I Wonder: Is Life Still Precious?

With the things I keep seeing in the news and reading about online, I wonder and ask myself, do we think that life is still precious? Do we value one another as I was taught to do? Many people do but some sadly don’t. That truly makes me want to cry and ask a lot of questions to understand how little our lives seem to matter.

I recently heard a story that an NFL player received a death threat for kneeling during the National Anthem. That shocked and saddened me that someone thought so little of that man’s life. You may disagree strongly and think it is wrong, but to threaten to kill someone over it?!  That seems extreme to me.

Then the shooting in Las Vegas shocked me as I woke up on our son’s birthday. The numbers of dead and wounded were bad enough that morning. But today, I heard that 59 people were killed and 527 people were injured. Heartbreaking and hard to fathom.

I cried since Las Vegas was an important and valuable city in my family’s life. That place means a lot to me and I am devastated. It is a great city with terrific people and many great venues of entertainment. This tragedy occurred when people were out on a lovely evening enjoying a concert and should have been safe.

The weapon used in this shooting seems to be designed for nothing but killing. The shooter took a piece purchased separately and added it to the gun to have the ability to shoot more rounds of ammunition. Why? Seems he was hell-bent on as much destruction as possible.

Sadly he succeeded. I heard there were 200 rounds of bullets in 4 minutes. That is an average of 50 bullets per minute shot into a crowd of tightly packed people listening to artists who they love. What else was there to happen but multiple and senseless deaths and many with life-threatening injuries?

In my opinion, this man didn’t value the life of any of these victims. How could he when he plotted to harm so many? What happened to have him think this way? What happened to him to then take action and carry it out? And what can we do to ensure this never, ever happens again?

I don’t understand why these weapons are legal. I have family members and friends who own rifles, revolvers, shotguns, etc. and are strong supporters of the 2nd Amendment. While I may not see eye to eye with them, I respect the right to bear arms. However, this weapon of mass destruction in my opinion is an entirely different beast and matter.

I want to know why anyone other than the military or police officers has access to them. It makes no sense to me at all. The two pieces of his weapon cannot be bought legally together but can separately. Why is that okay? I don’t get it.

The founders of our country and the writers of the Constitution had very different weapons and guns than we do today. Think about it, they had gunpowder and each round took quite a while to load. They also had cannons and other weapons that were equally as slow. Now we have 50 shots per minute. Chilling and in my opinion should give us all pause.

If we truly value life, let’s do more to protect it than just during growth in the womb.  Let’s help so that each child can then grow up and have a long and productive life. Let’s ensure safety for all people throughout their lives.  Let’s teach our young people to be careful and respectful of their bodies and each other. Let’s ensure we all can afford medical care for both children and adults with brain cancer, leukemia, the common cold and flu, and any other disease or ailment.

Let’s protect and assist the teenager who is being bullied. Let’s help the pregnant teenager by loving her and being there for her, rather than kicking her out of school or church.  Let’s assist those who lose everything in a fire, a hurricane, an earthquake, a mudslide, a flood, a natural disaster or an accident instead of causing them more harm. Let’s protect the elderly in nursing homes from items that can harm them.

Let’s show compassion, kindness, love, respect, consideration, and love.  Let’s encourage safe remedies when we are frustrated, when we feel at the end of the rope. Let’s reach out to our loved ones before and while they are in peril. Let’s help each other so our loved ones don’t feel as if they have no choice but to do something bad and harmful.

Let’s work to keep people away from opioid drugs. They are destructive and harmful and anyone can become addicted. Let’s encourage discussion with others and listen to those we don’t agree with. Let’s stop slamming and harming others and talking about them with so much hate and malice.

Let’s consider each other and take care of each other. Let’s love as Christ taught us to – fully and without condition or anything in return. Let’s remember that each and every life is precious, is valuable, is worthy of love and help when needed, and is worthy of respect.

Let’s be the people who our children can look up to and learn from. Let’s not be the warnings to them of how not to act. Let’s live in the best way for ourselves, our families, our friends, and strangers and those who we meet. After all, each of us has something we are struggling with, so let’s also remember to be kind and to always, always love.

