Wednesday, August 8, 2018

It's Just Science

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
~Neil deGrasse Tyson

Science, a field of study based on facts, proof, evidence, questions and problems that someone painstakingly tries to answer. There is no guessing or fudging of data. Science must be true to the highest degree for it to be accepted as valid to the scientific community.

So what puzzles me is climate change deniers. 99.9% of scientist agree that climate change is real (I'm guessing that the .1% was a scientist from Trump University). Our current government is trying to block everything past administrations have put in place to save our planet from a slow and devastating end just so they can continue to please the deep pockets that fund them.

The scary thing is that people will believe the stories of politicians or sensationalists like Alex Jones or Fox and Friends over the words of astounding scientists because it fits better into their "reality."

So when people ask me why I'm going back to school my reason is simple; I can't change the lack of concern in our country for our global issues in my generation. I can, however, help a future generation see the world as a global community that needs to care about the small ball of gas we are riding on.

As much as the red hat wearers like to scream "America First" there has to be a global community working together to keep our planet from deteriorating, killing whole species of animals and creating devastating weather patterns that we have already begun to see. A large group of regular Americans who swallow the anti-climate rhetoric has never even been out of the United States, and some not even out of their home state.  How can they be expected to think globally if all they know is within a drivable radius?

My encouragement to you is, if you have or work with children, encourage them to see the world. Meet people from everywhere and have conversations. Learn that we are not the center of the universe or the "best country ever" but just one of a multitude of cultures, languages, ideas, beliefs, and ways of life. Only with a global mindset can we truly be great.

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special."
~Stephen Hawking

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Natural Disasters

your body
is a museum
of natural disasters
can you grasp how
stunning that is
~rupi kaur, milk and honey

We are all made up of our own personal natural disasters. Illness, loss, heartbreak, insult, and injuries shape who we are and often define our changing moments. I find this when I have truly open conversations with my friends. The list of disasters they are fighting often feels crushing and too destructive to survive.

Marital problems, financial worries, job stress, life-altering illness, parenting struggles with either your own children or with aging parents are just a small sample of the things that plague us.  When people ask "what's new?'" and I can answer "nothing, really" I am thankful. We can't get to our mid-lives without always knowing that the calm waters we are sailing can turn dangerous or even deadly at any time.

Of course, we also have our country in such disarray. Our government overturning so many things that protected our environment, animals, health care for children, LGBTQ rights, criminalization of people seeking asylum and most horrifically the separating of babies from their parents. Every day we wake up and wonder how it could possibly get more unbelievable and it inevitably does.

We watch in astonishment as racism has discovered a new sense of entitlement, released from its need for sheets to cover faces and replaced by a new breed of evil. How do we keep a positive outlook that our society will survive?

There was an older woman that used to take music lessons after my son and we would chat before she left. She marched in the Woman's March and was completely active in voicing her concerns to her government officials. Until it finally broke her. She became tired and sad. She gave up. She packed up and moved to Europe.

Some reading this will say, "Good! Don't let the stars and stripes hit you on the way out." Others will sigh, take a breath, and wish her well on her journey, hoping she finds some peace.

And the difference in those reactions is why so many are so hurt.  We deal with the disasters inside our bubbles, inside our communities, and inside our world. Yet every day we have to hold on to hope, move to make a difference, help a friend, mourn a loss, medicate our shattered souls so that we can get on to the next beautiful day or devastating storm intact.

My only advice is to find as many ship-mates you can that help to guide you, move you forward, rather than drill holes in your boat. Disasters will never disappear.  How you handle them is the key to surviving with grace.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain."
~Vivian Greene

Monday, July 2, 2018

Wishes and Dreams

"If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in!
Come in!
~Shel Silverstein

If there is one thing that all people have in common it's wishes and dreams. From the time we are small, we learn to wish on a star, a wishbone, a dandelion blowing white wish seeds through the air.

We look for four-leaf clovers and beware of superstitions. We spend our time comparing ourselves with others and wishing to be as thin as her, as successful as him, as funny as she is, as good looking as he is. We judge how we parent, work, socialize, exist compared to everyone around us and always feel we are coming up short.  We never stop to realize that what we are comparing to is a flax-golden tale.

