Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


Black Friday


The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the U.S. by France as a symbol of freedom and democracy

Did you know, young man with the rest of your life ahead of you, when you left for the concert that yesterday would be your last day?  Did you hug your parents?  Did you tell them you love them?  Did you have plans for today?  For tomorrow? For the rest of your life?

Did you know, young couple madly in love, while you sat in the crisp air on the sidewalk of the café sipping your wine, having easy conversation with your lover, anticipating your meal that it would be your last? Were you talking about the weather?  The children?  Work?  Your future together?  That trip you were going to take?

How could you have known?

Who were you going to call today?  Your mother?  Your sister?  Was today the first day of that long-overdue vacation? Were your children playing soccer today?  Was your phone filled with contacts and a full calendar?  Is today your birthday?

I’ve thought of you full of life on the morning of November 13, 2015, what your life might have been like, full of promise. I’ve thought of you on the street, going about your daily life, not expecting what would come next.  I’ve thought of the horror you experienced as you realized what was about to happen to you.  I’ve thought of your lifeless body, shrouded with sheets, lying there in the coldness of the night.

I’ve also thought about the streets filled with people, defiantly marching in remembrance of you, chanting and holding their signs.  Their signs say they are not afraid.


I suspect that they are afraid, though.  I’m afraid.  No one is safe.  No one is immune.  But we are something more, something stronger than fear.  We are courageous.  Take heart, France.  We are with you.  We are afraid, but we will stand with you through the fear today, the day after a very Black Friday.  And every day after that.

When we are afraid we ought not to occupy ourselves with endeavoring to prove that there is no danger, but in strengthening ourselves to go on in spite of the danger.  ~Mark Rutherford


Manufacturing Malice

The more extreme right side of Christianity has drawn attention to a certain red cup.  Now the media is being blamed for this supposed war because…wait for it….they reported on it.  redcup

Even The Donald has gotten in on the action.  When he’s president everyone will say “Merry Christmas!”.  I’m not sure how he’s going to accomplish that, but okay.

A number of my Christian friends have seen through the red cup controversy.  They see how silly it is.  They see what a caricature it makes them out to be.  The arguments are endless about it, still, with some saying it’s not just about the cup.  It’s that it’s just one more way that the left is winning.  It’s one more way that their freedoms are being eroded.

Because I’ve also been seeing this in my facebook newsfeed – a lot:


Since when can we not say, “Merry Christmas?”  I do not know one.single.person. who calls a Christmas tree a holiday tree. What a crock, indeed.  If it did offend me, though, where would I go?  I’m American, too, afterall.  There are times like this, however, when I’d really rather whisper that than say it out loud because this is just embarrassing.

I’m not a Christian.  I do celebrate Christmas.  I put up a Christmas tree.  Not a holiday tree, a Christmas tree.

When I greet people at Christmastime I say, “Merry Christmas!”  When it’s New Year’s I say, “Happy New Year’s!”  Sometimes, when it’s someone I know I won’t see in between Christmas and New Year’s I say, “Happy Holidays!”  Because, well, there’s a lot of holiday packed in a short period of time and they are holidays, for crying out loud.

Do you know what has never, ever, ever happened?  I have never been corrected on any of that.  I’ve never been told I shouldn’t or couldn’t say, “Merry Christmas!”  I’ve never heard anybody say that it shouldn’t be said.

I understand why stores celebrate with “Happy Holidays!”  It’s not a war on Christmas.  It’s not eroding anyone’s freedom to say it, either.  Or celebrate it, for that matter.  It’s because this is a diverse society with any number of Jewish, Muslim, and Christians celebrating various holidays at the same time of year.  Who doesn’t understand that?

If you want to manufacture malice you really need to do it about something else.  You’re making yourselves look like a bunch of narcissists who think the only holidays that should be important to everyone else are yours.


Spontaneous Combustion?

I wish I had something profound to offer.  Alas I do not.  So until I do please enjoy these photos of my hounds.  I do love these girls!


I’m just as shocked as you are, mom. I was minding my own business when this box suddenly exploded. It was spontaneous combustion. I did the only thing a respectable dog could do. I defended the home. Really, you just had to be there, man.


We’re happy girls!