Treason or Free Speech?

Hi and Happy Tuesday!  I become inspired to write about all kinds of quotes and things that I hear on the news, on television, in movies, or songs on the radio or items that I read about.  Today I am writing about a comment that our current President made during an event this week.  What are your thoughts?  Are you as amazed as I was?  And is it really treason?

Treason is defined in Merriam-Webster as “the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.”

It is not people not clapping or not standing during a speech. Perhaps it could be called disrespectful or rude, but it is not treasonous. Instead those actions are disagreement with a leader and a right of each citizen. I for one was shocked that our current President would say that about elected congressional officials who didn’t agree with his view on things.

It is also not un-American as he also said. In fact, because of the First Amendment, it is as American as you can be. Our country’s founders knew the importance of each citizen having the right and protection to say and believe as they see fit. They also felt that importance for the free press and for our freedom of religion. (Photos are from Power Point clip art.)

What I don’t understand is why more people aren’t up in arms that this is trying to be taken away. There are people who are trying to make it seem like a bad thing with comments of being treasonous, enemies of the people, or the fake media. And I for one am sick and tired of it.

As I have written before, the First Amendment is one of the hardest to honor since it means I have to respect a person who believes 180 degrees differently than I do. But it was written to protect each of us and how we live our life. I was a journalism major and learned to love this amendment and learned to know it must be upheld.

That is not to say that there aren’t problems with the media and biases. I know that. They are biases and slants and mistakes along the entire political spectrum. We just have to wade through them and listen to a variety of points of view. To call something fake just because you don’t agree with it or don’t like it is not right. And frankly needs to stop. Or be called for what it is.

Did you know that members of Congress didn’t clap or stand during the previous President’s state of the union either? It’s true. I watched the clip on the news. In fact, clips of both Presidents were played and looked the same – just with different people sitting down. The opposition was disagreeing with the leader as they had every right to do.

So my question is, why was it okay before but isn’t now? What has changed to make this the case? And, if we truly believe that, what is the justification?  Why one side but not both? Is that fair?  I don’t understand and am trying to understand. Does anyone have any ideas or theories on that?

Governing our country is messy, is hard, and is full of contradictory opinions. It is not a place where you can tell everyone how to think, how to respect you, and what to do when you are speaking. It just doesn’t work that way and it never has.

Our founding fathers had many disagreements and arguments, but made compromises to start this amazing country and provide us with the freedoms that we hold so dear. Then during President Reagan’s term, the Congress and House Speaker Tip O’Neill strongly disagreed with him and made those feelings known. Both sides argued a lot and disagreed but still managed to find ways to work together for the good of the entire country.

What did they know that we no longer know? Have we become so divided that we can no longer see or believe that the other side has merit, has some good ideas, and  value? Is it truly all one party’s fault who is currently in the minority? The majority party has no part of it? I just don’t get it. Both sides have to find a way to work together if things are ever going to improve.

I want us to argue for what we are in favor of without tearing those down who don’t agree with us. I want us to stop calling our opposition enemies of the people, or stupid, or other derogatory terms. I want us to be examples for our children that we can have healthy debates and disagreements without venom or hate seeping into our thoughts and words.

At my son’s school, they are learning about the three branches of government, the Amendments to the Constitution, and what they think is most important. The branches are separate and equal, neither one has more power over the other, and all serve vitally important parts of our country’s success or failure.

The students were asked which is the most important amendment to them. Our son said the First Amendment. In his answer, he explained that in some countries, if you spoke out against the President, you would be arrested. In America, if you speak out, that won’t happen.

This 10-year-old understands that more than some adults.  He is learning respect but that he doesn’t have to agree with someone just because they give an opinion on something. He is learning to find his way and what he believes with our guidance and support.

My husband and I are teaching our son to listen, to discern, to ask questions, and to try to determine what is a fact and what is an opinion. He and his classmates have been learning about that as well. And, they have been writing opinion pieces to learn how to present their argument.

