Category Archives: Marriage

Social Media: The Great Uniter and Divider

It goes without saying that social media has become a place for us all to voice our opinions in the hopes that if we “shout” loud and long enough, we will be heard.

This is not, of course, a new phenomenon… you know, the idea of expressing ourselves.  It’s been going on since the beginning of time and is definitely the reason why countries like the United States made sure to include freedom of speech in our Constitution without having to fear some despot would chop off our heads. I know, terrible image so here is a rainbow with a unicorn to counteract it…Rainbow and Unicorn

Anyway, in theory, the idea of freedom of speech is a fantastic concept. We can say whatever we want…whenever we want, right?

In reality, though, it doesn’t play out so great especially these days on social media. And if the past week of monumental U.S. Supreme Court decisions and debates in state capitals throughout the South hasn’t proven that I don’t know what will.

I am not here to argue for or against any of the hot issues du jour, but I am here to plead for common decency as I became yet one more victim to another human being’s very mean and cruel spirit via social media. I am talking a message of such hate that I couldn’t sleep after reading it. It was only 5 words long but I am telling you they were the ugliest 5 words I have ever had directed at me personally. And while I know I have to ultimately feel sorry for anyone that feels it is necessary to use Twitter, Facebook or any of the thousands of online outlets to make such horrible statements, it still hurts me to my core.

If you don’t know me personally, don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook and have never read any of my blogs until now, then I will tell you that I am a rather tongue-in-cheek kind of gal. I simply try, as my tagline claims, to keep things real one day at a time.

I suppose my definition of “real” is mine and mine alone, but I am overall a good person who is just trying to get through each day with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. I know, very corny but true and it is the reason I embraced social media years ago. Sure, I wanted to spread the word a little faster and easier about the baked goods business I had at the time, but I am a people person and to me that is what social media is about…the people, especially the ones we might otherwise never meet.

So, call me crazy but…when I saw what was a very disturbing message from someone on my Call Me Crazy Maybe But fan page after the #SCOTUS gay marriage decision, I seriously questioned closing all of my social media accounts. I know, I shouldn’t ever give one person that kind of power, but I definitely didn’t feel like smiling or singing the rest of the day.

The following morning while I was still feeling my social media sting, I was compelled to do something with the overwhelming disappointment I had regarding such a hateful message. I am smart enough to know I will never change anyone’s opinions on such matters, but I was still curious about the person behind the message.

I checked out the woman’s Facebook page (yes, I was kind of shocked that it was a woman) and it wasn’t filled with what I expected…more hate and disdain. It was actually a page filled with messages that if I didn’t know better was from a person with great compassion and no tolerance for ignorance especially this one…Ignorance is the tragedy

Side note: The source for the photo above was the Single Parents of Children With Autism Facebook Page but they had nothing to do with the woman that posted it.

I guess the problem is the woman who sent the message to me wants all of us to walk a day in her shoes as a parent with an autistic child but doesn’t appear to be willing to do the same for others, most obviously anyone who is part of the LGBT community.

Ignorance is the true tragedy of our society ladies and gentlemen and I wish more than anything I could sprinkle some magic pixie dust and make it disappear into thin air. And, yes, that does make me a dreamer as well as a realist.

A few months ago I wrote a blog about two women that I met through a local business organization who were finally able to get married in Florida after the U.S. District Court officially made it legal in our state (Brenner v. Scott). As I mentioned in the blog, I was so honored to have been there to witness their union.  And I didn’t receive a single negative comment on that blog nor on any of the social media pages that it was posted.

I do remember, though, someone asking me whether I was afraid to “put it out there” that I was in support of gay marriage and how it might affect the business I now work for.

My response?

If I only did business with people that shared every…single…one…of…my…beliefs I honestly would have no one to do business with. Isn’t that what we were supposed to learn in kindergarten, play nicely in the sandbox?

I know major companies were very quick to show their support of the historic gay marriage decision…big, well established companies with deep roots in Americana like Sears

 

CokeKFC

Levis

I have to wonder if the haters that are gonna hate will be giving up on Garanimals and Original Recipe Buckets anytime soon.

So here’s the deal people…just be nice and stop trying to convince everyone you’re right and they are wrong. I honestly don’t think any one person or group has the answers. Agree to disagree and move on. I’m fine with those that feel it is necessary to unfriend and unfollow me as a result of anything I may post but for the love of whatever you believe in, don’t be nasty about it.

Maybe being part of a religious minority (i.e. Jewish) all of my life has made me more sensitive to the discrimination and hate that seems so pervasive in our society and world at large. Or maybe I am simply just a very sensitive soul who thinks that being 100% tolerant of all people regardless of race, religion, creed, color or, dare I say, sexual preference, is an all or nothing thing. Either you are or you aren’t…period, end of story.

