Sunday, April 23, 2017

Grateful and Thoughtful

"To live, to truly live, one must consider each and every thing a blessing."
~Kamand Kojouri

All of you who read my blog are in a lucky state to have first world problems. I've even, lately, heard complaining about what would be considered Gold Status First World Problems.

I get it. We all need our moment to complain. I am an expert at times (just ask my husband). That is usually the best moment to take a step back and count your blessings followed by investigating ways to help those less fortunate than you.

A gratitude journal is one way to continue to spin the positive in your life. Every day write down anywhere from one to one hundred ways you were thankful, happy or successful. Every day take a moment to celebrate what you have and who you are.

I saw a Word Porn today that was just a paragraph of the best things the author has in her life she can celebrate. I encourage you to do the same.

And to be fair....

My family laughing together, a great round of jumps on a horse, my cat Fred on my lap, days the dog does not pee in the house,  hugs from my kids, my husband's love, vegetables from my garden, kindergartners, the sweetness of my four hooved baby, my deck over the summer, traveling to new and familiar places, the ocean, friends, my mom and dad, music, a great book, good comedy.

A first world list. I could have said a roof, food, shoes, fresh water, education, freedom of religion or sexual preference, basic human rights.

So have your bitch sessions. We all need them for our own therapy. But recognize how lucky you are. Fight the good fight against those who deserve our voice. And if you are one of those, speak louder than anyone. Relish the wonders we have today and help, fight for, speak for, donate to those who do not deserve to be denied what we enjoy.

Be grateful, be thoughtful, be kind.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Seize the Day

"Believe it or not,  each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die."
~Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society

The clock is ticking. We have 24 hours in a day 365 days a year. For how many years none of us know. Carpe Diem right?

Last night my sweet husband told me that he wants to do that more often, seize the day. That used to be our relationship I have constant Facebook memories of our crazy long distance romance. I would travel to Amsterdam a couple of times a year. He would travel to Lancaster. And once a year we would meet somewhere, Australia and Iceland to name two.  At that time I shared custody of three kids and he had minimal expenses.

Things change.

Now married with stresses of house repairs (money pit), jobs, an aging pet and full-time parenting changes your freedom, both emotionally and financially.

But I married someone who understands that we only have 365 days a year. So let's take our daughter to see dead president's houses (she's an amazing 14-year-old) and get her to Germany this summer combined with a reunion with Amsterdam. She's a straight A student that does her own laundry, packs her own lunches, and cooks dinner once a week because she wants to. She is a way better person than I ever was (sorry mom).

We all have dreams and goals that we hope to accomplish. Our conversation motivates me to keep working on my dream of getting my book published. It motivated me to finally jump a jump that intimidated me on my young horse. I finally did it and it was beautiful. I could have done it awhile ago.

Our fears, insecurities (I suck, this sucks, I should give up, I will ruin this horse, child, career, relationship.....), often stops us from going that extra step. We don't push forward, take a leap, expose ourselves as the amazing individuals all of us are.

So this Earth Day, what are you pushing aside? What amazing talent, dream, or wish have you buried because you are afraid, insecure, or simply don't believe it's possible? What could you do to change your health, life, the world?

In the musical Hamilton, he asks, "What is a legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see."

True. But others will see.

So what will be your legacy?

"There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
~James Truslow Adams

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Celebrate Women

"Well-behaved women seldom make history."
~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

It's International Woman's Day, an event that has been around since the early 1900's. Here in the United States women were encouraged to not show up for their jobs or, if that was not an option, at least wear red in support of education and equality.

I've had some women ask what their own gender is so upset about.  It's a comment that is a true testament to the bubble many in our society have created for themselves.

Internationally we still have our world full of countries where women are treated no better than livestock  Violence and torture in some places affects the majority of the population of women. If you look up the worst places for women in the world the stories, descriptions and pure hell our sisters endure makes our woes truly seem trivial.

Then Google the best places in the world for women and the United States does not even make the top ten. The fact that women's health care and equal pay for equal work is still something we need to argue about is incredible and quite frankly ridiculous.

But even if you don't give a crap about what might be happening to those other people in other countries or you feel that every right is yours here in America, let's just discuss how much harder it is in general because we are women.

Ask a male friend the last time they felt nervous walking alone. Ask a man the last time they were catcalled, groped, or even sexually assaulted. Ask a man how often he has to go to the doctors for a list of medical issues that start when you're about 14. Ask when the last time was they had to pee on a stick and feared for a plus sign.

Ask the same number of women the same questions.

Do the math.

Celebrate, support and protect each other ladies. Be active here and around the world whenever the opportunity rises. Educate, communicate, and pop some bubbles.

"There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. there is a third power stronger than both, that of women."
~Malala Yousafzai

"A guy asked me today why we need a Women's Day. I told him it's because men took all of the others."
~Lily (my daughter)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Gone With The Wind

"Air, I should explain, becomes wind when it is agitated."
~Titus Lucretius Carus, On The Nature of Things

Love, understanding, acceptance. These are all words expressed fantastically among some in our current nation and disregarded as weakness by others.