Facts do exist and were a part of articles that I wrote as a reporter. We would include the who, what, when, where, and why. Sometimes we also included how, but these articles were clearly different than the opinion pieces or editorials.  Today there is a blurring of that.  I only hope that we can do research to determine which is which.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  Does it matter to you?  It certainly does to me, as you can tell from writings such as this. I will continue to stand up for what I feel is important and what I believe in.  And I will do it with respect for others who I disagree with. I hope that you will as well.


Throwback Thursday – Snow Day

Hi and Happy Thursday.  Today, January 25, I wanted to post a Throwback Thursday photo of Ian playing in the snow.  He was about 2 years old when this was taken.  He loved the snow and playing in it then and still does today.

We had a few snow days recently and had time to play in the snow, throw snowballs, and take a walk.  It was wonderful and just as precious as the day of this photo. We have been blessed by this wonderful soul who continues to amaze us each year.  We continue to be thankful for our family.

Today I am also thankful for:

  • Snow days with nowhere to have to be
  • Hot chocolate and giggles after playing in the snow
  • Toast with avocado for breakfast
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
  • Movies at home on the couch
  • Days in pajamas and no makeup
  • Messy hair and extra cuddles
  • Working at home
  • Hot tea, hot coffee, and hot chocolate
  • Reading a favorite new book in three days
  • Library books
  • Family photos and memories
  • Time with friends and family
  • Laughter with loved ones
  • Walks home from school
  • Time to play
  • Time to relax
  • An active imagination
  • The wonder of childhood
  • The blessings of childhood
  • My family who taught me about respect, love, and kindness
  • Songs we love to sing
  • The love of learning and discovery

Hope you have a great day!  Hope you have time with your loved ones and stay healthy!  We know a lot of sickness is going around so we pray for health, rest, and quick recoveries.

Happy Birthday Dr. King

Today we celebrate the birthday of one of the most eloquent speakers ever — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  He taught us the importance of love, peace, equality, and being kind to others.  He spoke up about the things that matter and fought for them in peaceful ways.

He knew the importance of treating all people the same and as equals. He had dreams that his children would be treated fairly and that all peoples would be. (I found this photo on clip art. It is from the Hulton-Deutsch Collection according to

We can learn a lot from this amazing man.  We can learn how to treat one another, that love is so much more important than hate, that all men are created equal and should be treated as such, and that we can fight for what we believe in without violence and harm to others.

He knew this and he lived it.  But sadly he was gunned down for it.  And that is heartbreaking and should not have happened.   I will never forget the day as a young person that I saw the man who killed him.  I still cannot believe that it happened.

We were doing prison ministry at the time with my parents at Brushy Mountain Prison.  We were visiting other inmates at the time and James Earl Ray was in the same room.  He was across from us and looked like an old man to me.  At the time, I didn’t realize who he was.

Sadly, I later learned what he had done and who he had killed. Very sad and something I just didn’t understand.  I was surprised that someone could hate another person enough to want them dead.  The innocence of the young, right?

My parents taught us to love all people, to be kind to everyone, to not see the differences as bad things but instead as something to learn from.  And, they taught us to treat others as we want to be treated. I was so fortunate to grow up with my parents and siblings and know these things.

I hope that we can treat others as Dr. King did — with dignity, respect, kindness, and love. Let’s never forget what he stood for and how he tried to make changes. He is someone to admire and to learn from.

So on his birthday, I want to say, thanks Dr. King for what you taught us and the man that you were. Thanks for your stirring and beautiful words, your passion for what you believed in, all of your work for civil rights, and your faith.

Here are a few of his quotes:

  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
  • “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  • “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
  • “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
  • “The time is always right to do what is right.”
  • “I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
  • “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.”

Happy New Year 2018!!

Hello and Happy New Year!  On the second day of 2018, I am amazed that we are in a new year. Last year seems like only yesterday, or two days actually.  LOL.  They say that time flies when you are having fun. The end of 2017 sure did.

We had fun time with friends and family over the holidays.  So many generous gifts, great food, lots of laughter, and fun conversations.  It was a blessing to have this time with loved ones as well as some much-needed down time.