Advertisements

September — What a Month!

Hi and Happy last Monday of the month.  How did that happen?  How have I not written but one other time this month?  Why has the time been flying so fast?  We have been super busy with homework, PTO activities, family business, a business trip, writing a story, and much more.

We have been making some great memories and going about the business of living, but I keep forgetting to log onto this site and write.  And, I miss that.  I am going to do my best to write more frequently in the future, but realize that things may come up again.

We watched several Star Wars movies this month and that was fun.  Although a quote in the movie when Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side of the force gave me chills. “If you are not with me, you are my enemy,” he says.  We stopped the movie to discuss this with Ian and are glad that we did.

We are thankful that he is learning that disagreements and different opinions are okay.  And, that we are to respect others as they should respect us.  Also he is learning how to treat others, to have compassion, to be caring and kind, and to love.

As with most children, he hasn’t learned to hate others or to mistrust them because they are different.  We are doing all that we can to help that from ever happening.  Listening to his insights, his opinions, and how he feels about issues has been a real blessing this month.  Our almost 10-year-old is developing into a lovely young man.

Also we have been concerned and worried about our loved ones and those we don’t know who have been affected by the recent hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires.  So much going on in nature and with catastrophes that we cannot believe keep happening.

We have heard a lot about climate change both that it exists and that it doesn’t.  No matter which way you believe, I hope that we can all become better stewards for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, strangers, and our planet.  The fact that more devastating storms keep occurring should give us pause to think if things can be done better.

In the last month, we have seen the best in people and we have seen the worst.  We have seen people reach out to help strangers.  We have seen people walk through standing water to save others from their home.  We have been brought together by common problems and have realized that we are in this together.

We have also seen people stealing from those who lost so much.  We have seen threats of violence and harm to others, we have seen hate, we have seen violence, and we have seen the worst in humanity.  All of this saddens me greatly.

We have talked a lot with Ian about these two extremes.  We have talked about how wrong it is to harm and bully others, how important it is to show kindness, caring and love to everyone he meets.  We have talked about so many things with him and he has been listening, asking questions, and sharing his thoughts.  It has been an amazing blessing.

We continue to talk about the fact that just because someone in leadership tells him how to think that he has to believe it and go along with it.  He doesn’t.  There is entirely too much of that going on these days.  We instead want him to think, mull it over, ask questions, and then decide if he agrees or doesn’t.  We live in the land of freedoms to think and believe as we see fit.

Recently I have been wearing a button that says “Think.”  I want to spread the message that we should each use our own brains to think, to reason, and to decide what we believe.  We should research, pray, read, and discover why we believe what we do.  We should not be treated like cattle with no brain of our own or no way to reason for ourselves.

My prayer is that we remember to show compassion for others, to realize we all have struggles that we are dealing with, that we all have feelings that can be crushed or supported and, that we are all of value and worth knowing.  And, to remember to always, always, always love.

Amazing Love in Action

I don’t know about you but Hurricane Harvey has shocked me with its incredible strength and size, the rain that never seems to end, and the extreme and dangerous flooding.  On the other hand, it has brought people together and reminded us how important and precious each and every life truly is.  And that to me is the silver lining.

The acts of love and kindness in recent days have been amazing to watch.  People stepping up to help total strangers who are in desperate need.  People taking in strangers who have no safe place to go.  People having others ride in their boats to higher ground and safety.  People demonstrating love and compassion in action.

Not only are the first responders and those trained for disasters going above and beyond, many citizens are as well.  People are volunteering at shelters and encouraging each other through songs and prayers.  Others are bringing clothing, diapers, and water to help those who arrive at the shelters with only what they could carry.

I have cried both sad tears and happy tears.  A few weeks ago, we seemed more divided than ever.  Now, we see people helping each other because they can and want to make a difference.  Little things, gestures, and donations are adding up to big things that truly help a lot of people.  We seem to have found compassion again.

By and large, we are people who truly do care for each other.  Most of us do what we can to help our fellow men and women.  It boggles my mind to think of what so many are now dealing with since their entire homes and towns have been under water.  Or loved ones have died, pets were lost or were abandoned, and so much more.  And some have had happy reunions.

