writing, the premises, and what I knew to be coming, that I put it down, with no intention of returning to it. And it wasn’t that I knew bad things were going to happen, it was more in the way the writer portrayed the characters as seventh graders. Now, anyone who’s watched the show can tell you these are not the type of activities seventh graders should be up to. So I have to wonder, why did the author choose to make them so young while engaging in such self-destructive behavior, and why did abcfamily choose to place them as juniors in high-school instead?
Imo. Abcfamily made the right choice, which in and of itself is a miracle considering current tv tends. But what about Ms. Shepard? Did she hope for a wider audience by making the girls so young, or is this simply insight into the type of skewed childhood she led? Or is it something else turning me away from the book, some personal preference?
Are these really great books, and I just can’t see it because of the age issues, or is it just a great tv show despite its disreputable origin?

My first ebook experience

Posted in Something that got me thinking on February 23, 2011 by Julie Mangan

I just finished my first ebook and had a few thoughts to go along with it.

First, the person who invented the concept of ebooks should be filthy rich. Rolling in money. Blowing their nose in hundred-dollar bills. They deserve it. I loved it. Loved. It. Since my eReader is also my phone I always have it with me anyway, so why not throw a few books on there for when I’m standing in checkout lines, waiting for dinner to simmer, sitting in traffic (don’t tell my mother) or pretending to watch TV with the kids.  Genius, I tell you. Absolute genius. My purse has never been lighter.

Second, the book: The Dark Divine, by Bree Despain was the chosen novel, and over all I felt impressed. It’s YA paranormal romance (I think), along the lines of Twilight. You can tell Mrs. Despain is a Team Jacob supporter, and some of the situations **cough, cough, running, cough** are highly reminiscent of Stephanie Meyers brain child, but it’s done well enough to not be annoying. Also, the heroine, Grace, is whinny as all teenage girls are, but nothing like Bella. She’s more… the square root of Bella where whining is concerned. So a big thumbs up for The Dark Divine. I think I’ll move on to The Lost Saint, to see where Mrs. Despain takes us from here.

Bedtime Stories

Posted in Something that got me thinking on February 23, 2011 by Julie Mangan

Tonight The Boy and I read Mickey and the Beanstalk before bed. Summary: Mickey and his friends are starving so they decide to sell their cow for food, rather than everyone going out and getting jobs. Mickey sells said cow for beans, Donald throws a tantrum and everyone goes to bed hungry. The next day Mickey climbs a beanstalk to the clouds, commits burglary, and tells his friends about it. The next day he climbs a beanstalk to the clouds, commits burglary, and tells his friends about it (again). On the third day he climbs a beanstalk to the clouds, commits burglary and murder then tells his friends about it (yet again). They all live happily ever after on the bounty of their ill-gotten gains, never lifting a finger or caring that they were the true villains.

Does this seem odd to anyone else but me?

The Edge of the Earth

Posted in Something that got me thinking on February 20, 2011 by Julie Mangan

Turns out the edge of the earth is somewhere between Stansbury Park and civilization. Driving past it as often as I do, it was inevitable that I’d fall off. But I’ve climbed my way back on, shaken myself off, and rediscovered that which was lost. Hopefully, I won’t fall off again.