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Hello fellow RedStaters! And thank you to the Water Cooler and editorial teams for the invitation to participate in this way!  Welcome to a newly authored, but FULLY COMPATIBLE version of the Water Cooler! The Water Cooler is always an Open Thread, and today, possibly a loose one…

Let’s get this snow on the toad, starting with a letter literally* sent in by one of my readers

DEAR MIKE: I have watched the news several times this week, and I want to curl up into the fetal position. Any advice? — FETAL ATTRACTION

DEAR FETAL: You seem like a normal person who is likely just trying to stay in touch with what is going on in the world. Which is admirable, but very much like staring into the sun – if protection is not used, serious damage will occur. There are many strategies that readers have used to protect themselves. My favorite is to remind yourself every few seconds that this world is temporary while eternity is forever. Just remember that this is no excuse not to try to live fully in the meantime.
* Modern use of the word “literal” which literally** means, “possibly, but probably not, as what follows is completely made up or is complete hyperbole”. Does this drive you nuts as it does me?
** Classical use of the word “literal” which means “this is exactly true”. Not to put too fine a point on it, but DUH.

2nd Amendment Onslaught continues unabated in California
If you, like me, are trapped behind enemy lines in California, or just like to grab popcorn and watch slow-motion train wrecks – see these notes from the NRA-ILA newsletter I received a few days ago. They are a typical picture of what is going on here:

Currently Pending in the Assembly:
Assembly Joint Resolution 24 passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee on August 31 and is eligible for a vote on the Assembly Floor. Sponsored by Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-53), AJR 24 would urge the Congress of the United States to not enact S. 446, H.R. 38, or any other similar “concealed carry reciprocity” legislation that would require the State of California to recognize the concealed carry standards of every other state.
Assembly Bill 424 passed the Senate on September 6 and will now return to the Assembly for a concurrence vote. Sponsored by Assembly Member Kevin McCarty (D-7), AB 424 would remove the authority of a school district superintendent, his or her designee, or equivalent school authority to provide written permission for a person to possess a firearm within a school zone.
Currently Pending in the Senate:
Assembly Bill 7 passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 1 and is eligible for a vote on the Senate Floor. Sponsored by Mike Gipson (D-64), AB 7 would further restrict the open carry of an unloaded firearm on public property by including unincorporated areas as prohibited places.

You can read more, or better, be part of the solution:
https://www.nraila.org/campaigns/2017/california/stand-and-fight-california/
At a minimum, you could try not to blanket-hate “Californians” and try to have some compassion for the many like me – conservative, Constitutionalists, who had a home in this beautiful state before/independently of the wackiness. We hope and work for change for the better, but it is wearing, and most of us can at least occasionally be found discussing where to go when we finally have to get out.

 
Marriage

My wife and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary a few days ago, and this only by the grace of God – without this grace the wheels would have come off of the bus long ago. We take every chance we have to share our testimony in the hopes of encouraging others. Extra points if you will hang around the water cooler and share your encouraging story below. As for us:

  • We got married in our late 20’s, and had some active subversion from family starting before the wedding and continuing for the first few years
  • Things mostly got better from that point for the next several years
  • Started our family at 5 years
  • We went through a huge trauma about 10 years in (lasting multiple years) that caused us unbelievable stress
  • The silver lining of the crisis was that it led us to Christ, and we went to a church service for the first time together on our 11th anniversary – in the community center room where we had our wedding reception 11 years prior
  • As we turned to follow Christ we understood many ways that we were doing marriage wrong, and started to right the ship
  • Like changing a dance in the middle of one, the changes were unnatural, we stepped on each other and tripped frequently
  • One fateful morning in the kitchen, my wife made some nasty comment to me and I attacked back. Only to find out that her comment was innocuous and it was only the baggage in my head that had made it seem like I was being attacked
  • Horrified, I retreated to the bedroom to pray. “God, we were not believers when we got married, and we made a bunch of mistakes. Now we know better and are working hard to fix this and do it right. But we keep tripping over the baggage. If this is going to work we need your help!”
  • The answer was immediate, one of the few times I have heard God answer as a voice. The still, quiet voice – “Begin again”
  • I understood immediately – He had given me more than those two words. We had to fire the explosive bolts on the baggage, and work in the present and future, not past
  • I would like to sugarcoat this, but things were bad enough that when I shared my revelation about renewing our vows with my wife, she said that if she was going to do it over, she was not sure it would be with the same person.
  • Over time we did come to grips with this, and at our eighteenth anniversary, we renewed our vows, sharing this same testimony with family and friends. The vow renewal is the best thing that we have ever done for our marriage, and we experienced much healing going through the process and subsequently
  • So we are at 23 years.  With a special nod to year 18.

So if you are experiencing problems in your marriage

  • You are not alone – far more people are having issues than will admit, let alone discuss, them
  • They can be overcome – my favorite encouragement on this front is the movie “Fireproof”. Painful truth to watch, this movie more than anything else taught me that I had to be unconditionally committed.  There is nothing that my wife can do or not do to make me decommit.  This level of commitment will change your marriage and your life
  • A favorite quote, stunning in the marriage context:

    The man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance.  Laurence J. Peter

  • Go to the Lord. Surrender. Let him soften your heart and harden your resolve
  • “A cord of three strands is not easily broken”

Prayer for the day
Join me in praying for revival in our homes, communities, and in our country. Nothing else will save the US, or us.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. John Adams

I think a lot about the implication as our country becomes less moral and less religious.