A few things I don’t like through all of this are the scammers, the looters, and those who take advantage of these people.  Also, the judgement and criticism being given out doesn’t help matters.  May we focus on what is being done to help these people, give what and how we can, and be thankful that so many are helping.

And, let’s make it about the victims and those whose lives have forever changed.  They are who matter now.  They are who we are pulling together for and donating our money and our time to help. They are the ones who are suffering and in need of assistance.  They are the ones who will eventually rebuild and start over.

My prayer is that we can pull together and help each other during more than just times of disaster and crisis.  We can reach out and lend a helping hand through these difficult times and afterwards as well.  That is my hope.  After all, we are more alike than not, and we are all in this together.  May God Bless you and your family. (photo in clip art from Power Point.)

Remembering To Think

I was cleaning out a bag a few days ago and came across a pin that I had forgotten about.  It says, “Think.”  Great, right?  Simple, to the point, and something that is easy to do.  Or at least it should be.

I got that pin at a convention and was thrilled when I did.  I used to wear a variety of them back years ago. These were popular when I was in high school and college — to wear favorite bands, sayings, and pictures.  I have seen many people over the years wear favorite pins.

After finding this word, I started to wonder how many people these days think before they speak, before they act, or before they interact with others.  Many seem to react without thinking and that gives me some concern.  I want us to think first and then take action.  I just hope that we can work on that.

Merriam Webster has several definitions for the verb think:

  • To form or have in mind
  • To have as an intention
  • To have as an opinion
  • To reflect on
  • To call to mind
  • To have as an expectation
  • To center one’s thoughts on

A lot of definitions for this small word.  It is small and mighty, isn’t it? My husband and I are trying to teach these concepts to Ian.  He has time to play, read, talk with friends, and to think about what he sees, reads, and hears.  We encourage him to ask questions and discuss things with us.

Remember the movie “Dead Poet’s Society”?  This was a great story of a teacher trying to help young men think for themselves.  The administration of the school and many parents didn’t want that, but the boys learned how important it was.

Also, in “Mona Lisa Smile,” students at a women-only college had an art teacher who came in and tried to teach them to think out of the box and to think beyond what was expected of them.  She too faced problems from the school and the parents.

Interesting.  Do we not want our young people to think?  Do we not want to help teach them what is right, what is wrong, and then for them to decide for themselves how to act?  Each thing we say and do has a consequence, whether good and bad.  As a parent, I feel it is my place, job and responsibility to help our son understand that and think about what he is doing and saying.

And as he is growing up, I want him to learn to think while I am there to answer questions, talk with him about his choices, and be a role model of how to act and behave.  I make lots of mistakes and that is okay.  I want him to know that as well.  I want him to not only learn from adults who are good role models but also those who are showing how not to behave or speak.

A few things I want for adults and our children:

  • Let’s think before we speak.
  • Let’s think of others and their feelings
  • Let’s think for ourselves
  • Let’s think when someone tells us something that we don’t believe is right
  • Let’s investigate these things
  • Let’s encourage our young people to think and find their own path in life
  • Let’s be there to support them as they do so
  • Let’s know and remember that not agreeing with someone does not make them an enemy
  • Let’s try to learn from others instead of tearing them down
  • Let’s not bully one another but instead practice kindness
  • Let’s stand up for what we believe but not attack or cause harm to others
  • Let’s practice love

A few quotes about thinking:

  • “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” — Albert Einstein
  • “Most of the problems in life are because of two reasons: we act without thinking or we keep thinking without acting.” — Unknown
  • “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” — Henry Ford
  • “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.” — Carl Sagan
  • “Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.” — Plato

I have always liked Winnie The Pooh.  This sweet clip art picture from Power Point shows him thinking.  He seems to put all of his energy into it, doesn’t he?  I only hope that we too can think before we speak and act.  And that we can decide what we think and why.

What do you think?  I would love some comments.  God Bless and have a great day!

Love Not Hate

I have had so many emotions over the past few days — sadness, anger, hope, despair, fear, love, disgust, shock, and concern, but not hate.  I thank the Lord above and my parents who helped me know that hate is wrong and will not help.

