What is a Marriage?

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What is marriage? Is it a wedding ceremony and a license? Is it a commitment to love honor and obey? Marriage is defined by Webster’s as the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law or by the rite by which the married status is effected, an intimate or close union. No mention of love.

Marriage existed before any government was organized. For thousands of years, people were getting married without a marriage license. Even today, there are some countries that have no governmental recognition of marriage and no legal requirements for marriage. Government endorsement is usually necessary for certain benefits, however. In American history, up to around the 1920’s, there was no such thing as a marriage license. The states invented them as a way to dictate who could and could not get married. Primarily as a way to stop white people from marrying black people. Still no mention of love.

Some people believe that a man and a woman are married in God’s eyes when they have completed some kind of formal wedding ceremony. There is an event, action, covenant, vow, or proclamation that is recognized as declaring a man and woman to be married. Love may be present, maybe not.

But does the very act of getting married constitute a true partnership? Does connecting yourself to another in the bonds of marriage mean that you are equally respected, loved or wanted?

Though many of my characters that I write choose to get married, I for one do not like what marriage has become in today’s society. It is an institution that gives people carte blanche to dictate what another person can and can’t do. I consider myself an expert on how not to be a spouse and how not to preform life as a married person. I should know I have had three failed marriages. Just as it takes two to make a marriage work it takes two to destroy one as well. I know, I have been there. Usually it plays out that one person gives up sooner in the marital timeline than the other. The vow is broken, hurt happens and loss is felt. Often a marriage dies long before the participants are willing to admit it. How many times have you known people who stayed married for the sake of the children or other reason that is not that they truly liked being together? Notice I said marriage not love.

Love is a choice. Love is a promise to cherish the other person. 

You choose to love or not. There are couples who are more devoted to each other without a marriage license than others who have been married for years. It is society that has conditioned us to believe that those who are in committed relationships but are not legally married are somehow not valid partnerships. Somehow we are taught to believe that two people can’t be devoted if they do not get married or we think maybe they don’t love each other, trust each other, or care about each other enough to get married.

Marriage as ordained by God is a spiritual connection that is grounded in faith not government. Faith in God, faith in each other and faith in your choice to be together. It is not based on the human’s faulty idea of marriage that is a contract and dictated by social norms. It is the choice and promise of commitment to that one other person that is important. Love and devotion do not require a piece of paper or even a ceremony. Ultimately, that is between the couple and God. Only God knows our true heart (1 John 3:20).

A marriage license is just a piece of paper. If there is no love there is no point.

~Lori O’Gara

(Also published on Medium.com)

Nonnegotiables

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I like that word, nonnegotiable. It has a very simple definition, not open to discussion or modification. I have a few nonnegotiable things in my life.  Things that are important. Things that guide your life compass should be nonnegotiable.

Nonnegotiables mirror your values. The define what you will and won’t accept from others and from yourself. Nonnegotiables are the big-time deal breakers. They are unique to you.

For me it is simple, love is nonnegotiable. I love God, nonnegotiable. I either love you or not. If I love you, you are important to me. Even then my family is first. I put my phone on Do Not Disturb when I come home from work. I will only answer it for family, nonnegotiable.

If you do not make some things in your life nonnegotiable, people who do not care about you will take advantage of you. You have to be considerate and you have to be open to change; however, God does not want you to be a doormat.

~Lori O’Gara

Hello Monday: Why I Avoid Trends

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I am famous for not jumping on the latest and greatest band wagons because I have learned that my values are often not inline with trends. It doesn’t matter if it is a book trend, a product trend or a fashion trend. All trends have a few things in common. They are often short lived and often disrupt my simple peaceful life. I either find out that yes they do test on animals, they do not respect the dignity of people, they are uncomfortable to be worn or used, they waste money time and/or space. Some are simply ridiculous.

Stick to tried and true. However, if tried and true begin to cause you any stress, get rid of it too. Simplify your life in all areas. Focus on positive and simple ways to live. If the storage, cooking or fashion solution makes you spend more money, more time preparing under the disguise of saving money or time later, don’t do it.

No Thank you I don’t need one of those amazing cook everything pots, I have cookware thank you. I do not need any of the free ebooks that are basically word porn with no legitimate real story written in one night with flat characters, no real content and marketed with thirty or more other ones all with half naked people on the covers. Give me a real story I can sink my teeth into and with characters I can love or hate. Also, I do not need those leggings and clothes that all the girls are wearing from a company who’s owners are disrespectful to my fellow disabled humans.  Then there is that new amazing eyebrow and make up product that was tested on animals, most probably beagles. Do not get me started on the beagles!

In reality humans need very little to survive and be happy.  We need water, food, shelter, clothing, mental simulation, physical touch and love to feel secure and thrive.

Everything else, yes EVERYTHING else, is optional.

~Lori O’Gara

 

 

 

Hello Monday: Human Beings Only

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Birthplace: Earth, Race: Human, Politics: Freedom, Religion: Love

Look at the description above….is that you? If not maybe you should reconsider being a human. I hear there are other planets that have space for you.  Trust me, I know The Doctor.