The older I get, the more I need time to rest, to process what is happening in my day, and have time to just relax. Now that I am in a new decade, I suppose that is to be expected, right? LOL!  Last night, I fell asleep on the couch watching TV.  The night before staying up until 12:30 a.m. was too much and I was more tired than I realized.  Can’t do that anymore like I used to. Oh well, it was still worth it to see Ian’s excitement at the start of a new year and to celebrate with Kirk and Ian.

This year I am going to try to write more regularly. I cannot believe that I only did two postings in December. The month was super busy so I didn’t get to it.  I do, however, love to write and want to do better. I have some topics in mind that will help and appreciate your input on any ideas. We’ll see how my plan to write more goes.

I am also going to work on daily exercise. Even if it is for 30 minutes, I want to do something and then build it up to more time. I want to feel good and not be sore and uncomfortable. I also want to stretch and try some yoga poses. A friend of mine is having great success with that. She is an inspiration.

This new year we will be welcoming new loved ones into the family with babies and weddings. I am excited about the new lives and the engagements over the holidays.  What blessings and fun times to celebrate.  It is exciting to think that at next Christmas, we will be celebrating baby’s first everything, even though they were there this year.

Today on this last day of winter break, I am thankful for:

  • A new griddle for making delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes
  • Ian having the chance to play with several friends
  • A full day of fun with dear friends
  • Time with my parents, siblings, our spouses, and all of the kids and Kirk’s side as well
  • Early dinners out with my guys
  • Watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi with Kirk and Ian — great movie
  • Sleeping in when we can
  • Messy hair and days in our pajamas
  • Prayers before meals with loved ones
  • Returning to our routine
  • Reading a new book
  • Listening to a new CD
  • The gift of photos
  • Hats, gloves, and scarves on a cold day
  • The beauty of a cold and sunny day
  • Heaters than work and hot coffee, tea, or chocolate
  • Time with family to chat, laugh, eat, and enjoy being together
  • Hugs at bedtime
  • Saying I love you and hearing it back
  • Family traditions
  • Church music
  • Our church family
  • Our school family
  • Our neighborhood family
  • Our friends who are family
  • Our immediate and extended family

We have had a wonderful Christmas holiday and hope that you have as well.  We wish you a very Happy New Year as you return to your normal routine.

Happy Birthday Dear Richmond!

Hi and Happy Wednesday.  Tomorrow is my brother Richmond’s birthday!  He is the ham in the front.  This was taken Christmas of 2016 and is one of the silliest photos we have every taken.

I hope that he has a great day!  He surprised me on my recent milestone birthday and I hope to be with him for his.  We plan to be and hope those plans will happen.

My brother and sister are real and true blessings and so very dear to me.  I love them both so very much, as well as their spouses and children.  I am blessed to call Richmond my brother and wish him all the best.

I have so many great memories of us and all the wonderful years we have had together.  We get along great as adults and I am so blessed.  My love to you dear brother!!!

A few things that I fondly remember and will always cherish:

  • Watching movies such as Clue together and laughing so very much
  • Prayers with joined hands
  • Delicious Mexican food — both at restaurants and home-made
  • Sushi and teriyaki meals with the family
  • Fun at the beach house
  • Our childhood home where we had so much fun
  • The Smurfs All Star Show
  • Singing together at church and at family gatherings
  • Sitting on Grandpa’s lap together for stories
  • Being a part of your wedding
  • You being in my wedding
  • Our kids enjoying hanging out
  • What the Beep?
  • Your love of U2
  • The gift of a U2 ticket — cannot wait
  • Having fun with you, Beckie, Kirk and the kids
  • Great shows like Psych and Monk
  • You and all of your talents
  • Your wonderful surprise visit on my birthday

Happy Birthday to you dear Richmond!  Happy Birthday to you!  Hope your day is fabulous and so much fun! Love you very much!

50 and Fabulous!!

Happy Monday.  Over the weekend, I celebrated my birthday with loved ones.  It was a big day too — I am now 50 years old.

So far my 50s have been fabulous and lots of fun.  Although I have had a time coming to terms with this age, I realize that age is just a number and I will continue to have fun and enjoy myself.  Well, that is my plan.

