Friday, July 8, 2016


A short story about....lives.

The white persons life is no more important than the black persons life. The black persons life is no more important than the policemans life. The policeman's life matters as much as the firemans and the fireman's as much as the politicians. The politicians life is no more important than the the voters life and the voters life is equally as important as the Presidents. ThePresidents life is not above the Popes life and the Popes life is as important as the Rabbi's. The Rabbi's life is no greater than the ministers and the ministers is equal to those in his congregation. Not one in the congregation has a life that is more important than the atheists and the atheist's life is just as important as the Christians. The Christians lives are equal to but not more important than the addicts life and the addicts life is just as important as the doctors life. A doctors life is not above his patients life and a mothers life is not more important than her unborn childs life. A muslims life is as important as a Buhdist life and country person's life is no less important than a city person's life. A straight persons life is equally important as a gay person's life and a college educated persons life is not above that of a drop out person's life.The homeless persons life is no less important than the rich persons life and the bank investors life is no more important than the day laborors life. The bullies life is no greater than the life of the one he bullies and the teacher's life is every bit as important as the students life. The disabled persons life is as important as the star athletes life and the restaurant servers life is as important as the restaurant owners life. The husbands life is not above his wifes life and the sisters life is every bit as important as the brothers life. So I guess the moral to this story is.....ALL lives matter!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My One and Only 2016 All Out Political Blog

I don't normally talk politics anymore, because....well.....I like to keep my sanity! Yesterday though, when the FBI decided not to proceed with action against Hillary Clinton, I did make a post on Facebook that expressed my frustration. It was fairly short and sweet and then I got busy and didn't come back to it until the middle of the night. What I saw at that point was interesting, disappointing to some degree and a bit scary knowing that this was just the tip of the iceberg as to where this country and it's people are headed. So, I decided to put my full two cents in this one time and then do a lot of praying between now and November.

Please keep in mind that this is my opinion and they are my thoughts and YES....I am entitled to them!!! Please also remember that I don't expect or demand that my family and friends feel the same. I do however expect and yes....even demand, that you respect my right to believe as I do, just as I respect your right to believe as you do.

It used to be that whether you were Republican or Democrat/conservative or liberal......we all wanted basically the same things for this country. We simply were going at those things from different angles. Yes, there were political disagreements, but we all had the common sense to know that we were going after the same things so we didn't tear each other apart in pursuit of our goals.

I know our current political situation did not happen over night, nor was it the responsibility of just one party. We have been running headlong into our current place in history for many years, even decades but the last couple of decades have been almost dibilating and who will pay for this? Our children. 

We have lost all perspective of who we are as a country and as a people. We are not perfect and never have been because we are human, but somewhere along the line.....we have lost track of what this country was founded on. We have lost our pride, our dignity and our respect for those who have fought and died for this country, those who started this country and those we call fellow human beings. We forgot that we aren't owed anything from anyone and that includes our government or our fellow man. We also forgot things like "anything worth having is worth working for," that "some things are worth fighting and yes.....even dying for" and worst of all, we forgot that "if you don't give don't get respect."

In the 1970's, my mother made a profound statement to me that I have never forgotten. It was after Roe v. Wade. Her heart broke that our government made abortion legal and basically said that one human life trumps another "innocent" human life, therefore making it legal to murder/kill/destroy another human life at will. She said, "when we make it easy to disrespect an "innocent" human life in such a way, it will be no time before no life will be respected and we will all be animals in the street killing, maiming and destroying life at will." Forty plus years later and she wasn't wrong. I truly believe that this one act of legislation set the course of things to come.

I will now say, that our last GREAT president was Ronald Reagan. I know there will be many of you that have already started throwing your hissies just hearing the name, but in my opinion....this is pure fact. Did Reagan do it all right as president? No. He was human. Did Reagan lead to the best of his ability? You darn right he did! He was great not because of every decision he ever made, but he was great because of his ability to unite the American people. He never made it an us against them among was an us against them when it came to our enemies and our enemies knew that he was not playing. Reagan was a strong American who believed in a strong America. He made no bones about where the United States stood and what action would be taken if our enemies disrespected us. He was a diplomat and right or wrong.....he always put the American people and the best interest of this country the best of his ability. Not since this man left office have we had a president who has done this....and it shows.

Bush the first, was not presidential material. He tried but the shoes left to fill were way to big for him. He may actually have been the start of what we are reaping today. Bill Clinton was a lot of things, unfortunately being a man of integrity or honesty were not among those things. Clinton could talk the talk, but he could not walk the walk. Luckily for him, he had Monica Lewinsky to redirect and divert attention away from his presidency and he had a faction of the American people willing to be charmed into believing that a president who molests interns and lies about it to the American people all while openly cheating on his wife, is acceptable. Many excused his actions saying that it was his private life, however.....his private actions happened in his business arena and lets face it, if he so easily lied about that, can you be sure he doesn't lie about other things? It speaks to his character as a man and he proved he would lie to save his own skin.

And how about that Hillary? She is not a friend of the truth herself. Apparently her and Bill are of the same character. She would prove that again and again over time. And let us not forget that long before the Clintons came to Washington, there is well documented information on how they conducted themselves and their lack of character going back to Arkansas. Yet somehow, the American people apparently no longer felt that we should hold our president to a higher standard than to be a liar and a philandarer. Now mind you.....Bill is a democrat and his behavior was both accepted and forgiven by democrats far and wide. Think for a minute if you will, if this same behavior had happened to either of the Bush's or Reagan. They would have been tarred and feathered out of the White House and the democrats would have shown no mercy. You know I am right. 

Bush Jr. What can we say about him? I sincerely believe he came into office with one finish what his daddy started. Putting aside all the conspiracy theories.....9/11 gave him what he wanted. Should we have gone to war after 9/11? Yes. Plain and simple because based on the information he had and the American people had, we were full on attacked and when you are attacked, you fight back. You have to show a strong front to your enemies and make them aware that some things are worth fighting freedom. I think though, after the initial call to war, we became lost in a never ending battle that should have taken much less time and should have been much more effective. Bush will not go down in the history books as our finest presidential hour.....especially after 8 years. 

Then came Barrack Obama. This man was nearly as charming as Bill Clinton and many voted for him not because of his credentials but because of his skin color. It was time for a black president! Yes, maybe it was, but not him. The whole rationale of choosing skin color over credentials was racist in itself. It set the stage for many things to come.

I won't even go into the damage he has done to us financially as a country (bye bye A+ rating), nor what he has done to healthcare. And I won't touch upon the fact that he still takes regular bows for work Navy Seals did. And just to keep it real.....I won't even mention Benghazi. What I will talk about is what he has done to the American people. He has single handedly put American race relations back generations. He has caused a divide among the American people that will take decades to fix. He has race baited and if not caused, then supported unrest between blacks and whites and blacks and police. Instead of using his position to unite, he has actively used it to divide and has taken us back to a very dark place in history where Americans are on the verge of both civil and race wars. Not only this, but he has also very methodically worked to make Americans government dependent all while growing governments reach and position. No longer is it about standing on our own two feet, taking care of ourselves and our families and working for what we have. Now it is about government handouts, government freebies and scariest of all.......the government protecting us. We are now taking uncomfortable chapters of history out of our history books, rewriting the past and focusing on it instead of moving forward as a united people.

Gone are the days when free enterprise, inguenuity and hardwork were deemed good things. We have become a glutonous country with a population that doesn't want to work and wants to take from those who do and our president perpetuates this mentality. We feel owed everthing and we have a generation of kids who feel that the government will protect them and take care of them and they can just stare at their phones all day and do as they like. We have a people that will kill over the color of skin, demand their lives be respected and matter, and yet will disrespect the lives of others. We have people that will destroy and loot their own neighborhoods because they don't like a legal judgment and then turn around and expect others tax dollars to fix the damage. Does Obama speak out against this behavior? No...he apologizes to them and sides with their bad behavior....much like he apologizes to our enemies over things the American people should not be apologizing for. He weakens us on every level.....all while promising to protect us. No one else finds this bad and even dangerous form for the president?????