I wished to get out of a bad marriage, often crying alone in my car or shower, wishing he would see how dysfunctional our lives were and let me go. That never happened so I had to finally make it so.

I wished for a daughter, trying everything I could stand after Ethan was born to be able to have another child. When that didn't work I had to make it so.

So many times in my life I've wished for things, wasting time not putting in the effort to actually make it happen. Some won't agree with this but I don't believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe our lives are made up of random and choice occurrences. Some we will have no control over and others are all about our own doing.

So in this age of renewed acceptance of bigotry and ignorance in our country, I've decided to stop wishing for a better purpose and learn. I'm going to graduate school to become a better, more educated and thoughtful person, and to possibly help to create better, more thoughtful people. It's not easy with a dusty brain but it's interesting, exciting and new, and so far, besides often feeling like a deer facing a 14-wheeler, I've done okay. I've watched a few amazing friends my age get their masters or doctorate and they have inspired me forward.

It's never too late to make a dream come true. It may not be easy. In fact, usually dreams take sacrifice. But if that dream requires you to learn, grow, change for the better... what is stopping you?

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
~Dr. Suess, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Old Friends

"Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting."
~J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

This last week I buried a friend. A friend that I wish I had reached out to more because she was such a purely golden soul. I never remember once during our childhood being in any way out of sorts with her. In fact, she was someone with which I shared my most precious secrets. I always knew they were sacred and protected. I always knew that above everything else, she was my friend.

As a mid-life adult I look back on my life and of course, there are so many mistakes and regrets. Not keeping up with many of my childhood friends is a major one. Being so wrapped up in my own drama and distancing myself was a huge mistake.

Last week, as I stood in a kitchen containing almost everyone that holds a place in my heart and my memory from such an important time, I was overwhelmed that it took a devastating, gut-wrenching, incomprehensible death to bring us together again.

So we drank, laughed. shared, cried, and exposed ourselves to each other as great as any Breakfast Club ending can withstand. We were back in high school and not. But we were in so many ways the same.

I would say we reconnected but I don't think that is correct for those that have shared the most formidable time of life. There is never a need to reconnect because that connection is already there. You can always pick up where you left off. It just happens.

McCaskey was our meeting ground, our church, our family. It will forever be so. Our memories are so connected we have to stay connected because of them.

So I buried one of my first and best of friends. When I was severely depressed to the point of no return she was one of a few who saved me. I never truly thanked her for that.

But I don't think she needed thanks. I think she just did it because she was made to always be that light for others. She was always that comfort,

She was light, love, and laughter. And she found her equal in an amazing husband who will forever share her legacy with her children and their children. She will never be forgotten.

"Remeber me and smile, for it is better to forget than to remember me and cry."
~Dr. Suess

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Here's Your Sign

"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish."
~Euripides, The Bach

I had a wonderful night recently with some like-minded friends sharing our stories about, well, dealing with the mentally challenged. I don't mean those with legitimate handicaps, I mean those that can't seem to grasp even a thread of rational reason.

A few examples? I have tons!

I recently stated a fact to someone, and for those who need it explained, a fact is something we know to be true so the opposite of an alternative fact. Because that fact was displeasing it was seen as an attack. Because if facts don't fit into a certain reality how can they be true? Think climate change as an example.

I knew someone who publically claimed that all liberals are idiots. When I suggested that was extreme I was told that it didn't apply to me as I'm not an idiot. I explained that by that person's definition I must be. The logic presented did not compute. In fact, it was seen as an attack. (Yet somehow I am the snowflake.)

Last year when people were disgusted at the appointment of Devos a trend went through social media celebrating if you were a product of public schools. I joined the event as I went through Lancaster School District. I was quickly slammed by a few because my middle son went to private school for one year. Somehow sending my son to try something different totally eradicates my history with being, myself, a product of public schools. You can clearly see the logic, right?

