Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where's the Aflac Duck when you need him?

Does anybody remember that commercial where a little chubby-cheeked boy says, “Blueberries are our friends”? I’m thinking it was a Welch’s grape juice commercial from the 90’s, although I’m not sure why a grape juice commercial would be promoting blueberries, so I’m not really sure. (If you have any confirmation or YouTube link, hook a girl up, K?) Still. Every now and then, I find opportunities to quote that phrase about the antioxidant fruit.

It’s kind of like the little old lady at Wendy’s wondering, “where’s the beef?”. You would be amazed at how often I find “where’s the beef?” to be an appropriate question in an ordinary day conversation even after a whole generation has grown up never knowing that commercial even existed.

But don’t get me started on this new generation’s fast food commercials. I mean, really. The Burger King??

I was a big fan of the Barry Manilow commercial jingles. “You deserve a break today, so get up and get away, to McDonalds.” And, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there…” I’m not sure I know any current commercial jingles. Do commercials even have jingles anymore?

Lately, every time Flo from Progressive Insurance comes on the TV screen, Scott instantly changes the channel. He simply cannot look at her with all her eyeliner and perkiness nor can he tolerate her chirpy voice. I kind of like her because she can be happy about something as boringly miserable as insurance. Oh, to be that na├»ve and blissful about something you have to pay dearly for but pray you’ll never need.

I have my own personal issues with Jamie Lee Curtis and Activia yogurt. I haven’t seen one of those commercials lately so maybe they realized it was a bad idea, but for a while there Jamie Lee was trying to convince us to take the Activia Challenge for 14 days. But here’s the kicker, she asks us to video tape ourselves during the course of the 14 day challenge and then submit them to her.

First of all, if you didn’t know, Activia yogurt contains bifidus regularis, aka probiotic bacterium Bifidobacterium animalis. In Jamie Lee’s words, it helps regulate your digestion. In my words, it helps you “go” more regularly instead of every couple of days.

My question is, what exactly is it that Jamie Lee wants me to film?

I mean, if I eat a cup of Activia yogurt every day, chances are I’m going to eat it the same way every single day. I’ll peel off the foil lid and dip in with a spoon. I’ll likely do in the privacy of my own home and not out in public because who wants to be seen eating digestion regulating yogurt? It would only fuel my nemesis’ impression that I am full of it. So, if I were filming that portion, even my surroundings would be the same. Every day for 14 days.

The one thing that would change would be, well, my digestion. Does she really want me to film the evidence of that?

It would certainly be easy to do. So easy in fact that I think a caveman could do it.

Too bad they fired him and hired some weird, plastic googly eyes with dollar bills for a mustache. Ok, that’s enough. I gotta go.

No, not that kind of “go.”

Which, by the way, I would not film even it I did.

You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it's a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn't you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair? 1 Corinthians 12:20-24 The Message.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Emperor's Expectorant

Some people are visionaries. They are able to see things the way they hope and dream for them to become. They are the ones that are goal setters and star reachers. “To dream the impossible dream….”

Some people are idealists. They see things from an absolute perfection perspective. They are the ones that know all the rules and proper procedures and are usually pretty good instructors in such methods. “If you do it this exactly like this, then this will be the positive result….”

While both types are quite admirable, I am not either one. I may have attempted to be them a time or two, but I have a hard time seeing anything other than stark reality. “The Emperor is not wearing any clothes…”

Yes, I have hopes and dreams and a few ideals, but the reality I see far outshines anything else. Funny thing, though. With hindsight sometimes it becomes obvious that the realist in me had a clearer picture of the future that my future-minded friends. Often, if you take a good look at the way things really, truly are, it is not difficult to see where they are going.

In looking ahead and trying to face the future, there has been one word that always gets thrown at me. It’s happened all of my life. I’ve written about it before because, well, it just keeps coming up. (Here’s what I wrote about the last time I got the reminder.)

The word: EXPECTATION

The realist in me has eliminated the need for a lot of expectations. Again, I do have hopes and dreams. I just don’t tie my entire future to them and I can still find peace and satisfaction even if they never come to fruition. When and if they ever become a reality, then I’m all the more blessed and thankful. Mostly I’ve learned not to have great expectations for other people. Especially those close to me. It makes me love them all the more when they actually do something that I hoped they would do, but didn’t bank my happiness on it.

What I’m dealing with right now is, however, other people’s expectations; those other people being the visionaries and idealists living in my world. They have such great expectations of me.

I want to tell those people a few things….

First of all, thank you. Thank you for your vote of confidence. Thank you for thinking that I can be better than I am. Thank you for thinking that I am capable and talented enough to achieve all that you envision. Thank you for setting your standards high.

Secondly, I’m sorry. I have failed you. I am sorry that I have let you down. I have tried, but I have not been able to live up to your expectations. Your absolute need to see me accomplish what you’ve prioritized is only filling your life with strife and disappointment. The anger that you have over what you see as my failure is killing you, not me.

You set those priorities, not me.

Yes, I have failed. But my failure is in trying to please you and not my Creator.

Yes, I am at fault. I’ve stepped over the fault line several times and have accumulated a great big pile of rubble all on my own, even without your expectations. I have more guilt that I can carry.

But my faults are not your fault. They have nothing to do with you.

As much as I might want to be, I am not responsible for your expectations. Only you can control that.

I hope that you will keep reaching for the stars and showing others the proper procedures because you will be an inspiration to someone else along the way.

But please, release me. Let me go.

You will be the one that ends up with the true freedom.

Of course, I have no expectations about what you’ll do.

I’ll just wait to be surprised and blessed by even more than I could have hoped for.
Amazing Grace will always be my song of praise.
For it was grace, that brought me liberty,
I do not know, just why He came to love me so.
He looked beyond my faults and saw my need.

I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary,
To view the cross, where Jesus died for me
How marvelous, His grace that caught my falling soul
He Looked beyond my faults and saw my
need.
-Dottie Rambo

They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. 2 Corinthians 8:5