Better Sex, the Subjugation of Women, and Shades of the Real Thing

An amazing post regarding the book “50 Shades of Grey” and the upcoming movie. I agree wholeheartedly with the author’s sentiments.

Written by Glenn Packiam.

Better Sex, the Subjugation of Women, and Shades of the Real Thing.

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Facebook and Greg: A Story of Love and Loss

As I mentioned in my previous post, I left Facebook. I deactivated my account. I’m certainly not the first, and I won’t be the last. A wise man once said, “Getting rid of Facebook is like running away from home as a kid. You’re only doing it for attention and we all know you’ll be back.” Truer words were never spoken.

I left Facebook for the complete opposite reason of wanting attention – I wanted to avoid attention. I realized that my Facebook account was pretty much a shrine to my relationship with Christine. Hundreds of pictures, occasions, memories, experiences all shared with a woman who just left me. And I was surrounded by Facebook friends who liked, commented, and shared in these experiences with me. I could either get rid of all traces of that failed relationship, or just quit it altogether.

There are three reasons why it was just easier to walk away from Facebook.

1) The thought of having to methodically go through my Facebook use for the last three years to purge memories I didn’t want to see anymore terrified me. Such a daunting task! A task I was not prepared for.

2) If I maintained my presence on Facebook, it would inevitably become the place where people found out what was going on with me. Half of those people deserved a better way for that to be communicated to them, and the other half didn’t deserve to know about my problems at all. If Facebook wasn’t even an option, these people would find out about my situation via a source that would no doubt be preferable to a social media platform.

3) I wanted to get rid of any temptation to use Facebook as a soapbox. Although I consider myself a mature adult, the allure of using social networks to vent about one’s life can be quite strong. I didn’t want to be one of those whiny, obnoxious people who use Facebook to constantly complain about their life’s problems.

So I just deactivated my account. Problem solved. But I was real with myself. I made myself acknowledge that I would most likely be back. But I would do it when I was good and ready.

It’s been almost three months. And to be honest, it’s been great! I miss Facebook once in a while. I enjoyed making my friends laugh with funny posts, sharing thought-provoking news articles, blowing up people’s timelines with pics of my dog, etc. And I’ll be doing that all again soon enough. But I also realized that a lot of my Facebook use was more out of habit rather than pure desire. I would check Facebook multiple times a day because that’s what I always did. When I get back on Facebook, it’ll be because I want to. But for now, I’m enjoying the time away.

Plus, I always have Twitter and Instagram. You should follow me!

‘Til next time, friends.

-GH-

Divorce Sucks

Hey sports fans, it’s been awhile.

My readership will be down quite a bit with this post considering I left Facebook two months ago. I’ll post my thoughts on my Facebook fast in another post, but I’ll say one thing about it now – you should do it.

These last few months have been…well…rough. I won’t regale you with stories of how life sucks or how unfair it is or whatever, but you all deserve to know what’s going on.

I last posted about getting engaged to a beautiful girl named Christine. We ended up getting married last August. In December, she decided she did not want to be married anymore. It was devastating, to say the least.

glass case of emotion

Since that bomb was dropped, my world has been a roller coaster of emotions, from feelings of inadequacy and failure, to anger, resentment, bitterness, and everything in between. For those of you who are/were married, you understand just how much of your life is hinged on your marriage and your spouse. So when that spouse walks out of your life forever, life becomes unhinged. For a while, I truly felt like life had ended. It was brutal.

But life didn’t end.

I was able to climb out of the abyss of despair and depression (too dramatic?) because I realized that my life wasn’t over because Christine left me. Yes, my marriage was an extremely important part of my life, but I had other parts too.

I had (have) my faith, my family, my friends, my job, and of course, my dog. These are all amazing things in my life. Things that I knew if I could hold on to, they would pull me out of any bout of depression. And that’s what happened. They pulled me out. They made me realize that I am a blessed man, a lucky man. My marriage ending knocked me down. And knocked me down hard.  But not permanently. No way.

My dog, Sam, at the lake!

My dog, Sam, has been a great companion through all this.

It still hurts, there’s no denying it. But it has gotten easier. And I know it will continue to get easier. And so, for all of you dealing with anything like what I have dealt with, believe me, your life is not over. Focus on the good in your life. It will do a remarkable job of belying the bad.