Obama has opened our country up to illegal immigrants and rather than work to became Americans, they take jobs at lower pay, live off the government, get free healthcare and educations and then feel persecuted when legal Americans take offense. I have no problem with anyone coming to this country with a full desire to become an American and work hard and make their own American dream. It is what our country is founded on. My family were immigrants and when they came over to this country, while becoming American citizens they were treated as immigrant scum. They worked as slave labor, were treated as property and NO.....Irish immigrant lives did NOT matter. We did it the right way though. We worked hard and the American dream became our dream....legally. What's more, I am pretty sure we have put the past in the past and I don't blame today's protestant American's for treating my Irish Catholic ancestors like property or a subhuman species. Oops....sorry about the Irish immigrant tangent. 

Ultimately though, by opening our country up to illegals we are messing with jobs, wages, government funds and yes, our safety. Obama seems to be okay with this. I not.

Now we are faced with an election year. The three front runners were Bernie Sanders a socialist running for the democratic party, Hillary Clinton a democrat who up until yesterday was under FBI investigation and Donald Trump, a republican who has no political back ground. Sounds like the bottom of the barrel politicaly and as if the American people had the worst of the worst to pick from.

What I found scary was that the Democratic party split right down the middle when during the primaries, people jumped on the Bernie bandwagon more than happy to sell this country out to socialism. I heard remarks and justifications such as...."we have been a socialist country for years", "Bernie will even things out," (I assume this meant that Bernie will make us all poor and get rid of the American dream unless of course your American dream is to work hard and give it all away), and of course the young people were on board becasue in most cases their extent of political understanding comes from CNN and Facebook. I have a feeling our founding fathers were rolling in their graves which could explain a lot of those earthquakes and global warming we have been dealing with. The interesting thing, a lot of people who had previously shouted Hillary's name to the roof tops suddenly wanted nothing to do with her. She was evil and not good presidential material. No one really wanted to admit they ever even supported Hillary.

Bernie bombed. Guess what? Hillary is the greatest thing since sliced bread again! I am sure some of you would like me to forget I saw you flip flop on Hillary, but I can't. In my opinion after the way Hillary has conducted herself even before Washington, as the first lady and Bill's spouse and in these last few years I find her a liar who will say and/or do anything to protect her own hide (yep she is Bill's wife). She is as anti-woman as it comes as she talks a good game about women all the while knowing how Bill has treated women. She hereself has demonized those women so I don't see her as a great proponent for women. She has allowed soldiers and diplomats to die while comforting their families with the calous words, "What difference does it make?" Yes, there was more to what she said, but those were words that she never should have said. So this woman, with all the finese of an ogre and all the character of a snake, that lies as easily as she breathes, obviously puts her greed for power above what is right and best for this country and SHE is running for the highest office in this country and WE are good with that?

Then there is Donald Trump. I see a lot of never Trump! things posted. Why? Before his run for office, Trump was fairly well respected in the business world. If people didn't particularly like him, they did respect his business accumen. Yes, he had successful businesses and some not so successful businesses. All really financially successful people usually do. I find it funny that some of the people who now speak out against him were some of those who were fighting to be in his presence and be connected with his name and bask in his social circle when he was merely a businessman. I agree that Trump is brash and that he has rough political edges. However, he came into this campaign I believe trying to be as unpolitically correct as possible. I think he knew that the American people were sick and tired of being "correct" when all it has done is get us into this cluster of 2016. He grew supporters by openly saying some things that maybe needed to be said. Things many of us had thought all along, but couldn't because we would be branded a racist for going against not a man, but a black man....regardless of whether what he said or did was right or not.

We have had decades of politicians and all they have done is wreck our economy, circumvent our constitution and further their own powerful political agenda's. It has been a long time since we had a politician in office whose heart beat for this country and not for their own grab at power. Now we have a businessman whom I am sure has his own grab at power in sight, but also I honestly think he loves this country. This country has been good to him. Free enterprise has been good to him. He wants a chance at the American dream....and part of that is running for the White House. Does he not deserve the same right as any other American?

I find it interesting that some of the things that many have degraded Trump for, they have found acceptable in other presidents and presidential candidates. Trumps love of women is not acceptable, but Bills was. Trump makes "presumed" racist remarks and that is not acceptable, but Obama's out right racist attitude and willingness to divide this country are perfectly fine.

So why does Trump scare us so? Why never Trump? Is it because he is not a career politician? Perhaps it is because he has a rogue mouth and attitude. Maybe it is because regardless of his enemies, he is still pushing forward and he is a viable possibility as our next president?!

Quite frankly this election scares me to death. Yes, the candidates give me pause, but more is the people that scare me. There is an underlying willingness for the American people to turn on each other at the drop of a hat. They will pull faux information out of thin air and claim it as fact going after anyone.... friend or otherwise to have their facts viewed as  "right." People are tearing into each other and acting like rabid animals. Individuals who I know are educated suddenly are becoming politically ignorant listening to what they want to hear and only hearing "the truth" if they want it to be the truth. There is no longer a respect for those with differening opinions or political views and I fear for this country and the people......regardless of how this election turns out.

I love this country. I love my freedom and quite frankly......not voting is not an option. I will vote but before that, I will continue to watch the candidates, listen to what they say and research not only their political/business backgrounds but also their characters. I will do my own research and not rely on Facebook, main stream media or anyone elses opinion. When I do cast my ballot, I will know in my heart that while participating in this great right and responsibility, that I am voting my conscience and that it will be a decision..... that I can live with for the next four years. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Never Trump! Hillary! Bernie!

I pray constantly. Most of the time it sounds a lot like....."Lord give me strength." Us being in an election year though, it is sounding more and more like...."Lord give me guidance!" 

This election year literally bewilders me, but more than that, it scares me to death. I can't believe what we have done to our country and what the consequences of our collective bad choices are! It is bad when you don't even have the lesser of two evils to vote for and when all you have left is EVIL.

We have been a country that has been led astray by greed, self indulgence, narcissism and a sense of entitlement that is enough to make a persons head spin. We have strayed from all the things that made this country great and have become lazy and apathetic. Instead of working for the American Dream, we somehow have the idea that we are entitled to it without lifting a finger.

Gone are the days when we worked hard, refused handouts and fought our way from the bottom to the top to achieve our dreams. No longer is there pride in hard work and good ethics. Now we expect as a nation to be taken care of and we resent those who do succeed on their own merit and hard work. We want something for nothing and unfortunately......that attitude and mentality has brought us to three possible candidates for president, all who terrify me.

Now I am no political whiz and quite frankly, I have tried to avoid politics as much as possible in the last few years. Obama was a frightening lesson in people voting because of anything other than qualification and his legacy will be a mess that my great grandchildren will still be trying to overcome....if that's even possible. However, an American if we don't pay attention and vote carefully, what is left of our country will be unrecognizable.

My entire life I have seen myself as a Republican. The values and beliefs of the "old" Republican party were what I identified closely with. Now though, I am a Constitutional Conservative Christian (CCC) and I am having a very difficult time identifying with anyone who is running in this election.

What is a CCC you ask? I believe in God. I believe in the Constitution and I believe in family. I believe that all life is precious and has a place from natural conception to natural death. Yes, I am pro-life....and no....not just pro-birth. I also believe in common sense, meaning if you are not mature enough to be a parent or don't want to be a parent, that you use common sense and avoid the creation of a human life. It's not rocket science. I also believe that hard work and innovation are the keys to success. We should help our fellow man get on their feet, but those who are capable should work and support themselves. We should have the right to speak freely, but with that right should come common sense and a respect for that which has given you that right. We should be allowed to protect ourselves and our families against those who would try to hurt us and yes....even against a government who forgets that they serve the people and not the other way around. I believe that if you work hard and succeed, that while helping others is an act of generosity and is not mandatory that you support those who refuse to support themselves. I believe in programs that help people to find their way in life and to help themselves, not programs that enable laziness and entitlement through hand outs. I believe in education, freedom and that all men/women are created equal. I believe in equal rights....NOT special rights. I believe in small government and a government that remembers they are but elected officials, not dictators. I believe that America should be welcoming of anyone who wishes to come to this country legally and who wishes to work hard and grab their piece of the American Dream. I do not however feel that our doors should be open to those who wish our country harm or to those who only see us as a free handout with no obligation on their part. I believe that while there should be a division of Church and State, Christianity should not be shunned while beliefs such as Muslim and Atheists are embraced. Finally, I believe in the Constitution and feel that it is still as relevant today as it was the day it was signed. So you see....I am not sure there is a candidate running that I can identify with, support and/or contentiously vote for. It is scary.