All kidding aside, as humans we need the same things. We may desire other things, however our basic human needs are the same.  I think we can all agree in the first two attributes, birthplace and race.  It is when humans forget those and focus on politics and religion does the air get murky.  As humans we like different things. We desire different things. We pursue different creative outlets.

We must learn soul-balance in a vacillating, changing world of differences. We must learn to be fearless. Stand up for humanity. Focus on what makes us human and love each other.

Believe in humanity.

~Lori O’Gara

 

 

Sunday Thoughts: Peace or Perfection?

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As I look back on my life I see myself as a person I am not proud of. However, when I really think about it I am not proud of who I am now either. I am humbled at where I am in life and how I got here. Looking back I see a person who was often frantic over reaching perfection.

My home, job, and everything else had to appear to the outside world as perfect. I would scramble to make sure everything was just so before anyone saw it. That perfection mentality was absorbed in all parts of my life. I was so obsessed as to what other people thought of me that it controlled me in ways I was not even aware of and in ways that I was fully conscience of.

Not too long ago I was at one of the lowest places a person could be in life. I had no place to live (well I was staying at my mom’s home). My income was cut more than half. I was sad and alone. I gained back all the weight I fought for years to get off of my body. I was figuratively face down in the muck of life with no light. Where was perfection then? Where were all the people that I damn near killed myself to impress?

It is my belief, regardless of what you call God, or higher power or whatever, that we are intentionally put down to our lowest point in life so that we can see that we are insignificant. All the things we claim to be important are nothing.  God allows us to use that free will of ours and when we get to that point of destitution we have to look for that power of the universe, God, to show us what is important, what the big picture of life really is.

As a result of me being flat in the muck of imperfection, I am not the same person. I am no longer a slave to being that perfect person with the perfect life. My life revolves around peace and love. My house is a mess, my bank account is scrawny and I am happier than I have ever been.  I am surrounded by love and I can see with unclouded eyes what is important in life.

Believe in striving for peace not perfection.

~Lori O’Gara

Kirk Was Wrong

Captain James Tiberius Kirk was wrong. Space is not the final frontier. Time is the final frontier to explore. It is impossible to explore time without investigating space, but that is not what I am talking about here. Let’s look at time as a measurement of our existence.  We humans view time from our meager tiny perspectives as a line of beginning, ending and continuing. Time, like God has always been, with no beginning and no ending. The difference is that time as we perceive it and use it is an illusion.

We wake up, travel through the day with the clock at the ready. Time appears to tick on and on. It seems to be a unit of measure. Time is nothing more than a fabrication of our need to know when we are in the existence of the world. There is no time. There is only existence and being. We live on this planet and we move through our lives in one constant motion of life. Generations are born and generations die but the human race continues. Life continues with or without our knowing what time, year or month it is on the calendar or clock.

In my experience my fellow Christians are closed minded to this concept that time is an illusion. Other religions embrace the theory. According to the Hindu theory of creation, time (Sanskrit ‘kal’) is a manifestation of God. Creation begins when God makes his energies active and ends when he withdraws all his energies into a state of inactivity. God is timeless, for time is relative and ceases to exist in the Absolute. The Absolute is the spiritual realm. The past, the present and the future coexist in him simultaneously.  God creates the cycle of time, called Kalachakra, in order to create divisions and movements of life and sustain the worlds in periodic time frames. God also uses time to create the illusions of life and death for us the living immortals.

There is Biblical proof that time is an illusion. The Bible tells us God is everywhere and all at once. There is a vail the blocks our human sight from the spiritual. There are several verses that talk about the spirt world being hidden. The most notable is in Mathew 17 where Jesus speaks to Moses and Elijah. To do so Jesus has to transform from the physical and  take on his true spiritual self. He moved from the limited physical world to the world of absolute.

What if we could see past time? Past our continuation on this plane of existence? What if we could see time as how God sees it in the spiritual realm? We would see our place in the big picture of creation. The boundaries of the physical would be so unimportant that we would live fully knowing that this is not the end. Time would not control us. All it would take is for us to accept the fact that we do not see the whole picture. By accepting our limited perception, we would be free to be our true selves, not the fabricated versions that society has created us to be. Our daily lives would still be dictated by the clock, it is how we function in society, but the stress of loss and regret would be irrelevant. We would see that this life is a temporary state of being and not our true state. We would know that our love and loved ones are still out there existing. That life continues past what we can see.

If we begin to live in the spiritual mindset outside of time, conscience of the spiritual,  we would take away the control of stress and worry. We would live as free spirits only visiting the physical. The small things that disrupt our peace would disappear. Life would be amazingly peaceful and light.

~Lori O’Gara

Sunday Thoughts: Choose Your Battles

Choose your battles. Sometimes peace is more important than being right.

I have tried to be as transparent as I can. What you see here on this site and on my Facbook page is my digital fingerprint. I am who I am. I am not much of a mystery. What you see is what you get. I am not a drama queen. You won’t see me degrading someone in a comment section of any social media outlet. Even if I totally disagree with the opinion. I will try to express the truth in the situation without confrontation. There is so much negativity in the world these days and I am doing my best to keep it away from me.