Thanks for listening.

-GH-

 

The Things I’ve Learned Since Getting Engaged.

Christine and I rock the whole engagement thing.

Christine and I rock the whole engagement thing.

There are innumerable articles and books on what men (and women) have learned/noticed/loved/hated/whatever since getting married. But for some reason, no one writes about what it’s like when you get engaged. I’m sort of surprised, actually. Where’s the love for engagements? Why is it that no one appreciates them?

Here’s why the place for engagement love is a black abyss of emptiness: Engagements are usually defined as being mere “waiting” periods for the next stage (i.e. marriage). Well, I say “hogwash!”. Engagements are great all on their own! Yes, they’re cool for being precursors to something better. But my engagement has been incredible for a lot more than just that. I may be in the minority, but being engaged has been unequivocally life-changing for me. And I don’t want to hear the response, “Just wait until you’re married! It’ll be even more life-changing!” Duh, I know. Thanks Captain Obvious. I think it goes without saying that marriage is life-changing. This post is not about marriage. Marriage is like the youngest child of the family – it gets all the attention. Engagements are like the middle child – always forgotten.

Talking with other people, I most often hear how  the anxiety and impatience they felt were the only things they took away from their engagement. If there was one positive thing they could possibly take away from that time, it would be the feeling of anticipation for the upcoming nuptials. And of course I have that same feeling of anticipation. I can’t wait for my wedding either! But Christine and I are experiencing our engagement in a way that isn’t one dimensional at all. For us, it’s been fun, exciting, and above all, educational! Simply put, it’s been straight up awesome.

My life has been completely upended (in a totally good way) since asking Christine to marry me back in February. I’ve been a complete idiot in my past relationships. I have been at some crazy low points where I deserved nothing good and no one special (shocking, I know). I’ve had to climb out of some seriously deep holes that I dug all on my own. So when that moment came, the moment where I got down on one knee, looked into the eyes of the most incredible woman of my entire life, asked her to be my wife, and she said yes, this indescribable feeling of joy swept over me. What redemption! Here is a woman who loves me as much as I love her, an insanely beautiful, talented, special woman who actually wants to spend the rest of her life with me! Whoa! I am so blessed!

This is the exact reason why my engagement is as significant as any other season I will ever experience in my life. This is why I will never see my engagement as “just a waiting period”. Maybe for you engagements aren’t that big of a deal, but they certainly are for me.

OK, enough mushy stuff. Ew. Time to be funny! Here’s what I have learned since getting engaged.

1) Sex is something we can now talk about.
This is something that apparently can’t be talked about with single guys because no one has ever said anything on the subject other than “No premarital sex!” to me before. Now that I’m engaged, it’s like I joined a secret society where sex is freely talked about. But I’m being treated like my dad treated me when I was 10 when he gave me the birds and the bees talk. People, I’m 28. I got this.

Married couples are hilarious too. Hearing them drop hints about how great the sex will be when we’re married always makes me laugh. They clearly have one rule, though – you can’t use the word “sex”. That word is clearly taboo because it’s being replaced with phrases such as, “in the bedroom” or “relations of the intimate nature.” Has anyone else noticed this?

2) Wedding planning can actually be fun and stress-free
I am disappointed in all you married people who complained to me about how stressful your wedding planning was, or warned me that it would be hectic and overwhelming. You’re all wusses. Christine and I are having a blast. We’re doing our best to not procrastinate and stay under budget, and are being rewarded for our efforts. We’re enjoying every aspect of the planning. And it’s so cool seeing how creative and talented Christine is. Pretty much the entire wedding is planned and designed by her.

3) Referring to someone as your fiancée sounds incredibly pretentious
Why is it that it sounds perfectly fine to say, “My girlfriend and I…” or “My wife and I…”, but when I utter the words, “My fiancée and I…”, I sound like a snooty braggart who’s trying to make you feel bad for not having anyone in your life.  I really enjoy referring to Christine as my fiancée so I’m sorry for my obnoxiousness. Wait a minute…no I’m not.

4) No one knows how to spell fiancé or fiancée.
I know, I know. I’m crazy about correct spelling. But it’s time we get this right. If you’re a dude and you’re engaged, you are referred to as a fiancé. If you’re a lady and you’re engaged, you’re referred to as a fiancée. Let’s get it together, people. The word is French in origin and the “ay” sound at the end is indicated by an accent aigu (é). The masculine of the word ends with a single “é”, but the feminine variation adds another “e” (ée). Be smarter, kids! On a similar note, it’s “resumé”, not “resume”.