If there is anything I hate, it is bigotry, racism, violence, abuse, harm to others, and hate of others.  I have learned though that hating these things cannot change them.  Instead action has to be taken to stand up against them, lessons have to be taught to others, ignorance must be removed with knowledge, and love has to be shown, given, and demonstrated.

Hate is a cancer that divides and conquers.  Hate seeps into everything we are and what we do if we let it.  So, I have tried my best not to hate.  For years I thought that hating someone or something was too strong an emotion to have.  I just didn’t think I could give that much energy to anything.

I have disliked things very strongly, have been furiously angry, and sometimes indifferent, but have tried to catch myself from slipping into hate.  It hasn’t always worked since I am human and have many flaws.  But I then worked hard to change my thinking, my attitude, and my heart.

I have prayed a lot during those times for the Lord to help me and show me that as Dr. King so wisely said, only love can remove hate.  And I have been praying in recent days.  And weeping, and struggling, and worrying.  And, I have been encouraged that Ian loves people of all kinds and he knows that the hate is wrong.

What saddens me is how quickly and easily so many people hate.  It seems to even be a badge of honor to some.  And, as I said in my last blog, I just don’t get that.  I don’t understand living a life when that is at the forefront of thoughts, actions, and activities.  I don’t understand hating someone who is different.  And frankly, I am thankful that I don’t.

I also want people to realize how wrong what is being done is.  There is such a long history of violence, brutality, and hate in our country and others in the world.  I want us to move on from that, learn from our mistakes, and not repeat them.  I want to remember where we came from and not go back.  We have made progress but there is still such a long way to go.

I am trying to do my part to stand up against the hate, the violence, the brutality, the ignorance, and the intolerance.  I am trying to instead encourage love, peace, knowledge, and respect.  I want us to talk with those who are different than we are.  I want us to do so without malice and preconceived notions.

This is a lot to ask, isn’t it?  After all, there is such deep-seeded feeling with these issues.  I for one think we can and must do better — for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, and future generations.  I am hopeful yet skeptical and concerned.  I want us to move past the way it’s always been and try to improve and be kinder and gentler people.

My prayer and hope is that we can begin to heal and work on closing this divide that seems to keep growing.  Will you join me in choosing love not hate?  Will you join me in making a better world for our young people?  Will you join me in helping not harming?

Only Love Can Drive Out Hate

You’ve got to be taught To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
 
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
 

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, Before you are six or seven or eight, To hate all the people your relatives hate, You’ve got to be carefully taught!

This song is from “South Pacific” and I have been thinking about it a lot this weekend.  Aren’t the words amazing?  They often give me chills since they are so insightful of how many people feel.  Whether someone is taught to feel a certain way, grows up hearing how awful others are, learns on their own, or decides to hate, it is still wrong and needs to stop.

Those who don’t hate must stand up against it.  Instead of hate, we must show love and that all of us are special, all of us are worthy of love, and all of us matter.  After the shock of this homegrown terrorism and hate, I am trying to make some sense of it.  And, I can’t.  I don’t understand wanting to beat up or kill someone who thinks differently than I do.  Or looks different than I do.

Instead, I want to chat with different people and find out about them, their interests, their loves, their struggles, and what means something to them.  I want to show love and kindness instead of the hate and violence that we saw this weekend.  And so does Ian.  Above he is pictured with one of his dear friends.  We were being arty with the photo.

The people behind the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence are involved in groups that have been around for years and have spread hate and racism for far too long.  The KKK’s mission is to harm, beat, intimidate, scare, terrify, lynch, and kill African-Americans.  The Nazis wanted to annihilate all Jews and make them cease to exist. They tortured them, tore them from their families, made them starve, destroyed their homes, property and livelihood, and gassed them to death.

And yet people still want to be involved in these groups?  They want to belong, and carry out the mission to bring harm to others, just because?  What the?  I am sickened and saddened to think of all of the people who have been harmed and killed by such evil.  I am touched that so many fought and died to make changes and try to stop these acts.  I am saddened that people feel that these are still good groups to join.