I have decided to focus more on my inner being than looking at what is happening on the outside. I am writing everyday, which is challenging. There is this thing called life that gets in the way all the time. Oh and I have this other thing called a job that is necessary for other things like food and a roof.

I think that the battles we choose speak to who we are in our soul. What we fight for and about is what we value. If we value people we fight for them. If we value money we will fight for that. If we value love we will fight for love.

The question is how to balance what we value in our souls with what we need in our life to survive. Sometimes those two things do not match and are not compatible. I think peace is found when we make the important stuff in our being and the needed stuff for our survival the same things.

Something to think about during this time of year when the focus is on material things not always the important things.

~Lori O’Gara

 

Is this Weird? : Facebook

I was looking at Facebook (the greatest time suck ever invented) I was scrolling through the ribbon of people in the “People you may know” section when I realized I do not know about 95% of the smiling faces. I was saying, “I don’t know you, I don’t know you, I don’t know you, cute hair, oh I like that outfit, nice, still don’t know you….” on and on. Then it was “Oh, you look fun.” I click the picture and read the person’s profile. I see we read the same sorts of books and like the same sorts of movies. It struck me that, no I don’t know the person, but maybe they would like to know me. I mean we have a mutual friend and she likes me. I am amazing and all.

Is it weird to send a message to a stranger and say “You don’t know me but I think you would like me since so-&-so likes me”….?

Then I ask myself, what would you do if you got a message like that?

It would go something like, oh a message…..no..nope… I do not know you, stalker! Delete.

I think I will keep scrolling down the timeline on the off chance that the 5% of people I actually know may still want to talk to me.

Like I said, biggest time suck EVER invented.

I think it is time for a vacation from Facebook again.

~Lori O’Gara

Sunday Thoughts: Who is God?

George Washington Carver once said, “Our creator is the same and never changes despite the names given Him by people here and in all parts of the world. Even if we gave Him no name at all, He would still be there.”

I have never understood why people argue about who God is. It does not matter what religion you subscribe to or what name you pin on God. The creator and the universal greater power is the same, God is still God.

When Christians try to put God in a nice neat box and say this God, our God is the only God, they are limiting the very God they claim to be all powerful, all knowing, and omnipresent.

How can an omnipresent God who speaks to each soul in a unique way for that soul go by one name or a name at all? He has no need for a name. God just is.

We Christians say, “God has a plan for your life in His perfect will.” He loves us as individuals. It only stands to reason that each of us will have a personal connection to that power of God and communicate with God in the only way our imperfect minds know how. Naming God is a human construct.

God just is. He exists. Even God himself  said to Moses, “I am” when Moses asked what His name is. The power of creation, spirit and love that is in the universe, in nature, in us is the One True God. What you call this God is insignificant to the fact that you believe in God and embrace love. The fact God exists and that we find a connection through love and we share that love with our fellow living creatures, that is what is important.

I choose Christianity to serve God. It is arrogant of me to assume that my God will not reveal Himself to a person who chooses a different way to connect with Him through their spirit. All connections to God are sacred. I will go as far to say that all other religions that worship one God are worshiping the same true God. The great Spirit, Allah, Yahweh, the Goddess, and others are different connections to God, however, there is still only one God.

I have reconciled this truth with to the part of my faith that says “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know  my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14: 6-7)  Want proof? The Quran mentions Jesus more often that Mohammad. It doesn’t stop there, I see in other religions that there are other stories of the Messiah. These facts and others appear to make the connections between one God and all religions as a simple truth, there is one God.

I believe that we Christians are making a big mistake by undermining the scope of who God is by saying God isn’t in the other religions and by the way, here is God’s name. We shall call him this. We are molding Him to our image of God, when we should be encouraging others to connect to God in whatever way the spirit is calling them as individuals.

I will continue to search for a closer relationship with God and I encourage you to do the same. Search for God with love and a sincere thirst for truth. The power of God’s Love will find you right where you are, no matter what you call Him.

~Lori O’Gara

Foundation of Belief

This past week I explained my foundation of belief so what does this have to do with my writing and my novels? I use this foundation, my life foundation, for all my stories and characters. I think all creative people use their values as a starting point for making art. The most authentic art comes from being true to oneself.

I write from love, humanity, respect, peace,and home with an under current of Christianity. I tackle the things that some Christian authors avoid. I address the gritty and ugly that comes with being a human. Then I show how these things in the light of love, respect, peace, and dignity. I have characters who live in such a way that the reader can see the person’s values.

The reason my novels are not classified as Christian Fiction despite the fact that I have Christian themes and strong characters is that I don’t force Christianity out through the words. I let it evolve in the lives of my characters just as it does in the lives of real people. The Perdido Key novels are full of people who learn and grow as they move through life’s chaos and deal with very real situations. My writings have something for everyone and are enjoyed by Christians and non Christians regardless of their beliefs. 

Let me know what you think.

~Lori O’Gara