Bottom line, social media is awesome but let’s all use it responsibly and then, maybe just maybe, as John Lennon said, we can in fact…

“Imagine all the people living life in peace.”

StrawberryFieldsJuly2007

That’s all for now…#BlackerOut!

 

28 Comments

Filed under Call Me Crazy, Marriage, Technology and Social Media

All In The Family: How To Work For Your Spouse And Live To Tell The Tale

It’s official!

I am now the
Director of Strategic Relationships and Community Outreach
for OJ Mortgage Inc. 

Slide background

Yeah, that’s my husband Stan’s company and I did get to give myself a long and fancy-ish title but I suppose it’s one of the perks of being married to the boss 🙂

So call me crazy but…I did actually volunteer for the job. I mean, I get paid but I willingly went into it understanding I would be working for my spouse. We’ve sort of been dancing around this idea for years, the planets started to really align a few months ago and after much  yelling debate  discussion  casual conversation we decided to give it a real whirl.

This should be a no-brainer for me…I am a self-proclaimed, crazy in a good way networking maven (or at least I think so) and go out and about into the community as well as represent myself online every day with virtual ease. I also have been the unofficial #1 cheerleader for OJ for a long time.Stan, Stan, He's our man...%0AIf he can'tHow long?

Well, first let’s go back in time to the morning that I signed my divorce decree for my first marriage in August 2001. My attorney advised me to find out about refinancing ASAP. Rates were significantly lower than the one I was committing to by taking over the mortgage on my soon to be former marital home. He asked if I knew anyone in the mortgage industry. I said I thought the guy  I was going out with that night was a broker…aka Stan.

Eight hours later I arrived at the restaurant for our first date, albeit a little early. It took a year, a lot of stress, tears and, of course, money to get that divorce and I figured it was time to celebrate so I ordered a bottle of champagne to be delivered to the table. I think that freaked Stan out a little. He wasn’t used to such a controlling take charge thoughtful kind of woman. I also don’t think he was expecting a first date to include a conversation about refinancing but I’m guessing he was able to write off the meal as a business expense? You’re welcome Stan!

Anyway, he told me we couldn’t really talk about my specific circumstances until after the 3rd date.
Seemed a little presumptuous but I giggled at what I sensed was his positive outlook.
Or maybe because I was already halfway into a bottle of champagne?

Did I mention I was celebrating?


Ok, it wasn’t quite like that but you get my point.

We obviously made it to date #3 and I reminded Stan that we needed to discuss my soon to balloon rates. But first I was understandably curious…why 3 dates?

In his mind, #3 would be the make it or break it date…in other words, would we go forward or fizzle like a bottle of champagne after the cork was popped? I get it…no reason to waste a lot of time if you don’t think you are all that into someone.  So  he was going to refinance my home and that meant I was revealing all of my finances to him.  And therefore, he said he would, in turn, reveal his finances to me.

Ummmmmmmm….

Never would it have ever crossed my mind he needed to do that.

Yep, welcome to #lifewithStan . Go ahead, search the hashtag, I use it often.

Suffice it to say, he won my trust as a mortgage broker and as an all around honest person.
And, yes, he did provide all of his financial documents prior to closing as promised.

Side note: My credit score was slightly higher…score one for me!

So I went through the refinancing process and subsequently to cheer for Stan (and all of Team OJ) for the first time in 2001. And let’s just say he totally had me at “no cost loan”.

We aren’t exactly Renee Zellinger and Tom Cruise but you get the famous movie line reference right???

He also was able to roll some of the home’s equity into the refinancing so I could buy a car (I got the awful mini van with a serious A/C issue in the divorce) and instead of making a $300-400 car payment, my mortgage only went up about $12 per month and I had a brand new Toyota Camry that I essentially paid for with cash out of my home.

Yeah, home prices were climbing significantly back then so I never felt a substantial loss of any kind, but still, I was hooked…on the concept of refinancing, that is. Oh and Stan too. He definitely “dazzled” me with his mortgage magic and thinking outside of the loan process box. Ultimately, it was his sense of humor that really won me over. Hey, how many mortgage guys do you know that are willing to stand on their head in the middle of a home show? 150929_10151243219765017_1445018721_n

Now, almost 14 years later, we are taking our relationship to a whole other level…working together. And we are both really going to need to maintain a sense of humor if we are going to survive. We already know we pretty much disagree on everything when it comes to marketing and have completely different organizational styles, but we usually find the compromises that make us both happy.

I do have to keep in mind that he is the boss when it comes to matters regarding OJ. So here’s my proclamation…

I, Beth Blacker, do solemnly swear to be a great employee and respect Stan Blacker as the President of OJ Mortgage between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, Monday-Friday.
Should we disagree on any matters during those hours I will defer to his years of experience in the mortgage industry and fulfill my employment duties as directed.