I just don’t get it.  I truly cannot relate to this level of hatred toward one’s fellow man.  After all, we are all human, all created equal, and all equally loved by our creator.  So, how is this hate possible?  How can someone loathe others so deeply and so violently?  How can people cause such harm, suffering, and loss to others?

Thankfully, I was taught the value of everyone and had friends of different shades, different races, and different religions.  I learned from them and loved them.  And, I am thankful that Ian’s friends are all colors of the rainbow.  He likes them for their personalities and that he has fun with them not anything external about them.

The title of this blog is in reference to a quote by the amazing civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only love can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Dr. King knew that demonstrations could and should be done, but in a peaceful manner without harm to others.  He spoke many times of dreams and hopes for the future.  He spoke of love, caring, and compassion and knew that hate wouldn’t get us where we need to be.

The full quote by Dr. King is “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.  Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.  Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

My hope and prayer is that we can come together at this difficult time of our country and stand together.  That we can realize we have more in common than not.  That we are all colors of a lovely rainbow.  That we can learn from different faiths and different ways of life.  That we can love and not hate.  That we can have peace and not violence or war.

People and Memoirs Fascinate Me

Over the last few years, I have been reading a variety of memoirs.  I have learned about some fascinating people — Dick Van Dyke, Lisa Welchel, Sir Elton John, Robin Roberts, Lauren Graham, Trevor Noah, Alan Cumming, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, and a biography about Dean Martin written by his daughter.

I am looking forward to a few more that I will be reading soon.  I have two books that Robert Wagner has written and a memoir by Ricky Martin.  I also want to read one about Amy Silverstein and her recent battle with cancer. I will have to buy that one.

All of these people I have enjoyed and have been entertained by. They all meant something to me and I watched them or listened to them growing up or more recently have found out about them. I liked learning about the real person behind the public persona.

Each book was unique, as is each person.  Each one had a slightly different take on life and what was discussed.  Some were funny, some were inspiring, and some were sad.  I laughed, I cried, and through each, I have learned more about people.

People do intrigue and fascinate me.  I enjoy learning what makes them tick, what they are passionate about, where they come from, what they believe, and about their childhood and own family life. I like hearing how others deal with life’s ups and downs, and joys and sorrows.

Here are a few thoughts on everyone who I have mentioned.

