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Accentuate the Positive
Every Friday my syndicated column appears in several papers across the country. Here's this week's Reality Check:

One of the perks about public speaking as much as I do is that I get to travel. And when I travel, I stay in hotels, which have intriguing things like “dial a beds” where you choose how hard or soft your mattress is, or three pillows creatively draped on king size beds. Who is the third pillow for, anyway?

But to me, the greatest luxury is the television. We chucked our TV a decade ago when I felt I was becoming too addicted to it. In a hotel, though, I can watch it guilt free. That’s when I like to catch up on things. And a few years ago I decided to sample the show CSI. Unfortunately, the episode being aired that night featured a woman traveling alone in a hotel room, only to discover a corpse under her bed.

Once I recovered from being scared silly, I reflected on how dark television had become. When I was young we watched WKRP in Cincinnatti, and Donny and Marie. I graduated to The Cosby Show, and Family Ties. And now children and preteens watch CSI, which depicts bodies being dissected in grisly detail, as stunningly beautiful police investigators discuss the myriad of fluids that may remain at the scene of the crime. No thank you.

Why has life grown so dark? Last week, while I was away speaking, I switched on the television only to catch this sentence: “Police believe the missing man may have been eaten by alligators.” Why did I have to know that? I really didn’t want that picture in my head, so I rapidly switched the box off, and that’s how it remained.

It seems like everything we see or hear in our media is negative. Whether it’s about the banking crisis or various elections or wars overseas, all is gloomy. We’re heading into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, if some pundits are to be believed, though personally I don’t think it will be that bad. What is worse, to me, is all the demonizing during the election campaigns. I hate campaign commercials that complain about a candidate without mentioning a single policy. If you want to criticize cutting taxes, or raising taxes, or abolishing taxes, fine. But don’t just say someone’s scary because they’ll ruin the economy, without elaborating. That’s just attacking and I hate it. And they’re at it south of the border, too, so we can’t escape it.

Media, and even elections, seem to be driven by fear. The bigger the crisis—or the bigger the alligator—the better. I guess negativity sells. Recently my husband and I decided to rent a movie, so I ventured to the video store to see what was new. One was a movie called Pigs, featuring college-aged men engaged in degrading behaviour. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t their target audience, but I couldn’t find any movies that would target me. Another offering was aptly titled Inside, since it featured a slasher cutting up bodies to reveal the innards. I turned around and walked out.

I am sick of negativity. I know the world isn’t perfect, but have you seen the leaves lately? They’re gorgeous. The sky is setting outside my window as I write this, and the orange is glowing, painting a warm light across the sky. It’s breathtaking. My children are chattering in the next room, and we’ve just eaten a great meal.

Sure my investments have lost value over the last two weeks, but that doesn’t mean they won’t go back up. And even if they don’t, I have two daughters who love me. We have clothes in our closet and food on the table. Do we really need more than that?

Much of the world is on the wrong track, so it’s no wonder everything is bleak. But ultimately that doesn’t matter. I’m happy living on the opposite side of the alligators and CSI. They can stay in their little corner; I’m going to live in mine. I’m going to enjoy my girls, munch some freshly picked apples, love my husband, and let everything else fade away. Who wants to join me?

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To Love, Honor and Vacuum



At 12:28 PM , Blogger Sherry said…

I was just reading on another blog about favorite tv shows of the past and now I can't hardly come up with a good one to watch anymore. Most of them are too violent, racy, or trying to find ghosts/spirits, etc. Ugh! :( I'd much rather spend time with my family doing positive things. :D We are going out to the corn maze tomorrow for some time together.


At 1:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Oh Sheila! I love what you've said in your post. I feel exactly the same way as you. I became a Christian a little over two years ago, and my eyes have since been opened wide (I once was lost, but now I'm found. Was blind, but now I see). It is amazing to me the path that this world is on, and everyone walks around thinking it's okay.

My sister (who is not a Christian) sent me one of those "quiz" emails where you answer questions with one word. One question asked what you feared. She answered, "dying". As well she should, since she hasn't put her trust in the Lord and accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. It's unfortunate. I hope that she'll come to the Lord before it's too late.

re: television . . . I rarely watch it anymore. I watch some cooking shows on the Food Network and last night I watched My Fair Lady. I own the complete set of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman on DVD, and I mostly watch that. I would say that 90% of what they show on TV is garbage that is polluting people's minds (garbage in, garbage out). It's really sad.

I can totally relate to your trip to the movie rental store. I've recently went there twice, and could find nothing that I'd be willing to watch. TRASH!

I am going to the movies today though. I'm seeing the new movie called The Secret Life of Bees. It looks pretty good!! It's PG-13, so it should be okay.

Thank you for all the wisdom you share in your blog. I really appreciate it!

Michelle in CA


At 8:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…



At 3:02 AM , Blogger theshopkeeper said…

Boy, TV is depressing isn't it? When I watch it's usually reruns of good old time shows or HGTV...I just don't want all to be bombarded with that other stuff all the time. For some reason Hollywood can't seem to come up with anything like the Cosby show, or going way back The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie.

But as you pointed out life is good...a husband who loves me, two sweet kids, caring friends, beautiful fall leaves, and a roof over my head! We're very blessed.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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