So let's see what we are dealing with here:

Hillary Clinton....I see a criminal. Her illegal activities and questionable ethics long preceded her and Bills time in the White House and her lack of concern over Benghazi along with her email escapades don't scream leader in my book. She lies as easily as she breathes. Her actions do however scream orange jump suit and treason. And as for her running in support of women.....I call BS. Hillary has stood back and watched Bill womanize and disrespect women for years and she has allowed it to happen. She disrespects women who do not agree with her political stance and she obviously has little self respect or Bill would be her ex instead of in the running for First "Lady." Nope not a political candidate I can get behind.

Bernie Sanders....oh the liberals dream. Bernie is a socialist pure and simple. He will give handouts and force anyone who actually does have a job and makes money to do the same. What is left of this country will be gone because Bernie will give it away. Feel the Bern. Yes we will all feel the Bern much like I would assume we would with a really bad case of VD. If Bernie gets elected, freedom will no longer be free. Our Constitutional rights will be chock full of limitations and government will grow exponentially because the people will "need" to be taken care of. Our country will be unrecognizable and all that our fore fathers have fought for, will officially be gone. We will be a broken, broke shell of country and easy pickings for a takeover by our enemies. Soon we will be nothing and the days of a Great America will have died.

Donald a conservative....he scares me. I can't figure him out and I feel like he maybe a lot of talk, with nothing to back it up. He obviously has no political or social tact when it comes to speaking and he has alienated much of his own party because of his choice of words alone. I worry that much of what he says that is conservative speak, is either a smoke screen or can't be backed up with action because he doesn't have the resume to make it happen. That being said, I do like the fact that he isn't politically correct and says what many of us have been thinking for a while. But then that for show or is that just a raw, uncut part of who he is? You would think having been a successful business man and dealing with everyone from politicians to business people that he might be a bit more polished when speaking. Sadly, I am not sure he is any better than the other two, but when I see people saying "Never Trump!" then I question....but who? Because in my opinion, I kind of feel the same way about Bernie and Hillary. So if it is "Never Trump, Bernie or Hillary," what the hell are we gonna do?

So yeah, as I said....I do a lot of praying. I as an American, don't have an answer for this election and without some Divine intervention when it comes to our right to vote, after the 2016 election.....what we may actually be looking at is......."Never Again!"

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Gorilla vs Child

In the case of Harambe the gorilla who was recently killed at the Cincinnati Zoo, yes...I am sad that he had to die but I am also a little alarmed that people put an animal's life above the safety of a child. I am also saddened at what a judgmental world we have become to brand the child's mother "neglectful" and a "bad parent" even when eye witness accounts say the mother had her son right with her and was warning him away from the fence just seconds before he slipped through. Yes, I am alarmed and saddened but not surprised.

In our current world where the internet shows us a myriad of pictures and videos of animals "acting" like humans and those watching obviously believing they have a human side, it somehow makes sense that people would be much more willing to fight for animal rights than they are for human rights. It's kind of ridiculously sad if you think about it. I guess because of this, no one should be surprised at the out cry in defense of a 400 lb. gorilla who likely would have killed this child had the zoo not intervened as it did.

The fact is, gorillas, bears, lions, etc are WILD animals. Even when "trained" or "domesticated" there is no guarantee that these animals won't get startled or revert to their most basic animal instincts....regardless of how many cute animal videos you watch on the internet. When that happens it is human vs. beast and the human is not likely to win that battle.

The internet is in full out cry and lynch mob mode that those in charge at the Cincinnati Zoo made the call to kill the animal, even though they explained their protocol and they are the experts on the situation. However, it does not keep Joe Public from sitting behind his computer saying "Awww poor innocent gorilla. He was just taking care of the boy." I saw the video and Harambe was most definitely NOT taking care of the boy. He was dominating the boy. You didn't have to be trained in animal behavior to see that.

Sadly, the likelihood that any of these indignant people have ever been closer to a gorilla than reinforced plexiglass or zoo cages is slim to none. They have never worked with these animals and don't know their true personalities or what the likely outcome would be of such a tragic incident. It's easy to be an armchair zookeeper when your screen saver is a grizzly saying "I haza cheezburger?" However, if you listen to the "real" experts, the people who work with these animals and know their temperament, they all say the same thing. The zoo acted responsibly. Harambe under the best situation...meaning people not excitedly screaming like crazy....would likely have ended up hurting or more likely, killing the boy. It might have been unintentional, but a 30 lb child being drug through the water is no match for a 400 lb gorilla. Add in the screaming people and that poor gorilla was likely very agitated. He was in protect mode and he was standing his ground. That little boy meant nothing to him.

One expert said that yes, they could have tranquilized him, but before he went down he would have gotten crazy as they don't go down immediately. Since the boy was between his legs, he would likely have been severely injured if not killed before Harambe actually became tranquilized. The zoo and all those who knew what they were doing, acted appropriately. They put the boys life first and that is as it should have been. The out come was sad, but would have been much sadder if the boy had been killed right there in front of everyone.

As for the armchair quarter backing of the mom...... So all you parents who have raised your kids without even one near miss, raise your hand. If you are honest.....there are no hands raised. The fact is, if you are a have lost your kid, dropped your kid, forgot your kid or watched your kid get hurt at least once and probably more times than you would like to admit. It doesn't make you a bad neglectful parent. It simply makes you a parent. You can't protect their every move. It is simply not possible. Believe me...I have tried....and failed!

All eye witness accounts say that the zoo was busy and that the mom was being attentive to her child. The little boy said he wanted in with the gorillas and she had told him no! This is not unusual, as kids want to be most places they are not suppose to be. They also have no fear of anything. That gorilla to him was a big cuddly stuffed thing he wanted to play with. Perhaps his parents had shown him videos of a gorilla cuddling a puppy. Yes....that was sarcasm. At any rate, it was at that moment.....his mission became  to play with that gorilla. And any parent knows when a toddler is on a mission, they are slippery, sneaky and very quick. It's what toddlers do! The mother turned her back for one moment to take a picture and that is all it took. The boy was gone. It has happened to all of us and yet you would think this was a singular case. The rest of us are just lucky our kids didn't try to crawl in with a lion or a bear.

So what are we now doing? Are we trying to set up a precedence that if a toddler does what they do best, that the parent faces charges? Looks like a lot of us will be doing time then. Yes, because that is what our legal system needs. More bogus cases clogging up the system and costing the tax payers money.

Bottom line is that people are being ridiculous. This was an accident plain and simple. Remember those? Where something unfortunate and unplanned happens but it really isn't anyone's fault. Perhaps some of you die-hard people out there who think the lady wasn't being a good parent, would like to have seen her have a leash on her kid. Oh, but no.....then you would have had a whole other reason to criticize her parenting skills.

I do find it sad that Harambe had to die, but I applaud the zoo for acting so quickly and for those who knew what they were doing, jumping into action and saving the child. I also feel a great deal of empathy for the mother who I have no doubt felt plenty of guilt already for her son breaking free and that was long before the opinions of America chimed in making it worse. I am sure it is a scare she will never forget and a situation she will never allow again. So lets save our parental rage for the parents who starve and physically and sexually abuse their kids. Just a thought.

Please people.....get over your mob mentality and get off your judgmental high horse. But for the grace of God that could have been any one of us parents...... and every last parent out there knows it. Lets just hope that a lesson was learned by all and maybe perhaps more zoo's might think about toddler proofing themselves just a little bit better. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day In My Town

I woke up this morning thinking about Memorial Day as a kid. It was the official end of the school year and the official beginning of summer. It was always hot, the town pool was open, people were off work, everything was closed and it was a day of patriotism and remembrance along with celebration and family.

Lawns were mowed on Saturday and cars were washed. Garages were cleaned out and barbecue grills were spiffed up and made ready for a big day of grilling. Flags were flown on every house and driveways, front yards and porches were full of people talking, laughing and remembering those who had fought so that their Memorial Days could be so picturesque.

For me, moving to and growing up in this small town was life changing. The wannabe writer in me even back then, knew the importance of the sensory experience of these moments and that many would either not be repeated or would some day fade away into an ever changing world. Even all these years later, I have held on to many of those images and the smells, the feel and wondering even at such a young age if one day my kids would experience this or if it would merely be unfathomable stories to their young minds.

So I have started walking again and today, after lying in bed thinking about the past, I decided to walk my 4 mile trek around town and see what my small town was doing in 2016 on Memorial Day. I vowed as I walked out the door to take pictures and to walk more slowly than usual as I wanted once again, the sensory experience that I seldom had time for anymore. I wanted to see this a kid again.