5) Getting engagement/bridal shower presents is awesome.
I don’t think anything more needs to be said than that, but I will say that Christine and I feel insanely blessed with the generosity of our friends and family. We feel so much love and support, and so we thank all of you! Also, no one got the power drill off the registry. Can someone get on that, please? We have enough towels and plates. Where’s the fun stuff?

presents-presents-everywhere

OK, let’s wrap this up. My advice to all you current and future engaged couples out there is to enjoy your engagement! Cherish it! Take advantage of that time to learn about your future spouse, and for him or her to learn about you. It’s a temporary moment in our lives and that makes it unique. Years from now, when I look back at my engagement, I won’t remember it as a whirlwind of stress and anxiety, but instead as a time of excitement and fun!

5 Really Good Reasons to Leave Your Church

A friend recently shared an article written by blogger and pastor Aaron Loy, titled “5 Really Bad Reasons to Leave Your Church.” It was a solid article and I encourage you to read it. Whether you agree or disagree with any or all of his reasons, it will undoubtedly challenge you to not be so quick to judge your church and hightail it out of there. Loy writes in the opening paragraph that there are indeed some good reasons to leave a church, but there are many bad reasons as well. As I was reading through the bad reasons, I started thinking, “What exactly are some good reasons to leave a church?”

Well, fear not, because after some serious prayer and meditation, I have compiled some legitimate, reasonable justifications as to why your current church might not be a good fit. If any or all of these following reasons apply to your situation, it may be time to flee.

1) The pastoral staff don white robes and hoods each Sunday morning.
You accidentally joined the KKK. Get out. Now.

2) On at least one occasion, you’ve been forcibly sent on a missions trip.
If you’ve woken up in a daze, finding yourself in the middle of the Amazon jungle or the Serengeti of Kenya with a Bible in one hand and a “Missionary Work for Dummies” book in the other, that rascally church family of yours has done it again. They’ve drugged your coffee during a “fellowship time” and put you on a plane to go do the Lord’s work in a third world nation. Further the kingdom, brother!

3) The board of elders is the official (and only) matchmaker.
Have your eye on that cute boy who plays piano on the worship team and works with orphans, eh? Well too bad. Elder Fitzsimmons has heard from on High that you were meant to marry Billy, that sweet, cross-eyed fella with the lisp. You two will have beautiful children, I’m sure.

4) Children’s Church participates in the Hunger Games each Sunday.
Have you noticed your daughter practicing sword fighting techniques or archery during the week? Is your son’s nickname Peeta? Have parishioners come up to you expressing their willingness to sponsor your child? It’s because your offspring just might be selected to represent their district come Sunday morning. May the odds be ever in their favor.

5) Your tithe and offering contribution amount is not decided by you.
Offering plates are not passed around. You do not choose how much you will give this week. Oh no, you couldn’t possibly be trusted with that responsibility. Instead, you must surrender your wallet to the nearest usher. He will decide how much you should give this week. No cash on you? That’s ok, a blank check will suffice. It’s all God’s anyway, so look cheerful!

Other possible reasons include: Your worship team is actually a Journey cover band; bake sales are forbidden because sugar is “from Satan”; your pastor received his theology degree via an online program run out of Bulgaria; or your pastor believes that a baptism isn’t legit unless the intending baptizee has been held under for a good minute and a half.

Do any of those apply to your church? Can you think of other good reasons to leave your church? Feel free to share them!

Please Proofread

I honestly don’t understand how grown adults can confuse “your” and “you’re”. It astonishes me. We’re talking about the most elementary of grammar rules. This is first grade material here.

Clearly I do not hesitate in making fun of people that mess that one up. I can be downright nasty. I don’t hold back. I’m cruel and I apologize.

Wait a minute… No I don’t. I do not apologize. You people need to get it together. This is something you learned in elementary school. Probably around the same time you learned that the capital of our nation is Washington, D.C. I’m guessing you remember what our capital is. So how did you forget the difference between “your” and “you’re”?