After hours…all bets are off.

That’s all for now…#BlackerOut !

 

36 Comments

Filed under Business Development, Call Me Crazy, Marriage, Networking

“Tying The Knot”…To Love, To Commitment And To Us ALL Living Happily Ever After!

Last week I had the pleasure to witness the marriage of two people I have gotten to know over the past few years through Tampa Bay Business Owners, a local business organization I have mentioned numerous times before in previous blogs (mostly recent on this site as well as on my former blog over at tcP! Sweets) and on social media.  I was so honored despite the fact that I don’t think they really intended for anyone to be there other than their officiant, owners of the home where the ceremony was taking place and two other witnesses to make it legal.

In an email exchange after receiving the invitation to their celebration dinner a few days after the ceremony was taking place this is what I was told…

“You’re welcome to attend our ceremony if you want, and we’d love to have you! It’s on (TBBO) Main Event day so we didn’t want people to feel torn or rushed. We really want to keep it simple, and that can still include you! ”

That can still include me???

Ummm…

Call me crazy but…clearly they don’t understand I never miss an affair if I can help it. And I certainly never miss an opportunity for a good tears of joy / cry fest, especially one that represents so much about love and commitment. In a world that sometimes seems to do everything in its power to stack the cards against marriage, I am going to do everything in my power to be present and whatever energy I can bring to get them off on the right foot, I’m totally there.

I suppose I could have just gone to the dinner a few nights later and celebrated with everyone else. But despite the fact that I had just returned from Los Angeles less than 2 days before, was still feeling jet lag, had what seemed like a never ending amount of work to catch up on and was leaving the next day for Tallahassee to attend my daughter’s film screening (she’s a junior at FSU Film School …awesome program, by the way, for anyone thinking about going to film school), I put on a dress (a rarity these days) and arrived ready to see them literally tie the knot…

Official tying of the knot

Official tying of the knot

I’ve never seen a wedding where they actually used two pieces of rope and tied them together to symbolize their union. So that got me thinking about the origin of the phrase and this is just one of the many I found thanks to a quick Google search (seriously, what did we do before Google???)…

“There is a suggestion that this expression derives from the nets of knotted string which supported beds prior to the introduction of metal-sprung bedrames. The theory goes that, in order to make a marriage bed, you needed to ‘tie the knot’.”
(Source: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/tie-the-knot.html)

Who knew???? There are many other theories that include stuff about girdles worn during the Roman Empire, illiterate sailors and soldiers sending pieces of rope to prospective brides and Hindu necklaces made of flowers but the exact origin…no one really knows.

And does it really matter? I loved the gesture which only made me cry more and feel greater joy for the happy couple.

But what really got me most of all was knowing what it took for them to arrive to this day. It was years in the making. They met in 1998 and on March 4th, 2004 actually did get married in Oregon.

A few days later, though, it was annulled…not at their request but because the state essentially revoked their license and thousands of others who got married on or shortly after March 3, 2004 when the county clerk began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (For more on that history click here.)

Disclaimer:
For those of you who may be reading this and are very much against gay marriage and/or relationships, I officially give you permission to stop reading, but please don’t leave negative comments ranting about the evils of it all. I promise you I will not approve them. 

Oh and by all means, unsubscribe to my emails, unfriend me on Facebook, stop following me on Twitter and delete my contact information from your phone. Yeah, your entitled to your opinion but if you are going to get ugly, I won’t allow that negativity to be part of my world…sorry.

I’m not here to debate anything.

I’m here to share my day to day life experiences and, as I say, keep it real.

For the record and in case you didn’t know, I’m not a lesbian and attending a wedding or merely having friends who are will not make me a lesbian. And to the haters out there who think gay marriages destroy the institution and the notion of what a family should be, well, that shipped sailed a long time ago with heterosexuals divorce rate significantly higher than homesexuals.

What was so real to me standing beside those two women on an absolutely glorious sunny day, overlooking one of the channels leading into Tampa Bay was a feeling of commitment that they clearly have for one another. And truth be told, it was stronger than any other wedding I’ve ever attended. Maybe it was because this was, in fact, the first legal gay wedding I’ve been to and I can so appreciate everything they have had to go through to get to that day, that moment.

My decision to get married…both times…was simple. I was in love and believed in the life we could make together. My first marriage may have ended in divorce, but, still, no one told me I couldn’t get married when I decided to do it again.

Why should it be any different for these two women?

The very happy and very deserving couple!

The very happy and very deserving couple!

Congratulations to them, to love, to commitment and to equality for us all to live happily ever after.

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut

 

37 Comments

Filed under Call Me Crazy, Marriage