It is a warm, humid morning full of sunshine. My usual bustling little town is quiet. Traffic on the main drag is nil and in places it is so still I can hear my own heart beat. I try to remember how the sun felt as a child and how excited I would have been that summer was finally here, but my adult brain was taking me to the thoughts of how free I was. How amazing it was that I could walk no particular place in no particular time and how much I was enjoying it. I was trying to imagine what life would be like without the freedom to come and go as I please and I could feel a knot starting to form in my stomach at even the thought of such a thing. Yes....Memorial Day....a time to remember those who fought and died, so that I might have a peaceful walk without limitations.

I walked passed the city building with its flag waving majestically over head. Our flag. The flag that has been abused, stepped on, burned and yet still it stands. Amazing. And I walked on. As I walked through the main street of town flags adorned the center posts. There was not a soul other than myself as I headed down the street and yet I was not alone. With me stood all those that had built this town, worked in this town and yes....died for this town. It was such a feeling of belonging and also a feeling of loss.

As I headed west and then back south, the smell of charcoal and smoke was already permeating the air. Many cars lined the streets as family and friends started to gather for celebrations and barbecues. Kids could be seen riding bikes and playing in yards. The whir of lawn mowers could be heard here and there as lawns were finally dry enough from all the mow. Garage doors were open and people were sitting in lawn chairs with music drifting on the air. As is small town etiquette, they would smile and wave as I went by, none I am sure realizing, that I was searing their image, the sound and the smell into my brain. None knew that one question kept popping into my head. What if these days, these celebrations, these moments of freedom.....are numbered? I had to remember them. I had to remember this walk.

On the south side of town, I heard the occasional rooster crow and neighborhood dogs would stand at their fences and bark "hello" as I walked by. Even in the humidity, the tree lined streets gave off shade and ever so often a slight breeze could be felt. It was surreal beauty at its finest.

I looked at the houses as I walked by. Some were homes of friends that I had gone to school with or had grown up with. Some houses had seen better days and some had been given new life. There were beautifully manicured lawns and lawns that needed a green thumb and much love. Regardless, they were a part of the scenery of my life and each felt special as if I would miss it terribly if I walked by and it weren't there.

I walked past the park that used to hold the city pool. I spent so many summers in that pool with my friends. I stood quietly for a moment and I could almost hear the laughter, the splashing, the life guards whistle and the sound of the radio coming from the concession stand. I felt real loss at that moment for even though we now have a new pool on the edge of town, my kids will never know this pool and just how integral to our summers it was for generations of kids.

The more I walked, the more I realized how intertwined my soul and my heart were with this town. I understood fully how I was a small town girl and how grateful I was that my youthful dreams of being a writer in New York City had never panned out. My heart would not have lasted a week in a place where I couldn't hear my own thoughts or have listened to the trains as they passed through town or walked tree lined streets where everyone waved whether they knew you or not. No....this is home. This is where I belong.

As my walk was soon to end, a sadness creeped over me. As much as I loved this place, there was something missing and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I continued walking down my street, trying to figure out what was bothering me. As I looked at my neighbors house, it hit me. I knew what the sadness was and it was quite profound. In front of me stood my neighbors house and proudly from the front porch, gently waved the flag. It was solitary and singular and it represented all that this day stood for. It was at this moment I realized that yes.....the town had flags, but of all the houses I walked by.....only a handful had a flag flying. I immediately jumped back to those days of childhood where every home had a flag and where it was flown every Memorial Day without fail. Maybe we truly were coming to a time in our world, our town, where freedom was a dying right, being replaced by ignorance, apathy and a huge disregard for what this country was founded on and who fought to keep it free. I almost cried.

My walk was over and my emotions were raw. The sensory tour had been a little more than I had been prepared for. I had one more yearly event that I needed to do and although I wasn't sure I was up for it, it had to be done. I got in the car, flowers and flags in hand and headed for the cemetery. I drove out south of town thinking that I was pretty emotional and I hate to cry. I had to see my mom though and my husband and all those whose lives were a part of me and a part of my town.

As I drove into the cemetery, my heart jumped. Before me stood a row of big beautiful flags that lined the entire center of the cemetery. There were cars everywhere as people came out to pay their respects and honor those who had gone before them. The graves were adorned with flowers and flags and there was a sea of red, white and blue for as far as the eye could see. My town had not forgotten the meaning of Memorial Day. They had not lost their pride of country or freedom. It was here....where it should be. Remembering the men and women who fought and died so that we all might be free.

Tears ran down my face as I took in everything. It was amazing and I knew I would never as long as I lived forget that moment. Yes....this is my town!

Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

And We Laughed....and We Laughed....and We laughed

Have you ever laughed so hard that you literally had tears running down your face? You snorted? You couldn't breathe? You even peed a little? Guilty!!!! I love to laugh. There is simply nothing better....unless perhaps it is my own humor. Yeah....that is definitely better.

Many of you may not know it, but I am hysterical. No....really! I am! I think I came out of the womb thinking knowing I was funny. I remember as a kid often having a "witty" comeback when Mom told me to do something. Mom called it talking back, I however, called it...."me being funny." Mom and I often had to agree to disagree on my humor.

I was never openly disrespectful to Mom, or anyone for that matter, but things would just pop into my head and they had to come out. Sometimes I thought them so funny that I was hysterically laughing before I could even say them. On occasion I would see the corners of my mothers mouth go into a half-smile, but never more than that because she was not about to encourage my hilarity. In fact she spent a lot of time cautioning me about my mouth and my "humor" and warning me that someday it would get me in trouble. It has a time or two, but only because people didn't understand how funny I a really am. (wink)

In my defense, I come from a pretty darn funny family. Believe it or mom's side of the family was filled with humorous characters and funny stories. My grandfather once shot his own reflection in a mirror, thinking it was an intruder. Grandma killed a snake and put it on the walk heading up to the house knowing Grandpa was scared of snakes. Yes...these are my kin. Explains a lot now doesn't it.

Now Mom was funny too and she had an amazing sense of humor.....which usually showed up in church. Put her with her sister and it was like two 10 year old little girls sitting together. They would look at each other and you could see it start. Why were they laughing? Who knew, but before long....both had their heads down and were literally shaking and trying to keep from snorting out loud. At my cousins wedding rehearsal they got so tickled they were both laying in the pew....yes....they were snorting. The mother of the groom was not amused. Neither was my other aunt who threatened to take them outside if they didn't behave. They only laughed harder.  Eventually after years of  this kind of behavior, my mom and aunt realized that sitting in the same pew during Mass was a recipe for disaster so they ended up sitting across the church from each other and out of each others line of site. I think Father sent them each a thank you letter.

My aunt was not the only one who could get my mom going in church though. Once my mom, my brother and I all went to confession on a Saturday afternoon. We walked into the pew....Mom first, then my brother and then myself. Neither my brother nor I were paying attention and I guess we both assumed Mom had put down the kneeler. She had not. Both of us went to kneel down and hit the ground chinning ourselves on the pew in front of us. Let me just say......I'm sure it looked a lot funnier than it felt. Mom looked over at us and started to laugh. Neither my brother nor I were amused, Mom however was. She laughed and she laughed. Tears began to form in her eyes and we knew her trademark snort was just around the corner. Watching her trying to unsuccessfully hold back the snort got us to laughing too. It was contagious and none of us could control ourselves.I am sure Father wondered what was going on, not to mention the others who had come for confession and got a show. So you see, I am obviously funny.....even when I don't mean to be. It's a gift I tell you.

Through the years, I have surrounded myself with friends who are 1) either as funny as I am or 2) appreciate how funny I am. Yeah, I know.....if you are my friend, you know what I am talking about. Whether it was hiding from the cops behind a fridge on New Years eve, laughing our way to St. Louis or having the pleasure of being my wing person as I make up fake identities at a know how funny I am. You also know who you are.

My kids have also spent many years dealing with my humor. They, like my mother have not always appreciated my quick wit and at times I am sure I have even embarrassed the tapioca out of them, but along the way....I have also taught them to have a sense of humor and to laugh....even when life doesn't throw a lot of "funny" your way.  