  • Dick Van Dyke — So funny and so positive.  I smiled while reading this book and have always liked him.  From Mary Poppins to Diagnosis Murder, and many other projects, I have enjoyed watching him sing, dance, and act. He makes me happy.  I hope that when I grow up, I can have as positive an outlook on life as his is.
  • Lisa Welchel — I loved her as Blair on the Facts of Life.  She was great at that part and I enjoyed the entire run of the show.  Finding out about her own family and her Christianity was interesting and full of fun stories and her memories.  I like that she is still acting and enjoyed a recent Hallmark movie that she starred in with Kim Fields.
  • Elton John — Love his music and his generosity and all he has done for the fight against AIDS and HIV.  It was a real and very ugly battle and I thank people like Sir Elton John for helping those suffering from it and their families and friends.  His friendship with Ryan White was very touching.  Honestly, I cried several times while reading this one.
  • Robin Roberts — I have watched her on Good Morning America each morning for years and years.  I remember her battle with breast cancer and then the blood disorder she had.  She is so strong and a role model.  She showed grace and class through these battles and taught us so much about the suffering she and others go through.  I love her idea of turning your mess into a message.
  • Lauren Graham — She is funny, my age, and will always be remembered as Lorelai Gilmore.  Her book mentioned filming the original series as well as the recent reboot, which I still haven’t seen.  Darn not having Netflix.  Can someone please let me know what happened?  Or how I could watch it?  It was fun to read about how much this character and all of the characters on that show meant to her.  And to read about the other parts of her career and personal life.
  • Trevor Noah — I was intrigued by the title, “Born A Crime” and was so glad that I read this book.  It is quite a look into growing up as a mixed race child and young person. He was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Can you imagine?  He paints a very colorful picture of growing up in South Africa.  He is now a comedian and hosts a popular show.
  • Alan Cumming — His memoir called “Not My Father’s Son” was one of the most well-written books I have read in a while.  It had a mystery, happiness, and sadness.  All emotions were on display as he talked about his abusive childhood at the hands of his father and how it has affected his entire life.  I was touched profoundly by all that he shared.  I have liked him on television (The Good Wife and the voice on Masterpiece Mysteries), movies (among them Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion), and knew he was on Broadway in Cabaret.
  • Julie Andrews — Amazing voice, amazing talent, and pure class.  I loved her as Maria in The Sound of Music, as Mary Poppins in that movie, and in the Princess Diaries.  I cannot count the times I have been singing at full voice along with her.  When she could no longer sing, I was heartbroken but happy that she is still doing other items.  She has written books with her daughter and is working on other projects.
  • Carol Burnett — The funniest woman around and a trailblazer.  I used to love watching her variety show.  The funniest ever was the sketch when she was Scarlet from Gone With The Wind wearing the curtain and curtain rod.  “I saw it in a window and just had to have it.”  Cracks me up every time I see it or think about it.  Along with the laughter, she talks about the death of her daughter Carrie Hamilton.
  • Dean Martin — Amazing songs, movies, and a part of the Rat Pack.  He had major issues that he dealt with such as drinking and other things but still worked hard and entertained many, many people.  His daughter writes a glowing but real book about her dad.  Favorite songs of his are “That’s Amore,” “Ain’t That A Kick in the Head,” and “Sway.”
  • Robert Wagner — When I was younger, I thought he was the most handsome man and every girl’s dream.  As Darling Jonathan on Hart to Hart, he showed what a happy marriage was, what a loving hubby could be, and how to solve mysteries.  I have liked him for years, for all the things he has worked on in Hollywood, and his most recent stint as Anthony DiNozzo Sr.  Kirk and I watch reruns of Hart to Hart and I enjoy them as much as I did as a child.
  • Ricky Martin — Heart throb and such a great singer and dancer.  I remember when he played Miguel on General Hospital.  He did a great job on that show in the 1990s.   Before that, he a member of Menudo.  I always have to dance when I hear “Livin the Vida Loca” and many of his other songs.  I look forward to finding out more about him, his partner and their kids.
  • Amy Silverstein — I know the least about this women.  She wrote a book about her relationship with nine friends who helped her through a battle of brain cancer.  Amazingly this is the second cancer that she has had.  Personally knowing someone who passed away from brain cancer will make this book extra poignant.

If you made it to the end, thank you.  I probably should have made this two blogs, but did want to share my thoughts.  Please share who you have read about and who you still want to.

I wonder if I will continue to be fascinated by people — both famous and not.  I have a feeling I will.

Are We Still Civil?

I have seen a few things recently on the news and on talk shows that stunned me and made me wonder if we are still a civil society.  Or if we have become so indifferent to each other and just don’t care.  I am curious what you my readers, friends, families, and people I don’t know think about this issue..

On one talk show, a video was shown of four teenagers watching another person struggle in a lake and eventually drown.  They did absolutely nothing but film what was happening and make fun of this person.  So a person died who didn’t need to.  Shocking and very troubling.

A young women texted her guy friend and talked him into killing himself after he reached out to her that he wasn’t sure about doing so. She was found guilty for this and has been sentenced to prison.  In addition to her punishment, I hope she will receive some counseling.  To me, it seems she does need it.

A young women was driving her car and texting, had an accident where her sister flew out of the car and was killed, and she did nothing but record it on her phone. This driver was very distracted and this tragedy was the result.  I was stunned at this as well.

I am not blaming social media, texting, or our obsession with selfies, but we have to remember there are times when we should put down the phone and help others.  There are times and places for our phones, our texts, our pictures, and our videos.  And then there are times when people in the real world need us and I for one think, we need to pay attention.

I grew up at a time when pictures were taken on film in actual cameras.  We had to wait until 24 or 36 photos were taken before we could take the film to the store to be developed.  So, my time as a teenager didn’t include recording each and every thing I did all day and night.  Yes, I am that old.  LOL!

The idea of having a way to stream and record everything in my day is foreign to me.  However, I know it is a way of life for many young people and adults as well.  I just hope that we can be smart about it, be kind about it, and be willing to put it down if our loved ones or others need our help.

