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My town has a community forum on Facebook.  It is a great place to find out about free concerts and other community events.  Unfortunately, it is also where people go to complain, fuss and fume.

On Monday, one of the members put up a joking post.  “So what are you all mad about today?”  Unfortunately, a lot of people didn’t get that he was joking and started responding with all of the little things that had already annoyed them yesterday morning. Soon it had gone from a joke to a community gripe session.

Me?  I try to limit my complaints online.  I post positive, inspirational quotes like the one above.  I post baby animals.  You can see both on my Facebook page. I share news about my friend’s books.  I post about the awesome things my local library does.

I’m not saying that nothing ever annoys me.  Lots of things do, but I don’t want to be that person.  So instead of complaining online, I get up.  I walk.  I weave.  I work on a puzzle.  I play a game with the boy.  And let me tell you, that boy is good at making me laugh. Comedy is definitely one of his gifts.  And last of all, I sleep on it.

If I still feel the need to post, I post.  That’s why most of my unhappy posts tend to be “big ticket items.” Social justice.  Conservation. The environment.  I don’t only see the positive but one of the gifts that God gave me is the ability to let things slide.  Sure, I saw what so-and-so was wearing.  And I too think the school superintendent’s message could have been better worded.

But once I sleep on issues like these and share a good laugh with the boy?  It just isn’t worth commenting on.




In my small city, like many small cities, retail is ebbing.  Not many stores can compete with Amazon and other online venues.  But just this week, three fliers have been dropped off for new business.  Two were for at home parties, like Tupperware.  The other was for a new auto shop.  I’m not into at home parties of any kind, but new businesses?  Yes!

So I was more than a little surprised when I popped by our community page and saw all the negative comments.  “How dare he put this flier on my car!”  “Don’t you have to have a license to distribute material?  Call the police.”  On and on and on it went.  People ended up looking petty and hateful.

Times like this, I miss my grandad.  His advice to these people would have been simple.  “You have too much time on your hands.  Isn’t there something better you could be doing?”

But then again, my grandparents were always busy.  I don’t remember ever seeing any convenience foods in the house.  And grandad tended a double lot without a riding mower.  I suspect my grandmother had a drier but I also remember hanging clothes.  Pegging jeans to the line meant keeping the legs off the ground. By the time you reached the end of the line, literally, the jeans on the other end would be almost dry.  The wonder of high desert air.

Put your device down.  Get busy doing something with your hands.  If you don’t have a meal to prepare or clothes to wash, folding them in prayer would be another option.  And, honestly, isn’t it a better way to spend your time?




I have to admit it. This one hits a little close to home.

Recently, I’ve been stuck doing someone else’s job.  I don’t mind helping someone out.  But I’m a volunteer.  She gets paid to do it and hasn’t for months.  And did I get even a thank you?  Um, no.  Her attitude toward me is distant on good days and on bad days it is even worse.

My attitude? I’ve been whining.  Or whinging, depending on which spelling you prefer.  As my grandmother would say, I have been a bitter pill.

Oddly enough, her attitude hasn’t gotten any better.

I can’t do much about her attitude, but I sure could do something about mine.  It is time to stop fussing.  God does, so I am told, love a cheerful giver.  It’s about time I stepped up and started being one.



It’s the land of tall tales and hero stories, a place where we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and reach for the American dream. So why do so many of us prefer to wallow in our misery? Why do ordinary conversations turn into one-upmanship of the gloomy variety? Feeling sick? Well, I have a chronic illness and a dead-end job. Really? I can go you one better — I’m sick, embattled, and the world is out to get me!

Maybe it’s in our roots. The Pilgrims schlepped over here on the Mayflower because they were being persecuted for their faith. First thing they did? Persecute others for their faith. The list of victims grew. After awhile, it became a culture. Everyone knows a person (sadly, usually a woman) who uses her endless list of misfortunes to gain pity, caring, even a sad simulacrum of love. Why? Why would anyone want to be important for being harried, put-upon, miserable?

Maybe they don’t think they can do any better. Perhaps their low self-esteem keeps them from believing they can do great things. Or, maybe, the victim role works. Their plight is so desperate, others can’t help but admire them: “Look at that plucky little lady! Look at how she suffers, yet bears it all somehow!”

Yes, there are those who are truly burdened, but they generally aren’t the ones moaning about it. They’re the ones doing something about it. It’s time to give up voluntary martyrdom. We’re better than this, America.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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