After all that ranting, I’ve given it more thought. Maybe that isn’t the case. Maybe you do know the difference. The real issue, then, is that you don’t proofread. For those of you that are really struggling right now, click here for the definition of “proofread”. But seriously, how hard is it to just look over the sentence you wrote a couple of times before moving on? Is your facebook post that urgent that it can’t wait 10 more seconds before you post it? Unless you’re warning someone that they’re on fire, it’s inexcusable.

If I see that I have a facebook notification and it says, “Yo, dude, your on fire”, I probably won’t be mad. I’ll be like, “Man, I have great friends who care about me.” And then I’ll douse the flames and take my bro out for a pizza.

But if I get another notification and it says, “Hey man, there’s a new movie out with Ryan Reynolds in it. Your going to love it.”, no, I will not love it because first of all Ryan Reynolds is a terrible actor and also because you can’t use the correct “you’re”. And then I’ll unfriend you because not only do you apparently like Ryan Reynolds, you also can’t proofread (I’m sure Ryan is a nice guy, but his movies are horrendous).

For those of you that don’t make this mistake, I bet I have all of you nodding your heads in agreement and yelling out “Amen!” once in awhile. Don’t deny it, I know you’re doing it. I’m yelling out random Southern Baptist words of agreement myself and it’s my own post.

The morale of the story is to just proofread. That’s all I ask. Everyone makes mistakes, I get that. Heck, I’ve made mistakes before too (no, I haven’t). But if you all just start looking over your amazing works of literature once or twice before submitting it to the world to read, I might just be able to scroll through my facebook news feed without banging my head against the wall for once.

Oh, and do me a favor and work on “there”, “they’re”, and “their” as well. Thanks.

Glamping is for Wusses

Meet my dad's protégé.

Meet my dad’s protégé.

Camping is awesome. I loved doing it as far back as I can remember. My father is one of the most outdoorsy guys I know. I’m convinced he trained Bear Grylls. He hikes, hunts, fishes, kayaks, the works. And that love of the outdoors has passed down to me and my siblings.

Allow me to define camping for you so there’s no confusion. Camping is the spending of time outdoors overnight in the confines of nothing more than a four-walled tent (but it could also be a lean-to or cave or something awesome like that). You have a campfire going, you’re pulling food out of coolers (or rehydrating MREs if you’re super intense), you’re using lanterns and flashlights, and you’re falling asleep cocooned by a sleeping bag. That there, folks, is the definition of camping.

This is camping.

This is camping.

And then there’s this concept of glamping. It’s the sissy way of sleeping outdoors. In case your soft, weakened mind couldn’t figure it out, glamping combines the words glamour and camping. Neat, huh? Not really. I’m offended by glamping. How could you possibly appreciate the beauty of nature by being sheltered by the comforts you could find in your home? If you couldn’t possibly be apart from your daily creature comforts for one single night, don’t even bother! Stay home with your DVR, your microwave, and your WiFi. Us real men and women will be fine without you.

This is not camping. This is glamping

This is not camping. This is glamping

Now before you get all defensive, there are some exceptions. Well, there’s one. If you have done your fair share of camping over the years without complaint and with genuine enjoyment, you deserve to utilize a camper or something like that (shout out to you, Mom!). But that’s the only exception. For everybody else, suck it up. Oh and traveling around in an RV or camper is not camping. It’s traveling around in an RV or camper. It’s fun, but unless you bust out a tent at some point, you didn’t actually camp.

Now I appreciate an upscale hotel or a tropical beach as much as the next guy, but camping is a whole other experience everyone should enjoy. There is something about marooning yourself out in the middle of nowhere and living off the bare necessities for a few days (or longer) that clears the mind and refreshes the soul. Plus, there is nothing more affirming to a guy than to be able to hack down a tree, build a fire, and feed his girl. All the other dudes need a Chinese take-out joint on speed dial. Those guys are sad.

Have you ever been camping? Truly camping? If you haven’t, do it soon! Autumn is an awesome season to camp! The leaves look amazing, the smell in the air is incredible, and it’s cool enough that a fire is welcoming, but not so cold that you feel like a character from a Jack London novel. So men, get out there and prove you have some vestige of masculinity left in you. Women, break the stereotypes of females and head into the wilderness. Say goodbye to sissy glamping and say hello to epic camping! My tirade is now done. Feel free to comment below!