Embrace Your Friend’s Stupid Mug Collection

Over the past few years, I’ve gotten a lot more interested in anime. It all started back in 2018 with Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, my gateway to all things anime so to speak, and then my interest hit its peak when I started watching My Hero Academia.

I fell way down the rabbit hole with My Hero Academia (MHA) – I have drunk the Kool-Aid and licked the cup clean. I love all the music in the show and listen to at least one MHA-related song almost daily. I have bought all the manga books available (in English) and am reading through them as they come out. I started collecting items like MHA T-shirts and socks, and Funko pop Izuku Midorias… I went to my first My Hero Academia convention this year and dressed up with my husband. And of course, to top it all off… I got my first tattoo earlier this year, which was My Hero Academia-related: Plus Ultra!

It is not an overstatement to stay that I am a bit obsessed. Otaku much?

I know that I’m pretty extra about My Hero, but I don’t care. I love it. I love how it inspires me, and who it makes me want to be each day. I love being true to myself.

I’ve also loved how others have been willing to accept me despite my obsession. It’s one thing to secretly love something that others might think is lame. It’s another thing for people to embrace it with you.

I will admit, I have some great friends. I have been gifted many My Hero memorabilia items from people simply because they know how much I love the show. I’ve received a Deku pez dispenser, a MHA tote bag, a “That’s not very plus ultra of you” patch, MHA Monopoly, and more. My friends know it’s my thing, and that it’s a part of me – and they accept it. They accept me.

I recently began watching a different anime: Sword Art Online. Wow – I had no idea so many people would have so many feelings about this show. I told a few other anime fans I was watching this show, and they were like, “it’s garbage.” I had just started the show, so I kept waiting for it to get lame. I kept waiting for the point to where I would go, “oh, okay, yeah this is dumb.” But it never came.

Granted, there were some weird things in the show (for example, someone having a crush on their first cousin) but nothing that I found to be a dealbreaker for me. And I’m sure that critically there are some aspects of the show that were not as well done as they could have been. But you know what? I still like the show. I’m currently on season 3. I was told that season 2 was where it would get “weird.” Season 2 was actually one of my favorite story arcs.

So, what does this mean? I initially had some guilt about enjoying Sword Art Online. Literally a guilty pleasure, I suppose. I finally had to get over it and embrace it – which was actually more about embracing myself. Why was I so ashamed to like something others thought was stupid?

Better question: why are we so antagonistic to people who like different things than us?

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Who is my Neighbor?

The proverbial question of “who is my neighbor” can be found in Luke chapter 10 before Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. Read it for yourself, but *spoiler alert* – everyone is your neighbor

I felt compelled to write about this after having this concept of “neighbor” come up two different times this morning. One was in my “God of Creation” bible study book by Jen Wilkin; it is a study on the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Today I read about Cain being questioned about his brother Abel, and responding with, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And the conclusion that Jen Wilkin has (and that I hope most of us would have) is YES – you are your brother’s keeper. Which then leads to the question: Who is my brother or sister (or neighbor)?

Another book where the concept of “neighbor” came up for today is called “How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds” by Alan Jacobs. I cannot say enough good things about this book – I think an entire post could be devoted to how awesome this book is. The part I read today talked about how easy it is to essentially treat people horribly when we don’t see them face to face. It’s easy to talk badly about someone when it’s a post on Facebook, or in a format where you aren’t really put in a situation to confront them. Look up the phrase “online disinhibition effect.” We start viewing people as “other” instead of “neighbor” (Jacobs, 2017, p. 82). 

I think we are all guilty of turning our neighbors into “others.” And many of us are also probably guilty of saying something online that we would never dream of saying to a person’s face. If we really begin to think about the fact that EVERYONE is our neighbor, then it should convict us to to act better. 

Luke 10: 27 – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

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It’s Scary to Love You

I hit a breaking point today.

This was a rough week. Calvin got a fever Monday night, and has not been able to return to daycare the rest of this week. That means Mommy and Daddy needed to take off work to stay home with the little guy. His fever was gone Wednesday, so I thought we were in the clear, but it returned Thursday.

Thursday was also the day Dean woke up feeling awful and ended up being diagnosed with strep throat. So Mommy and Daddy both missed the entire day of work Thursday, and Mommy was busy trying to take care of both Calvin and Daddy the whole day.

Friday morning (today) I finally got Calvin in to see the doctor. Turns out he probably has something similar to what Dean has, so he’s on antibiotics. But the doctor also noticed a rash and wanted Calvin to get blood work done just to check on a few things. Every other time Calvin’s needed blood work, it’s always been a prick on the foot.

But not today – I should have suspected something when we were asked to go to the “lab” across the street. I went into said lab expecting for him to get a prick, and they pull out the needles, vials, and all the trimmings to do a full-out blood drawing from his arm. I am not good with having blood drawn, sometimes I start to get faint and black out. It didn’t help that I wasn’t mentally prepared for this, and it certainly didn’t help that I was worried about Calvin – he’s too little for me to explain what is about to happen to him.

They stick the needle in his arm – he’s on my lap and I’m holding his legs still while 2 nurses are holding his arms. He doesn’t cry, but they also can’t get any blood. I start to get dizzy and start seeing spots. I tell the nurses that I think I’m starting to black out – which was also unexpected for me – now I know that I have the potential to black out not only when I am giving blood, but when others are as well. (You learn something new every day!) Maybe it didn’t help that I was sitting in the chair…

The nurses have me lay down on the bed and they hold Calvin for me. They call in a third person and decide to try to get blood from his other arm. This time, he starts crying. I can see them moving the needle around in his arm, trying to find the vein. No such luck. I tell the nurses that maybe we should quit and try another day.

They give me the option to try a finger prick, although because the blood clots fast it might not work. We decide to try, although now looking back I think I should have said no… The prick happens, and Calvin is crying again. They try to squeeze as much blood out of him as they can, but turns out, it wasn’t enough. So we leave, having endured all that, for nothing.

I get in the car, and now Mommy (that’s me in case you haven’t figured out who “Mommy is”) is the one crying. I had been overwhelmed this week already and this was the final straw on the camel’s back. I also have been neglecting my daily affirmations and meditations, yes I know, shame on me…

By the time we get home, Calvin is fine. He wants to go out and play in the backyard. He’s laughing and smiling and finding twigs and leaves to play with. But Mommy is still having a hard time.

I know that this experience was harder for me than it was for Calvin – and I know being a parent means many more experiences like that. Everything hard and painful that Calvin experiences, or will experience, hurts me too. And it’s scary. I think about the high school shooting that happened this past week in Florida, and it scares me. How can I send my kid to school when things like this are happening all over the place? I feel traumatized from a bad doctor’s office experience – I can’t imagine the level of trauma that the parents of those kids are feeling… and that scares me. There’s so much potential for hurt and pain – it is scary to love someone so much…

But having someone to love that much is also a blessing – and I know I have a lot to be thankful for. And even though I’m scared about things that I can’t control and I hate feeling helpless, God asks me to trust him with all of that.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances…

Romans 12:12 – Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in times of trouble and never stop praying.

Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God … will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

I hope if you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed this week, that you will remember God’s promises for you – and I hope you have someone you can share your fears and hopes and dreams with. If you don’t, please feel free to leave me a comment or private message in the “Contact” section of my blog. I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading, friends.