In case you weren't aware....I am not your ordinary mother. As I have gotten older my humor at times has crossed over to the dark side and my mouth can be a bit irreverent. When my kids were young though, I always tried to keep my words and my humor appropriate around them, but even the best of us has our slip ups. I think Z finally realized who he was dealing with when he was about 8 years old. At that point in his life, I rarely cussed and the F-word was strictly forbidden in our house. Then came the day that Z saw a different side of me. The side that changed his view of me......forever!

Z and I were out outside working in the yard and we came upon a snake. Now this snake was huge and seemed to be squaring up for a fight. Z jumped into action, trying to be my big protector. He picked up a nearby brick to kill it. Now here is where I should tell you that I was wearing flip flops, not knowing that steel-toed boots might have served me better that day. Z threw the brick at the snake and missed it by a mile, however....he did NOT miss my big uncovered, unprotected, freshly polished toe. The brick left a huge gash right across the nail and actually broke the toe. The pain was immediately excruciating and as I grabbed my foot and began to hop around....from my mouth flew the words F*ck a Duck! Now never in my life had I used that particular I have no idea where it came from. What I do know is that it was loud enough that everyone on my block probably heard it and I turned to see Z white as a ghost with his mouth and eyes equally wide open. I am not sure whether it was the words that came from my mouth, the dance of pain I was doing or the expression  on my face, but all of a sudden my 8 year old just burst out laughing. He was laughing so hard that he doubled over. He obviously had inherited our families signature snort as he was snorting and trying to catch his breath. Even in my state of pain, watching my son gasp for air as he laughed at this unfortunate incident....well it got me to laughing too. And we laughed.....and we laughed.....and we laughed. By the snakes were injured or even remotely traumatized during this little incident. My toe however.....was not as lucky.

I think it was at this moment that he realized who his mother really was and I realized that my son, like me,  had an amazing sense of humor. As Z has grown, I have had a glimpse into what my mother might possibly have dealt with....with me. I have been the recipient of his "witty" comebacks and his humorous remarks that were so funny in his head, he almost couldn't get them out. He like his mother is pretty darn funny and sometimes together.....well lets just say.....only the truly funny can hang with us.

So yeah...I'm funny. And apparently....I, like generations before me....have passed this onto a whole new generation. For this, all I can say is.....your welcome!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Violence Begets Violence?

I live in a small town and there are many wonderful things about small towns. The downside is, everything and everyone are under a microscope. People usually know what you are doing before you do. It is just the nature of the beast.

One thing that our small town has that it seems every town has, large and a bullying problem. I know I have talked about this before, but since the problem seems to continue, I guess it is worth more than just a mention.

Our school district, like many districts anymore, has a zero tolerance policy on bullying. I believe it goes something like, if you are "caught" bullying, you are suspended and if the act is heinous enough, possibly even expelled. Zero tolerance.'s a wishy washy policy that often times the bullied is the one who ends up suffering the consequences while the bully skates by, free to bully another day. ask?! Because bullies aren't stupid. They know the school policies so they bully under the radar of staff and administration and unless staff and administration actually "see" the act, apparently nothing can be done. There is also the little talked about fact that at times, staff and administration are also the target of bullies and once this happens, well you can imagine. The inmates start running the asylum.

There is a Facebook page in our town where people can discuss town issues. One issue that seems to constantly stay at the forefront of discussion is bullying. It is sadly happening from kindergarten right on up through high school and parents are frustrated that administration is not listening or doing anything about this. We have kids bullied to the point of trying to commit suicide and still the problem remains and ever growing issue. Why? I have my theory, but first I want to discuss the bully vs. the bullied.

The bully is a kid that regardless of how popular, good looking or smart they are, feels insecure and not at all as the world see's them. Because they feel so horrible about themselves, they feel the need to go after others and they get some perverse satisfaction out of making others feel as horrible as they do. The bully is a kid who has everything except what he/she craves the most.....attention. They go after that attention anyway they can with the attitude that any attention is better than no attention at all. Add to that, many of these kids have parents that live by the mantra..."my kid would never" when in reality their kid is not only doing it but is also the ring leader, and you have a kid who knows they can get away with anything. And finally, the bully is a kid who has never been taught that others matter. They are not empathetic in the least and quite probably are one of the most shallow, self involved, narcissistic individuals you will ever meet. They feel entitled to act anyway they choose, they are two faced and hold no relationships close to them. They don't have friends, they have followers and they are cunning enough to know when, where and to whom they can put on the charm, whether it be teachers, parents or anyone else they are trying to manipulate. They lie as easily as they breathe and they have no remorse for their negative actions regardless of who gets hurt or how they hurt them. It is not a pretty picture and I bet as you read this, you know at least one person that has one or more of these qualities. You know a bully.

Now the bullied. The bullied is someone who is viewed as weak. In reality though, the bullied is usually a rule follower who believes that IF they follow the rules, they will be taken care of. In other words, they believe that if someone bullies them, that if they go to their teachers or principal and tell them what is going on, that the issue will be taken care of. They have been brought up to believe that you don't or can't fight back so you must sit back and wait for someone to take care of or save you. When they do tell what is going on and nothing is done, then they are viewed as a "snitch" and usually they become an even bigger target. Eventually they just give up and quit telling.

Sadly, anymore with the internet and social media, bullying is no longer just a school yard issue. Bullying follows kids wherever they go whether it be Facebook, twitter or Instagram and what is said about them is forever out in the internet world. Kids are not emotionally equipped to handle this kind of personal terrorism, so it is no wonder so many kids choose to kill themselves when they are harassed day and night and no one listens.

So with all of this going on in our little town and all across the country, I asked a question on Facebook today. I asked:
"If a kid were bullying another kid and being sneaky about it around adults or authority and the kid kept the bullying you think the bullying would stop if the bullied kid suddenly punched the kid and knocked them to the ground telling them that if it happened again, they would end up on the ground again?"

I wanted to know if people would be honest and if people felt that standing up to a bully might stop at least some of the bullying kids now face. The answer overwhelmingly was YES, kids need to stand up to a bully. Some of the answers came from people who had been bullied themselves and many came from parents who felt that regardless of the consequences, i.e. possible suspension, that their kids needed to stand up and fight if necessary to stop themselves or others from being bullied. Among these answers, there was one who said, "No...violence begets violence."

Honestly, I was surprised that there weren't more that felt this way, but since I was asking for opinions, I respected the fact that among all those that felt the complete opposite she spoke up and said No! And truthfully, I do in a way see where she is coming from. We live in a world where every news cast, every paper and a majority of the headlines that come into our news feed all have to do with violence of some sort. We live in a violent world and I am sure, to her, this sounded like more violence. Unfortunately, sometimes in this world in order to survive, you have to fight fire with fire.

So now my theory. I know you were sitting on the edge of your seat just waiting for it. theory is this:

We have become a world where we expect "someone" from our parents, to our teachers, to our government to take care of us....regardless of our age or circumstances. We have become a weak society and because of this, we forget that we actually hold a great deal of power.

When I was growing up, my parents taught me that if someone bullies you, you have every right to fight back. Teachers and principals used to live by this standard too. I remember telling a teacher one time when I was about first grade that a boy had pinched me. She looked at me and said...."Go pinch him back." The boy was standing right there and I did pinch him, right in front of her. You know what? He never pinched me again. You know why? Because he knew that I would pinch him back and most bullies will not mess with someone that fights back. They prey on the weak.

I think if more parents empowered their children and taught them to first use their words to fight back (I have talked myself out of a few bullying situations) and then if that doesn't work, to literally fight fire with fire, there would be a whole lot less bullying. That empowerment and confidence then stays with them their entire life, and that is so important because we all know that there are going to be bullies all throughout our lives whether it be bosses, spouses or just abusive people in our world who see us as a weak and easy target. We have to teach our kids that the world is not going to protect them, it is up to them to stand up for themselves and yes......sometimes fight.

Bullying in our society has gotten way out of hand and a zero tolerance policy is only as good as the people who enforce it. I say, teach your kids to stand up for themselves. Will this get them suspended? Possibly, but the likelihood of them getting bullied by that kid again when they get back in school became much less.

Words hold a lot of power and sometimes they are all that is necessary to get you out of a bad situation. Other times though, a bully needs to be shown that you are not afraid and that they hold no power over you. If that takes a punch in the nose, then so be it. It is not the end of the world and more than one punch in the nose has been the start of a long and lasting friendship.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Darkness and Devastation April 26, 1991

                                                             Photo Courtesy of Jon Davies

Tis' the season....tornado season that is. Today the national weather channel along with all our local meteorologists are telling us that tornadoes and at the very least severe storms and giant hail are likely. They didn't have to tell me. My migraine was way ahead of them as it hit me about 1 a.m. More than that though, David had a seizure yesterday followed by a long night of no sleep. Our bodies are telling us that there is a definite change in the atmosphere.