Another thing that bothers me about our civility is all of the foul language and behavior that many adults and our leaders are displaying these days. Threatening others is not the way to solve problems, cussing at each other doesn’t seem to help anything, bullying others, and continuing to be rude and not consider each other are also wrong.

You see, I have a son who is almost 10 years old. He listens to and learns from adults.  He models the adults’ behaviors and sometimes attitudes. Thankfully he has learned to be kind and caring.  But he still has many years until he becomes an adult.  I want him to continue to grow into a loving adult.  Let’s face it, some of us are not to be learned from.  Instead we are to be labeled what not to do and how not to act.

I want those of us who have children to teach them that each and every life matters, whether it is someone who you know and like or not.  People are not to be bullied, threatened, hated, or ridiculed.  People have value and are important and are to be treated with dignity and kindness.  We should encourage each other, not tear each other down.

It truly takes a village of families, friends, churches, youth groups, schools and teachers, coaches, band and chorus teachers, pack leaders, and others to teach our children.   My family is blessed to have a community, teachers, and a village of people who care for Ian, who want the best for him, and are teaching him good values and life skills.

Among them is his school where each morning the kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  After that they recite a school pledge, which is amazing and teaches the students to decide to behave, and to be kind and considerate of each other.  I like it so much that I have memorized it.

It is, “We are here to learn with our school family.  There is a respect here that you can clearly see.  We are truthful, trustworthy, and listen actively. Giving no put downs, I promise to do my personal best as I work and learn today and everyday.”  Isn’t that great?  I think we as adults could benefit by reciting that each day and deciding to be a good and kind person.

I am heart-broken that those young people who I mentioned at the beginning of the blog may not understand that they did anything wrong.  They may not get that someone else was suffering while they were making fun of, threatening, or being indifferent to others.  Isn’t that sad and something we should change?

We cannot be there every time someone else needs us, but perhaps we could watch out for each other, lend a hand, and call 911 when someone is in peril.  Civility is still alive and well in many places and with many people.  I am just sad that I keep seeing and hearing so much negative, so much abuse, hatred, and violence.

My hope and prayer is that we can teach children, teens, and adults to be kind, to be compassionate, to be considerate of others, to not judge others, to be helpful, to be willing to stand up for each other, and to always, always love.

Summer Almost Over

Hi and Happy Wednesday!  How is your summer going?  Ours has been great but has gone so very fast.  And now it is almost over. I have mixed feelings about that.  On the one hand, I am sad that our lazy mornings and our summer fun will end.  On the other hand, I realize we need our routine and our normal activities to keep us motivated and going.

We spent half the summer in North Carolina working on items for the family business and the other half at home both working and playing.  We enjoyed time to shop, eat out, have visits with friends and family, had time to swim, enjoyed frozen yogurt and ice cream, and much more.  We have stayed up later than usual and slept in.

Ian read seven books for the library’s reading program and enjoyed that very much.  I too have read a few good books this summer.  We also have enjoyed a few movies at home, riding bicycles, favorite summer television shows, games, and a service project with our church’s vacation Bible school.

Ian has learned a lot more this summer about Pokémon.  He enjoys the cards and the cartoon or anime as it is also called. This summer for the first time in a while, he wanted Pokémon cards and Warriors books instead of sets of Lego elements.  Our boy is growing up.  Also, Ian got his first computer. He was thrilled and has been enjoying it.

We didn’t have any big trips this summer, but plenty of down time and plenty of family time.  We enjoyed pizza at a favorite place at home, enjoyed free pie after dinner with a dear friend, went to the Star Wars themed baseball night for our minor league team (before school got out), and Ian has had time to play with neighbors and other kids.

We have worked on math online programs and ideas for a writing journal cover to get us in the frame of mind for school.  And, we are reading and trying to get to bed earlier. This morning, however, we slept in really late. That was great but I know those days are nearly finished.

This photo is from years ago at the beach.  We didn’t make it to the beach this summer.  I always love to go but it just wasn’t possible this year.  Perhaps next year will work, or the following year.  We will have to wait and see.