Christians will say "love thy neighbor," and most Christians believe that ideal beyond color, race, religion or border walls. But in the midst of an administration where name-calling, exclusion, paranoia and conspiracy theories are daily news it empowers some people to dole out hatred whenever it seems fitting. They now have the presidential right to bully.

Think of it this way, if your neighbor's house is on fire, depending on the wind, your house could be next. If you are casting hate towards a group of people, a community, a society, a religion, an ethnicity, or an individual, when will the winds change?

If you've never felt the sting of gender inequality, racial inequality, or religious profiling count yourself very blessed. If you've never had a government persecute you or your family, if you've never feared for your life or personal safety, if you've never feared that something your government is doing will unnecessarily target your children,  you are one of the lucky ones. But what if the winds change?

Love thy neighbor. Try to understand their fears and concerns rather than point fingers and label and call names. Hug your children or grandchildren and hope they never face adversity due to a life choice you or others don't agree with and adamantly try to make their lives harder for it.

No country should be first. We are a global community that only survives by working together. When one of our neighbors is on fire we step up, because the winds could change.

No one racial or religious group should be first. If your friend, relative, or even acquaintance is being targeted when will your turn come around?

Can you feel the breeze yet?

"Wind does not discriminate-it touches everyone, everything. He liked that about wind."
~Lish McBride, Necromancing the Stone

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Political Victims

"Things you don't need in your life targets you the most."
~Michael Bassy Johnson, Master of Maxims

In speaking over the last few weeks with people on the other side of the political fence there is one word that comes out over and over: victim. I can't tell you how many times I've been called a victim.

In the words of Inigo Montoya, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." And if you get that reference we were made to be friends.

In one way I have been the victim. I was personally slandered on social media because I joined a post "movement" where you shared where you went to public school. But because my middle son went to private school for one year someone decided to call me a hypocrite and invite others to criticize me. Apparently, if you celebrate public schools you hate any other form of education. Similar to how celebrating Christmas means you despise all other religion's holidays. You see the logic, right?

But when I speak out about our current government or defend myself or those I love from personal attacks I am called a victim. I don't see it. Fighting back is not the way of the victim.

You see I have four groups of people in my life right now. The first are the snowflakes like me hell bent on causing some frostbite and amputating some dangerous political limbs along the way. The second are my liberal and Independent friends who see the issues but remain quiet. The third are my Republican friends who know my stance and either partially understand it or know me well enough to know that politics is not personal unless we make it so. Then there is the fourth group, who wish I was a part of the second group, who take every political news story they don't agree with and somehow get their feelings hurt. An entire group who has dismissed me as hateful.

I just went back and looked at every political item I posted (not counting those on my wall by others) and except for one where the wording was misunderstood I can't find a single time I shed hate towards my Trump supporting friends. Not one. And I BEG you to show me specifically. Please! Enlighten me so I can do and be better. I will always own when I am wrong and be the first to apologize. I am far from perfect as you all know by now.

Yet I have been called stupid and a disgusting and shameful mother for taking my daughter to a historical march. I've been told that as a liberal I wouldn't know the truth if I fell over it. I've been called weak, a snowflake, and of course, a victim. Yet if I so much as try to defend myself, DEFEND being the word, because let's face it, you can only be insulted so many times by people who claim to be your friends before you have to say something. Right?

Wrong. What I've learned is there is no arguing. There is no defending. There is no point. When you are these things in the mind of someone who has decided all they want to do is hate these things the only answer is to apologize for even trying and walk away. They call it victim. I call it rational soul saving.

I'm not sure what the next four years will hold. The extreme supporters of our leader will always be so, even if lawsuits prove true and an impeachment happens.  But I will continue to try to be thoughtful and careful about what I say, post and share. My daily alternative facts will end when the government also stops doing their own. And most of all I will try to be kind to everyone. I have too often lately felt the hate so deeply I could barely function.

And apparently, I deserved it. Yet still, no one can show me how.

I'm waiting with an open mind and a willingness to change if needed.

Snowflake out.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The New Normal

"Talk less. Smile more. Don't let them know what you're against and what you're for."
~Aaron Burr, Hamilton the Musical

Sit down and shut up was the message sent loud and clear this past week to Elizabeth Warren from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. She wanted to read a letter written by Coretta Scott King 30 years ago in opposition to the appointment of Jeff Sessions to a Federal judgeship due to what King indicated was an abuse of power to hinder civil voting rights.

Make America Great Again: Now Sit Down and Shut Up.

This past week I've had some eye-opening conversations with some that still support this administration.  One friend pointed out that no one was as hard on Obama.

That's where I scratch my head and have to take a pause. People can look at this presidency as normal?

The president who this week stated in a speech that no one is smarter than he is.

The president who picks fights with our closest allies and offers the equivalent to political sexual favors to horrible dictators.

A man who Tweets insults to Federal Judges, telling the American people to blame them if bad things happen.

