Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sex, Violence and Crass Humor - does it bother you?

I hate to rant about things, but I am just so over all the junk that is displayed as entertainment these days. I have been watching for the past few weeks and keeping a bit of a count as to what type of television is available these days. It seems almost everything is low class and crass. Why do we follow these shows and let our kids watch them?  I have to admit to watching two seasons of the bachelor when it was maybe in its 3rd and fourth season. I got hooked while staying at my daughter's after her baby was born and out of boredom got sucked in the last 4 shows of that season. It seemed so fairy-tale to me - doesn't every girl want to find her special someone, her prince charming? Then I watched the next season and started  to realize it for the train-wreck it is. Why in the world would you be willing to go on tv and lower your standards just to catch a man - the fantasy suite?? Ugh! I can't imagine why you would want everyone in the country know you slept with a guy...and why would you still want to marry him knowing he slept with one or two other girls the same week? We are trying to teach our young girls some sense of modesty, at least I think some families are...this surely doesn't help. If you add in shows like 2 Broke Girls, Lena Dunham's Girls and the ever-present vampire shows, there is no way our girls are learning things that will help them in life.

I also noted that almost every show this season had to have a gay character or couple. I get that the gay community wants to be represented, but sometimes it feels like its being pushed in  your face. Just this Sunday I watched one of my favorite shows, Call the Midwife and there was a gay story line. Now I have read all the books that were written by Jennifer Worth that spawned  the series, and most of the story lines are straight from the book, but there was never ever a story line that one of the midwifes was gay. I also noted that almost every show over the last little while had something detrimental to say about Christianity as if every Christian is from Westboro Baptist and is a gun toting homophobe, which just isn't true. You want to represent all kinds of people on TV, then at least be honest about it.

The movies are no better. I can't tell you how many I have recently had to return after watching the first few minutes because of pervasive language or sexual scenes. I am not a prude, but has anyone ever thought about this? When someone peeps through your window to see you undress or make love, what do you call him? A peeping Tom, a pervert? Well, then what does that make us when we look through that keyhole in a movie while people are having sex or undressing - scary huh? It took me aback when my husband first asked me that - now I think about it all the time. I don't want to be in that company, thank you. Do we want our children to be peeping Toms?

Music is also eroding into songs that tear a woman apart or make her a sexual object, or are so depressing we don't have to wonder why our children are struggling with depression. These songs don't help them, they just drag them in farther even though the kids say they help. I can understand the need to know that many people struggle, but leaving no positive solution is not healthy.

Look at our obsession with celebrity. I catch myself entering it often. Why is that? These are people, the same as you or me, that we transfer our hopes and dreams onto thinking they have the answer - perfect faces, perfect bodies, cars, money, that what life is all about? I think I really woke up when I saw how the Thunderheads who follow Celtic Thunder, spend countless hours following them online through twitter, Facebook, their website and dozens of chat rooms on Facebook dedicated to this member or that. Many fly or drive to several group shows and then all of their solo shows every year, so much so, that the guys have gotten to know these ladies. I got sucked in there as well for a while, but I noticed that their lives are so different when they go back to Ireland, there they are just someone from the community that is a normal person, he just has a neat job. No one follows them around, stalks them or hounds them as has happened a few times here in the US, and  they have noted themselves that people in Ireland and Europe don't go quite as crazy as we do in America...we seem to throw ourselves into their lives and I wonder why? What is it we are missing here in  the U.S? 

I would love to hear your comments regarding this - do you think there is too much sex and potty humor on TV?
Do you think father's are portrayed as knowledgeable or buffoons who can't solve a family problem?
Do you find yourself limiting movies you watch because of sexual content or violence? Or am I the only one who sees this??

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Poverty in Appalachia: Can you help these people??

Back in the 90's I had a burden to try to help people in Appalachia. I spent some time trying to find a place there that could use children's clothing and toys and was happy to find a center I could help. I sent several packages there over time and one of the families there wrote me back and we kept up a correspondence for a long time. Eventually I got busy with other things and stopped sending packages.
I hadn't thought about that in a long time. Then Sunday I caught an episode of 60 Minutes (  and it really touched me. It was about health care in Appalachia. I guess I figured in this day and age, things were better there, but they are not. They are the same. Why are these people forgotten? You would think in this day and age, there wouldn't be grinding poverty in the US. You hear about "the projects" and African Americans who need help, but not about these people or this area. I think its time to change this!

Diane Sawyer has done a special about the children of the mountains ( and it is heart breaking.

My husband never made much money so we made do when the kids were growing, probably like many other families. Clothing was bought at the Salvation Army or given to us as hand-me-downs from friends, but we always made sure there were new  clothes for Christmas and Easter and filled in whatever else was needed. Sometimes when the kids were little, Christmas toys were things I bought at yard sales and cleaned up, but as they got older, we were able to get new things for them,
just nothing exorbitant. We ate pretty basic but healthy meals, we didn't have the money for dinners out, but we could manage Burger King kid's meals now and then. That being said, our kids never went hungry, and they always had the necessities of life. We didn't take vacations, but enjoyed what was around us - mountains, lakes and a large city nearby with plenty to see and do. I remember my daughter declaring she would never be poor, but I really never considered us poor, just average.

The children of Appalachia are a different story altogether. These families often are three times below the poverty level. Drugs are rampant (an escape from life's woes) and people turn to dealing them to make some kind of money (the moonshine of this day and age). It is heartbreaking. These children hardly have a chance to finish high school, much less go to college. It is an awful cycle of poverty.

This awakening coincides with my own personal quest to get rid of the excess in my home - I, like many, tend to impulse buy and have things I have never used in my house. I also tend to be a bit of a hoarder and have things like fabric, art supplies, books - even toothbrushes and toothpaste that I seem to have collected in abundance because of sale prices. Today I decided to find out if I could send any of these old new things to a place in Appalachia where they could be put to good use. I typed a simple query into google "how to help people in Appalachia" and  found several places that help and take donations. Some are Christian organizations, some are not, but all seem dedicated to help in one way or another. Here are just a few I came upon:

You can send old cell phones, new toiletries, used printer cartridges, books, even scrapbook supplies! They need undies, socks, clothing, computers, instruments, care bundles for newborn babies, small kitchen name it, there is probably a need for it. You can go on work teams to help fix homes or do a VBS with the kids. There is no lack of things to be done. As Americans we usually send our money to outreaches in Africa, the Middle East, Asia etc., but folks, we need help here at home - how can we be the best country in the world with families living like this??

So, I will now get off my soapbox and hope and pray this will encourage you to look at some of these places and find where you can be a light to them.