As our summer winds down, I remember to be thankful for:

  • Our house at a cool temperature
  • Ice cream treats
  • Star Wars movies with a boy who knows more details than I do
  • Swimming with Ian and Kirk
  • Mornings when we don’t have to go anywhere
  • Mornings or days when we don’t have to get ready
  • Extra time in our pajamas
  • Hours to read a great book
  • Word finds and coloring books
  • Our active VBS and church’s missionary team
  • Laughs with family and friends
  • Meals with family and friends
  • Prayers with family and friends
  • Listening to details about Pokémon from a sweet boy
  • Hugs and time to cuddle
  • Photos of friends, families, and adventures

I wonder how much more fun we can cram into what we have left of the summer.  I am not sure but am looking forward to the challenge.  God Bless and have a great rest of the week and summer!

July 12 – Grit

Hi and Happy Wednesday. Hope you are having a great summer.  We are but it is going fast.  I cannot believe that it is already one week after Independence Day. We are keeping busy with work and fun activities as well.

The writing prompt for today is Grit. There are several definitions of grit but I wanted to focus this writing on this one: “firmness of mind or spirit:  unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger; managed to survive by his or her grit and guile.”

Have you ever known anyone like this?  I have and am so happy to say that many of these people have been women. I am blessed to come from a long line of women with grit.  My grandmothers and great-grandmother were strong, had strong minds and spirits, and had courage on a daily basis.  My mother, mother-in-law, aunts, sister and sisters-in-law, cousins, and friends also have grit and courage. I like to think that I have it as well.

Have you noticed that people with grit also often have integrity, honor, and are caring and loving towards others. They are honorable people and are a pleasure to know and have in your corner. They have your back and you can count on them and they can count on you as well. This doesn’t always go hand in hand but seems to more often than not.

In today’s world, people seem to have these qualities or they don’t.  I want Ian to grow up to be someone who is honorable, honest, truthful, has integrity, does what is right because it is the right thing to do, is compassionate and caring to others, wants to help others, and wants to show and demonstrate love. I also hope that he knows and learns from people with these qualities.

Sadly many of today’s leaders do not have these qualities and that saddens me.  Instead people are out for their own selfish interests, lie as needed, harm others, don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves, and want to win at any cost.  Is that the norm we want for our children?  For ourselves?  I don’t think so.

Back to those strong women that I mentioned — Grandma Fran, Grandma Artha, and Great Grandma Gussie. There were all from a different era — the early 20th century.  They all had many hardships, problems, losses, pains, deaths, and found a way to continue and go on to have fulfilling lives.  They also had a lot of love, happiness, fun, laughter, and people who thought the world of them.

The top picture is of my mother on the left, me in the middle, and Grandma Artha on the right. The second one is me with Grandma Fran the year before Ian was born.  These are some of the many photos that I have of both of them.

Many different things were expected of women in their days. Two of them were wonderful  teachers who enriched many children’s lives. The other was a secretary for many years and helped her office be successful and thriving. They all worked hard and took care of their families.

I knew and loved both Fran (Grams) and Artha (Grandma).  I loved to talk with them about any number of topics and listen to their life experience. They were both characters who were very passionate about life, their husbands, their children, and their grandchildren.  From each of them, I learned about love, friendships, acceptance, and family. I am forever grateful to both of them for all that they taught me.

I was only with Great-Grandma Gussie when I was a baby.  I did, however, just read, type, and edit her writings for a family genealogy book.  She wrote about the time when she and my great-grandfather put claim on a homestead.  With a baby (Grandma Artha), they went out to claim a piece of property with no running water, no electricity, no permanent homes, and no horse and buggy or car of their own.

They managed to build a very small home with a kitchen, bedroom, and small living area, helped create a community with a school building/church, took care of sick neighbors, and had access to food, sometimes in sparse quantity.  Talk about amazing grit.

I wondered if I could have done that when Ian was a baby.  I just don’t know but would like to think I’d have it in me to succeed as they did.  I truly appreciate these women with grit.  For that matter, there are a lot of men in my life who also have it.  I will have to write about them another time.

Take care and Happy Summer!