I am a Kansas girl and I have been watching and dodging tornadoes since the beginning. I know the feel, the smell and how the change affects kids, animals and the attitudes of adults. If you live anywhere in Tornado Alley, then you know what I am talking about.

Blessedly, while I have seen tornado's form (many times) and just as often seen the destructive aftermath of these uncharitable beasts, I have never actually been in one and pray that I never am. However, I have unknowingly followed one and pulled up literally moments after it had destroyed most of a town. This was April 26, 1991, the day Tornado Alley had an outbreak of 55 tornadoes, killing 22 and nearly destroying Andover, KS.

As I get older, some memories fade, but that day is ingrained in my memory forever.

I was young and things like weather had little affect on me. Life was busy and I was always in a rush, but from the moment I stepped outside that day, it felt weird. I went to work and the air felt heavy and still. The sun was  barely shining through what almost felt like an overcast mist. It was the high moisture content in the air causing astronomical humidity and an unstable atmosphere. I worked half a day that day and went to the beauty salon to get my early 90's girl perm. My hair was long and it took forever. Even inside of the air conditioned building, the cool air was no match for the high humidity and heavy air. I sat drenched in sweat as did everyone else in the place. It was uncomfortable and I remember feeling irritable and just wanting to jump up and leave, perm rods in my hair and all.

Once done with my hair, I remember walking to my car and feeling like the air was overwhelming and that I really couldn't catch my breath. Being an asthmatic I reached for my inhaler. It really didn't help.

I headed to my then boyfriends house as we were to meet there when he got off work. As I walked in, he handed me the phone. My mother was calling me and telling me that she had picked my son up from school (she was babysitting that night) and that I needed to keep an eye on the weather. Our local meteorologist Mike Smith (he has national fame now), had said we were really in for some bad storms. I half listened as any 20 something, who thinks they are invincible does and felt confident that I was fine and that IF there were storms, my son was safe in my moms basement.

The boyfriend and I had been dating a while now and he had decided that he wanted to introduce me to some of his close friends. So soon we were on our Andover. Now mind you, in one had cell phones. There was no instant information. Unless you were listening to the radio or watching tv, you didn't really know what was going on. However, the sky was beginning to look a bit ominous as we left and lightening flashes along with big claps of thunder were happening all around us. Heading east, we ran through a heavy down pour and then as we pulled out of it, we saw a huge wall of dust and debris that looked as if it was from sky to ground. It almost looked like smoke and as we drove and I watched it, I asked boyfriend what it was. The wind had picked up and he figured that is what it was. I decided to turn on the radio to our local station with the best weather, which was KFDI. The KFDI weather alert warning was going off and Dan Dillon said Sedgwick county was under a TORNADO WARNING! My heart nearly stopped as we both realized we were driving right next to the tornado!

Suddenly you could see cars stopped all along the side of the road. Boyfriend decided that we better do the same. We watched as the tornado continued on for several minutes and then was gone. He suddenly looked pale and shaky as he realized that the tornado had just made a path right where we were headed. We jumped into the car and began driving straight into the debris path that the tornado had left behind.

I sat there speechless as I saw trees uprooted, power lines down and debris of every kind scattered and strewn across the landscape. Then I saw something that literally gave me chills. There was a powder blue baby blanket that had been forced through the trunk of what was left of a tree. It was hanging out either side and I felt my whole body shudder.

As we continued to drive we were on the outskirts of Andover in a mostly farming area. The dirt had been drilled through, trees were stripped of bark, leaves and branches. Barns had no roofs. Cattle and horses were standing dazed or running crazed. It was beyond surreal. It was like nothing I had ever seen...even in a nightmare. Little did I know, the nightmare was just beginning.

We finally drove up to his friends house, they were just emerging from an outside, in ground storm shelter. They lived in a decades old farm house that looked to be untouched by the tornado. The yard was full of fencing, posts, kids toys and debris from goodness knows where, but the house was fine. However, their property had two out buildings. One was an old dilapidated barn which they were planning to take down. The other was a brand new Morton building which had just been put up to replace the old barn. Left standing was the old barn. The Morton building was twisted like a soda can. If only we had had cell phone camera's back then. It was literally unbelievable.

Immediately boy friend and I began picking up debris, feeling helpless as the family, still shaken from what they had just endured, tried to take in what their previously immaculate yard now looked like. As we worked, rumbles of thunder began to be heard in the distance. Then from out of nowhere, a strike of lightening came from the sky and hit somewhere very close by. There was a pop and sizzle and you could see sparks flying. Then within seconds the sky opened up. It was a down pour. In the time it took us to run 100 feet to the house, we were all soaked.

Through it all, they had not lost power.....even with the last lightening strike. We turned on tv and sat and watched as we saw what had hit Andover and McConnell Airforce Base. Again, there was no cellphones or instant pictures, so news crews were flying to the hit areas and grabbing up any pictures or video that bystanders might have. As the pictures slowly came in, the realization of what boyfriend and I had been driving right next to hit me. I called my mom to make sure that she and my son were okay. She was frantic wondering if I was okay. She begged me not to go anywhere until the storms were over and she reassured me that the storm had completely bypassed them. I was relieved that they were safe, but I was also in a state of bewilderment at all that was going on.

The storm raged on and suddenly the phone rang. The friends answered, hung up and immediately began rushing around.  Apparently they were a part of an emergency volunteer team in case something like this unthinkable disaster happened. They asked for a ride to the school bus barn as their cars had been in the Morton building We all jumped into the car and headed towards town.

As we got closer, it became pitch black. There were no lights. All landmarks had been uprooted or destroyed by the tornado, so we had to drive slowly with only our vehicle lights to guide us. The rain continued to come down in sheets and everyone's nerves were on edge, praying we didn't come across electric lines or worse.

Finally we saw the big spot lights that had been set up in town. Search and rescue was on and traffic was at a stand still. News crews were everywhere, along with police, fire and rescue. The police were stopping cars as they were only allowing volunteers and rescue personnel into the town. The friend knew the cop and we were immediately directed to what used to be a parking lot. Now all that was left was rubble and debris. What the stores and shops once were, were no longer even remotely recognizable.

The friend and his wife jumped out saying a hasty good bye as they jumped in another vehicle that was taking them to where they needed to go. Boyfriend and I got out and just stood there looking around and wondering what to do from this point. It was crazy dark with spooky shadows from what little light there was. The rain was beginning to ease up and as the sound of the storm faded, another sound became more apparent. It was the sound of people crying out. It was the sound of suffering.

From all different directions you could hear cries of, "Help" and people yelling  "Over here". Sirens were blaring in the distance as people were being triaged and then rushed to the emergency rooms. People were rushing everywhere and I felt helpless. Then someone came up to us and asked if we were there to help. We both said "Yes," without thinking. He told us to go to the school where they were taking people who were now without homes. We headed over, again.....carefully making our way through the darkness and destruction.

Boyfriend and I ended up spending several hours there, talking to people, grabbing blankets and trying to reassure people that things would be okay. How do you reassure someone of that, when you yourself are not sure?

As the sun began to peak through the horizon, we were told we could leave. The light shown a sight that the darkness had hid. Andover was no longer a town. It was a pile of rubble and as rescue workers were still digging through pile after pile of bricks, mortar and glass, there was an eery early morning silence.

Boyfriend and I began the drive home. Neither of us spoke. There was simply nothing to say. What we had seen was what nightmares are made of.....but this was real. People lost homes, possessions and worst of all.....their lives. It had been a force of nature that no man could stop and at the time, the warnings of this impending storm were not sufficient.

Boyfriend and I never spoke of that night again. I never told my mom about the events of that night and only in the last few years have I really been able to think about it.

So yes, the Weather Channel has us on high alert for another possible tornado outbreak, I think of that day 25 years ago, I remember and I pray that I never see anything like that again.

Be safe!


Monday, April 25, 2016


Do you ever get inspired? No…..I mean really inspired? Inspired to the point that you want to be better, do better or make a change? These last few days, inspiration has run a muck with me. I have been inspired by several different people and believe it or not, I even inspired myself….(but that is a story for another time and another blog.)