A man who Tweets insults to anyone who speaks out against him unless they work in the White House, then he just fires them.

A man who goes on national television and defends a leader who simply kills anyone who opposes him as not so different from us.

A man who tried to ban Muslims from seven countries, none of which has supplied us a terror attack, yet excluded the countries he holds businesses.

A man who claims millions voted for Clinton illegally and his inauguration was record breaking with not a shred of evidence on either claim.

A man who daily does something that makes most Americans face-palm, always showing he cares more about the size and importance of whatever he is doing or saying than what is truly relevant to our country.

This is just a sample. The list is staggering.

While the emperor finds his robe the helper trolls are there to make up fake massacres, use alternative facts, promote family businesses, reject the word "ban" after the president says it, and basically try to dance around every detail that makes this person seem not normal. Truly, Conway and Spicer should both automatically win the next Dancing With The Stars. Conway can take a question about why the president has not mentioned the white Trump supporter who committed the mosque shooting in Quebec and turn it into a list of Muslim terrorist attacks that happened in her alternative reality.

Give him a chance. That's what we are told. Give him a chance as he fills his administration with documented racists, homophobes or simply unqualified millionaires. Just wait. Because targeting an entire religion, insulting an entire ethnicity, turning our backs on people in desperate need of refuge, denying our environmental issues, and basically, systematically pushing to take away numerous human rights is nothing to be concerned about. Give him a chance as he goes against the Constitution continually, with his personal goals.

I believe his constitution has one line: The president can do whatever he wants as long as everyone else just sits down and shuts up.

I've had presidents I was not a fan of in my life. I thought Goerge W. was a bit of a flake and Bill Clinton wasn't my choice at the time. But I never feared them. This administration is terrifying. And people all over the country and the world continue to raise their voices for and with those who need it.

One person I know questioned why someone would protest things that don't apply to them. Because that's what you do when you look at your friend, your neighbor, your family member or even a society you have never met but see the violations and know in your foundation you cannot just smile more and talk less to please those who don't understand.

If every white person during Dr. King's civil rights movement decided it wasn't their fight because it didn't affect them it would have been a much longer fight.

So by all means, support this president. But if any of this is news to you, can I challenge you to find a different news source for a few days? Those rogue stations like NBC, CBS or ABC. There might be a good reason your station is named after an animal that is usually synonymous with being untrustworthy.

"She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."
~Mitch McConnell, a.k.a The Turtle

Sunday, January 29, 2017

One March, Two March, Red March, Blue March

"Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid."
~Hamilton the Musical, George Washington

So my daughter and I went to a little march in Washington and many I know are sick of hearing about it. Certain news coverage of obscene costumes (saw only one, in the many thousands of people I encountered) and litter (the signs were left strategically, and I only saw overflowing trash cans with items neatly stacked next to them because let's face it, women clean shit up) trying to overshadow the historic and world recognized causes. Somehow millions of people worldwide, raising a voice, hurt a lot of people's feelings.

And now we are seeing a march a day, at the least. People standing up for human rights all over the country. Marches planned, movements organized, concerts, mailing agendas and newly created small groups all devoted to making noise, being heard, and not "giving away our shot."

You see, my favorite memory of the march was coming across a family who had traveled from Alaska. They included a nine-year-old girl, her mother, her mother's parents and a great-grandmother, speaking with women from Chicago about the lyrics to a Hamilton song. The girl had been trying to learn the Lafayette rap and the Chicago women admitted they couldn't do it. I chimed in that my daughter could do it. With a look of "WTF MOM!" I asked her what better thing did she have to do at the moment? She broke out in perfect cadence with a Chicago woman doing the side comments in the song. I would have whipped out my phone but she would have shut down immediately. I could not have been prouder.

So now in my car, I'm listening to Hamilton and wishing that was the only politics I need to worry about. But it's not, and it can't be.

This has not been easy for so many people. So many insulted and called names for coming out to say that this administration does not speak for them. We don't want a wall. We don't want a ban on people who desperately need our help. We worry about an administration that thinks they can control women's rights and possibly control human rights. I've been labeled a bleeding heart liberal, a victim and in need of therapy because I can't sit down and shut up.

Don't get me wrong. I ran into a friend today at the grocery store who voted for Trump, and all she had for me was love and interest about Lily and my experience at the march. Curious questions about an event she would never attend but questions with an intellectual and compassionate curiosity about such a historical occurence. I often have these experiences. That is where we meet. Rather than label marchers with ugliness or lump Trump supporters in with the KKK, we recognize the humanness of each other and the broad range of concerns.

So if you feel like you have a friend who has changed and you don't understand, maybe look at it another way. They probably are the same person that they have always been. They just never had the need to speak out until now.

If that doesn't work, and friends and family can't make some sort of peace, then we bleeding-heart liberals will be getting our therapy and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack for the next four years while not so quietly fighting for human rights.  Now if I could just afford the tickets.

March on my friends.

"I don't wanna fight, but I won't apologize for doin' what's right."
~Hamilton the Musical, Alexander Hamilton