I have many other examples but this is a blog, not a novel. These examples go with the same folks that criticize Obama for not doing more after 9/11, thinking the Parkland students are hired actors and it must be some kind of conspiracy that the shooter chose an entire acting school or that it seems absolutely plausible to pay off a porn star that you never slept with. So just a special group of, well, special.

So, in summary, I think if there is one thing we have learned during this administration is choose wisely when and where you decide to confront topics. Is that person capable of rational thought? I've had some great debates with people on both sides of the proverbial wall. I have friends that are way smarter than me who disagree with me politically. I am in no way lumping any of you in this group. The above examples are the head-slapping, WTF moments when you know logic receptors are faulty and the best thing to do is back away slowly, not making eye contact, and hope they get distracted easily. Maybe yell, "Look, it's Hilary Clinton with a bunch of emails!"

And if you see this as an attack, well...

"Here's your sign."
~Bill Engvall

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe."
~Albert Einstein

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Kids These Days

"And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations.
They are quite aware of what they are going through.
~David Bowie

Like many of you, I've seen countless interviews with the Parkland students organizing themselves to stand up to our government demanding change. I'm impressed with their passion, knowledge, and commitment despite the attacks thrown at them by backward and unbelievably small-minded adults.

They are called "stupid kids" who couldn't possibly have their own thoughts and ideas. Those who wish to silence them claim they must be coached by parents. They don't take a moment to actually think about what they went through, survived, and have since processed into a movement.

Gun owners who are easily moved to fear believe these kids are pushing to take away all of their rights to ownership. They watch the entertainment programs on Fox (yes, Fox News is under the guidelines of entertainment, not news) and believe the hype.

Yet there is a large community of thoughtful gun owners who understand that it shouldn't be more difficult to buy cold medicine than to buy a gun. If you are a law-abiding person a stricter process and longer waiting period shouldn't bother you.

I work in a public school. To have that job I had to have four different clearances completed. I didn't mind because I have nothing on my record and I appreciate that we don't want just anyone in charge of our children. That same reasoning should apply to gun ownership.

The people who like to throw comparisons out such as we should also ban __________(insert thing) since they can also be used as a weapon are just those over-reactors who have no idea what the discussion is really about. Rather than take an intelligent look at how stricter gun control could be a benefit they go immediately on the attack, usually with little knowledge in their arguments.

And even though I do absolutely think we need better mental health care in our country that is also just a diversion tactic by many in the Trump/Fox/Breitbart camp.

This administration has unlocked an ugly underbelly of our society who have somehow been granted permission to be racists, hateful, and violent. They have heard loud and clear that minorities are not to be trusted and yet all of the truly horrible violence this year has been accomplished by white males.

So the kids are asking for help. And if we have to look for a bright spot in this horribly destructive administration than the unity and strength for important causes such as this is blinding. This generation is awake, aware, and pissed.

Ah, kids these days...

"What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?"
~John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

"If one man can destroy everything, why can't one girl change it?"
~Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Speak Now!

Speak Now!

Our children are dying.
The parents are crying.
Yet the money flows
for buying and lying.

They cast blame with ease.
It was the disease.
Mental health is the problem.
Not our weapons, please.

"The Feds dropped the ball.
Friends and neighbors all saw
the signs of his rage
would make children fall."

Anywhere they can find
to shift focus behind
anything but those
trying to keep us blind.

"Our guns, our right,"
they chant in spite
of the blood and the bodies
displayed in plain sight.

They want us to fear
those not born here,
but look in their faces,
the villains are clear.

Make America great
by spreading the hate,
by ignoring the issues
and deaths they create.

Watch mothers destroyed,
overwhelmed by the void,
by the grief and the anger
such hate has deployed.

It is no longer strange,
this deadly exchange
of another mass shooting.
How can it change?

We have to fight!
Protest and write!
Tell them we will
not lose sight of what's right.

When will our country,
in all of it's "glory,"
protect our children?
Create a new story!

"Now is not the time,"
the puppets chime.
Let's wait until
another deadly crime.

Speak now!
Demand now!
Make it clear that deaths
we will not allow.

Speak now!