To be quite honest, I am usually so busy that I don’t look up long enough to be inspired. That, and I don’t get out much. My life, although never without a dull moment, is usually status quo and one track and some days, I hit the floor at 6 a.m. and before I have a chance to blink, it is time for bed. There is little time for thought or inspiration on those days. But I digress…..

So my first act of inspiration happened when I talked to a couple of longtime friend a few days ago. We were discussing another person’s current needs and suddenly my friends spoke up and said, “We will help!” It was just that simple. It was followed up with them saying, “If you can help, you should help!” These people and those words inspired me more than anyone can ever know.

The conversation got me to thinking and made me realize that in most situations, there is almost always something each of us can do to help another person. We all have our own skill set and our God given abilities that we bring to the table, so why do we not use them every chance we get? Now truthfully, there are times when my only skill set or immediate ability is prayer, and sometimes…….that actually trumps everything else. However,there are those times and situations when I can speak out, call around, pass information along, write a blog or just listen…… and each of those things depending on the situation can be very important and maybe even life changing.  I know that and most of the time I do try.

So as I said, I was inspired and I told another friend about it. I said that I felt that I needed to step up my own game and do more because quite honestly…..If I can help, I should help. She took this as me counting myself short, pointing out that I do try to help. Yes, I do at times, but I know me and I know that I can do more.  Now….I am inspired to do so. So in the future, if I can, I will.

Then there was the other event. Again, longtime friends whom I haven’t sat down and actually talked to (except of course on Facebook), came and saw me today. They are both exceptional women, whom I have known for close to forty years. They actually came seeking my help for a project they are about to embark on. Sadly, my skills fell short of what they needed, but the project they shared with me, well it is brilliant and yes…..inspirational. 

It is something that made me realize just how amazing these two women are and how they can potentially inspire not only me, but women as far as the blogosphere can reach. It also made me realize that once again, I was falling short and their inspiration has made me want to once again… better.

How I am going to do better with the skills I have and the world I have been handed? I haven’t as yet completely decided, but trust me…..something is coming.

As for these two women, their project will soon be taking flight and when it does, I know you will be as inspired as I am. While I will not spoil their surprise as of yet, trust me when I say that I am already their biggest fan and you will be hearing a lot from me about them.

So yeah.....inspiration. It is everywhere if you have the time to look for it, but if you’re like me, every once in a while, it just hits you like a brick, wakes you up and starts in you a spark, that with the proper thought and dedication, may just fan into a full-fledged fire.

Stay tuned!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Christianity and Cake

My what a petty, self-indulgent country we have become. We are all about the First Amendment, only if it favors us. The rest of the world be damned. It frustrates me, especially in the world of Christianity and the gay community.

I saw two memes on Facebook today and I found them both to be relevant. One said, "If you think it's a sin....then for is probably a sin." Notice the meme said, "for you." It didn't say for the rest of the world, only you. I take this to mean that if you feel something is sinful and it falls outside of the Ten Commandments, then for you and your probably is a sin.

The other meme said, "Jesus ate regularly with thieves, whores and sinners, but you can't make a cake for someone who is gay?" Hmmmm. If we believe it is not our place to judge and only God's, maybe this holds some merit.

So now that I have people scratching their heads and wondering where I am going with this.......

There are two sides to every situation. In most cases, both sides believe the way they do for a reason and both sides should at the very least be listened to. So lets look at this. I am a Christian and I believe in the Bible and the Ten Commandments. The thing to remember though is that while the Bible is the word of God (old testament especially), it is man who is discerning the word of God. Did Jesus truly eat with with thieves, whores and sinners of all kinds but find homosexuals, to be especially heinous? As for the Ten Commandments....those were written by the finger of God and I judge my own sins by the commandments. The sins listed within them do not list homosexuality, so I don't really see being gay as a sin. I also don't really see it as being a choice. I have known way too many gay people and it really never was their choice. All of this being said, many Christians do believe that homosexuality is wrong.

I know many kind and loving Christians who feel that you love the person but hate the sin. Yes, they see homosexuality as a sin. Perhaps this perception comes from those who represent their sexuality in the face of everyone. Most of us really don't care what you do behind closed doors, but many in the gay community like to take it to the streets, half naked and throwing their sexuality in the face of all present. Of course, that is their First Amendment right under freedom of speech and as an American, I know that I would not be willing to take it away from them. If I don't like it or don't want to see it, I simply don't attend a gay pride event. I will not take their rights or their beliefs away from them just because I don't agree with how they are presenting themselves. After all....this is America....right?

So what about the Christians, who do feel that homosexuality is a sin? What about those that feel that participating in an event or supporting homosexuality in any way is a sin? We are not talking about those who belligerently demoralize, hate and harm gays. We are talking about people who love the person but see the gay lifestyle as a sin. We are talking about someone who owns a bakery, flower shop or venue and because of their beliefs and under their First Amendment right for Freedom of Religion along with the age old American tradition, that as the owner of a business you have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, declines making a cake, doing flowers or renting a room for a gay wedding or event. Should their rights and freedoms also not be respected?

The flip side to this was when a gay run bakery in California was asked to make a cake for a group that was known to be unsupportive of the gay community. The baker refused. No one lost their business or their livelihood and the bakery were touted as heroes in their community. How is this okay? How is this fair? How is this anything close to what Americans should act like?

And here is a question for you? If you went to a bakery and they did not want to make your cake for whatever reason, why would you demand they do? Why would you want to put your special day or event in the hands of someone who didn't support you? Is it at this point that it then becomes the principle of the thing? Are you demanding them to respect your right to believe as you do, but you do not respect their right to believe as they do?

Now I know many gay people who would just simply say, "You don't want to make my cake? Fine! I will go to someone who does." End of story. They don't expect everyone in the world to agree with them, like them or even accept them. They know however, that there are those that do and they will take their business and their money to them. They don't try to destroy a business, a livelihood or a family.....just because someone didn't want to make a cake. You know what this is called? Respect for others beliefs!

So many lines get crossed when people demand respect without giving it. You can't try and take peoples rights away and expect yours to continue to stay in tact. People are losing their businesses, livelihoods, reputations, etc....because we only want the First Amendment if it serves us and only those who agree with us. We are slowly imploding in on ourselves and I am not sure we are even aware of it.

In this country, you can be gay. In many states, you can be gay and get married. In this country, you can also be Christian. You can believe that being gay is a sin. In this country, you can own a business and refuse service to anyone for any reason. You can speak up about what you believe in and what you don't believe in. In this country, all Americans have the right to free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of belief. This does not mean we have to agree, but it does mean we have to respect each others rights. Individually it is fair and in a democracy with a majority vote, it is the fairest form of government. Taking rights away because we disagree leaves us all at risk.

I say if you are Christian business owner and don't believe in supporting a gay event....don't. If you are gay business owner and don't want to support and anti-gay event, by all means....don't. If you are gay and want an amazing wedding or event, then go to a business that will support you and make your event all you want it to be. If you are Christian and don't agree with gay weddings and gay events.....don't go. Both sides have the right to believe as they do and both sides should respect that. After all, it would be a shame to lose our freedoms and rights over......cake. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Beginning of the End

If you look the word "racism" up, the definition is: the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. The definition goes on to say: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race, culture, ideal or religion based on the belief that ones own is superior. by this very definition(s) who among us is NOT racist or at the very least....prejudice? Put your hand down. You are lying!

To be quite honest with you, I am really tired of hearing that because I am white....I am somehow privileged. There is absolutely nothing about my life that would lead anyone to believe that I am privileged. In fact, contrary to what you might choose to believe, I too have been on the receiving end of prejudice more times than I would like to think about. First there was that whole....being born a woman thing. Do you know in the era I was brought up, women were viewed more as possessions than people?! From our first breath outside the womb, we were taught to be housewives and mothers while our brothers were taught to go to college, get a degree and be the bread winners with the jobs and the paychecks. In fact, when I went to college back in the early 1980's, it was still widely believed that if a woman went to college, it was only to get her Mrs. degree and that for a woman to go to college, was a waste of good money.

In my family, my father still believes in the superiority of man over woman and to this day, at my age, even with all the life experience I have had and all I have done on my own since my husband died, my father still believes that I know nothing and am capable of nothing more than cooking and cleaning. I am being seen as inferior both mentally and physically because of my gender. That is prejudice in its ugliest form.

Then of course there is the whole being a Catholic thing. I don't think people truly realize the prejudice there is towards Catholics in this country. In this enlightened age where there is suppose to be tolerance and respect for all religious beliefs in this country, I have been called a heretic, told that I worship idols and have even had parents not let there kids come to my house because they didn't know what kind of "devil worship" was going on in our home. Imagine, I belong to the religion that Jesus Himself created. He in fact ordained the first Pope...St. Peter, and yet my religion has been the source of prejudice my entire life.

And how about those Irish? I am 3/4 Irish and if we are going to look at past hurts, let's look at this. When the Irish first came to this country, they were treated not much better than slaves. We were a disposable race that were given the worst and most dangerous jobs, because quite frankly.....Irish lives DID NOT matter. Add to that the fact that most Irish immigrants were Catholic, and by our very existence we had created one of the most hated races in this country. Funny how no one makes THAT relevant in 2016!

Finally, how about politics? From the moment we state our political beliefs (Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Conservative, Liberal, etc), someone out there is forming an opinion about us. If our political stance is not theirs, likely their beliefs of superiority are taking over and suddenly we somehow become less in their eyes because we do not believe as they do. You know you do this! We ALL do this! You look at that person and say to yourself, "I thought they were intelligent. How can they believe like that?" It is a judgment and quite frankly, most of the time we don't ask them how they believe like that and listen to the answer, we just mentally shut them down and put them in an imaginary box labeled "faulty." If that is not prejudice, then I don't know what is.

To be honest, every person alive has likely dealt with some form of racism or prejudice at some point in their lives whether it was the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their religion or their beliefs. More over, I would also venture to say that every person alive has also been racist and/or prejudice in their lives. Some comes from the way we were raised, some comes from ego and a majority comes from the fact that we assume things about others without knowing the facts. It is the old "Judging a book by it's cover," scenario.

While there has always been racism and prejudice in this country, there have been times when it has been especially bad. Contrary to what you might believe, as I have said, it has not always been just a black racism. There has been prejudice towards Native Americans, Irish, Asians, Christians, Non-Christians, smokers, gays, women, disabled, and the list goes on and on and on. People have been run out of towns, lost their homes, their jobs and even their lives over racism and prejudice and unfortunately instead of learning from our mistakes, we as country just keep the fire burning. Never has this been more prevalent than in the last eight years.

When Barack Obama took office, this world could have been a much different place. Instead, we ended up with a country in more racist and prejudicial turmoil than we have seen since the 1960's. The fact was that many voted for Obama because he was black, which if you think about it, was racist in itself and speaks volumes about where we as a country were at in 2008. You don't vote for someone because of the color of their skin, you vote for them because of their qualifications. In a way though, I understood the excitement of having the first black president ever. People felt it was time that a black person was president. It would finally be the key to showing the world and proving to ourselves that racism was no longer a factor in this country. I understood people voting for him because of the color of his skin. He was a dynamic speaker with a lot of charm and he was black and in this new millennium perhaps it was time. However, he was not the most qualified person for the job and at that moment in time, if we were looking at what was best for the country, his job experience did not yet give him the credentials to be our president. It was because of his background and not his skin color that I did not vote for him, but.....I had hopes that his time in office would season him and he truly might be the hope and change we were looking for. Let's face it, we were in the middle of  a very long war and we were due for something good.

After his first four years, it was evident that like many presidents before him, he had his failings. He was not as effective as people had hoped and there was change, but hope was dying out fast. Had Barack Obama been a white man, I have no doubt he would not have been re-elected in 2012. However, because he was black, he HAD to be re-elected. In fact, the cry was....if you don't vote for are racist. Hollywood elite were screaming it, democrats were screaming it and the black community was screaming it. There were people literally afraid NOT to vote for him for fear of some sort of retaliation. He was re-elected, but again it had little to do with what his qualifications. Racism began to rise like a rocket. Riots were breaking out, people were dying in the streets and it was at this time, that the man who was elected for hope and change could have done so much to unite all races and this country as a whole. Instead he chose to divide us. There was no diplomacy, no respect for humans in general, just the constant trench digging of us against them mentality. 

So today, at the end of this long eight years, we have a divide of racism and prejudice in this country that has not been seen in decades. Those who were not voting because of race in 2008 might never be persuaded to vote for a black person again. Instead of looking at each others as human beings, the color of skin is now in the forefront of everyone's minds. The black communities are angry because their anger has been stoked and fueled and words like "death to all white people, " "Black lives matter,"and sentiments of segregation are once again cultural and current topics. It is tragic and if Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, I am sure it would literally make him weep to see how his dream has turned into such a nightmare.

Has prejudice ever been non-existant in this country? Sadly no. But it was getting better. We were uniting more and more, but the last eight years have set us back to an ugly time with a resurgence of the KKK, the Black Panthers and hate in the heart of many.

Am I prejudice? I would be lying if I said I weren't. I am sure it comes out in little ways, here and there, but truthfully.....I try very hard to never judge anyone by skin color or ethnicity. Judgement is not my job. I look to peoples character; their honesty, kindness, work ethic and how they treat others. I am very prejudice towards someone who hurts their spouse, kids or animals, I have no respect for someone who can work, but refuses and instead chooses to live off the government or others. If you lie to me, I don't care who you are or what color your skin is, we will have a problem. Basically, if you are kind to me.....I will be kind to you. It is just that simple. Race is not important to me.....character is.

So my hope for 2016 and the upcoming election? I hope, no I pray, that whoever takes office be it man or woman, regardless of their skin color or ethnicity, that they are for the people. Not just the white people or the black people but ALL the people. That their goal is to unite us as a country and as a people. I want gone the slogan....."Black lives matter." I want it replaced with, "All lives matter," and with the sentiment that we are all equal under God and our flag. Is this too much to ask? Who knows, but I pray with my whole heart and soul that we come out of these last eight years, wiser and with a desire to be the wonderful country we have always been regardless of race, creed or color....otherwise....we may be looking at the beginning of the end. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Last Sunday in February

It is the last Sunday in February and according to the immediate/long term (next 15 days) forecast, winter seems to be over and spring time is well on its way. If my allergies are any indication, I would say the forecast seems correct.

So far this new year has been full and yet for some reason, I feel as if I have been standing still. Of course I haven't, although I try to be as lazy as I can every chance I get, but those times get fewer and fewer.

Mixed in with with the usual and the valiant attempts at laziness, there has also been much loss in 2016 for the world in general and also much closer to my own heart. Some have been expected and several have left a gaping hole and the ever present question.....why?! I hate loss.

Then there has been home.

Since David has done home bound school for the last few months, my house has felt small and closed in with equipment and school stuff scattered in the main living space. Add to the mix, more people than usual coming in and out, and it has been down right claustrophobic. Then in the midst of all the chaos, Z decided we needed a furniture rearrangement. He was feeling closed in too. Unfortunately, it was the wrong move at the wrong time. It just closed us in more. Don't ever let anyone tell you that your surroundings don't affect your mood. Luckily for all involved, home bound school is at its end and soon my house will no longer be doubling as a school. Even luckier is that I have worked very hard to keep my jovial persona.....even when I felt anything but jovial,

Speaking of school.....David starts back tomorrow. He will now be attending high school and my heart and head have so many mixed feelings and emotions about this move. It is what is best for him since his seizures appear to be under control and I know he is sick of seeing MOM all day everyday. We both need the break and he needs the socialization, but I have yet to even begin working through this move. It is huge in any parent/child's life, but especially so in ours. So instead of trying to put the effort into processing any of this stuff, I am rearranging furniture. There is also the loading up, cleaning out.....and of course.....blogging. That's all healthy.....right?!

Yes, my head has been full of "things" and as I sat down to write, I had no idea which of those "things" would jump to the surface and end up on the page. Lucky for you it was this. Some of the other things in my head are much darker and a lot less politically correct. So....your welcome! tomorrow starts a new normal for me, which will be interrupted by spring break and then in a blink of an eye.....summer. But for now, I am just looking towards tomorrow and the week ahead. There is much to do, much to organize and much to mentally process. My baby is in high school! It just doesn't seem possible, and yet here we are. Where has the time gone? Lord! I sound like my mother. Sigh........

Does this mean I am back to blogging? Perhaps. But just careful what you wish for, cause you just might get it! Till we meet again. Happy Sunday!