I found a list of people, items, events, and more that happened in 1967.  I realized that I am in very good company.  We are all 50 and Fabulous!

1967 was a great year for me and for many others. So, happy 50th to everyone and everything on this list.

  • Rolling Stone Magazine
  • The Carol Burnett Show
  • Harry Connick, Jr.
  • The Jungle Book
  • 60 Minutes newsmagazine
  • Anderson Cooper
  • Julia Roberts
  • Faith Hill
  • Tim McGraw
  • Several high school friends and one of my cousins
  • Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album
  • The Outsiders book
  • The 25th Amendment
  • “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
  • Lite Bright
  • The Graduate movie
  • Bonnie and Clyde movie
  • Thurgood Marshall being named to the Supreme Court
  • Lauren Graham
  • Will Ferrell
  • Keith Urban
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Jamie Foxx
  • The ATM Machine
  • “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles
  • In The Heat of the Night movie
  • Hair, The Musical
  • Cool Hand Luke movie
  • The countertop microwave
  • The Flying Nun television show
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • Billie Jean King’s championship win
  • The Chevy Camaro
  • The handheld calculator
  • The Slurpee drink
  • The Big Mac
  • Ding-Dongs and Ho-Hos
  • The game Battleship
  • Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner movie
  • “Daydream Believer” by The Monkees

Before I did some research, I had no idea all of these things happened the year I was born, or that all of these people were born that year. I am sure there are a lot more, but this is a great listing for now.

It is amazing to think I have been alive for a half century now. I know what is truly important in my life — my family and friends and spending time with them.  For that I am thankful and grateful.  Blessings abound!  To the next 50!!!!

30 Days of Thankfulness — Part 2

Hi and Happy last day of November.  I am about to run out of month and hadn’t finished my thankfulness listing yet.  OOPS!!!  So, here are my items for Days 16 to 30.

I have so much to be thankful for. I am blessed beyond words and so thankful for all of my friends and family, as well as the experiences I have had, and the items that are near and dear to me.

Most of these categories have more than one answer that I could have included.  These are the ones that first came to mind and ones that I wanted to share.

  • Day 16 – Recipe — Years ago, my mom gave me a recipe for pumpkin bread. It is so good and one of my favorite treats of the fall. In fact, I like a slice of warm bread, with a cold glass of milk, and a slice or two of sharp cheddar cheese. YUM!
  • Day 17 – Store – For food, it is Trader Joe’s but I don’t make it there very often. They have such a great variety and several specialty items as well. My favorite clothing store is Goodwill since I am frugal and love a great bargain. Some trips lead to great finds and others don’t, but I do like to go and see what is there.
  • Day 18 — Quote – One favorite quote was from my grandpa’s stories: “I still wonder where rainbows come from.” This quote always makes me happy and brings up so many memories. As I have gotten older, I have come to believe that it was Grandpa’s way of encouraging us to make the most out of our lives, to discover new things, to always keep learning and striving, and to live our lives to the fullest.
  • Day 19 — Clothing — I have been stumped on this one. In the winter I love my fuzzy socks, warm sweaters, and long-sleeved shirts. I am usually pretty casual and enjoy buying items at thrift shops.
  • Day 20 – Keepsake – Before my grandfather passed away, he gave me his oil painting of his dog Schatzi, a miniature schnauzer. She was such a sweetie and he knew how much I loved her. It was such an honor to receive that from him. Each time I look at it, I think of him and this scruffy dog.
  • Day 21 — Disappointment / Fear – I really wanted to see our friend Malachi grow up and one day go off to college with Ian. But that was not to be since the Lord had something else in mind. Malachi touched so many people in his young life. And, he taught many of us about faith, love, and friendship. We are blessed for having known him. And we are blessed to have learned about loving fully and completely and for making the most of each day.
  • Day 22 — Book — I have a Mom’s Bible that I was given during my time at MOPS.  It is very special and has great quotes for mothers and things that are so special for children. This book is one of my favorites along with our family history book and the collection of my Grandpa’s columns about his family and being a parent.
  • Day 23 — Feeling — I love to see the world through Ian’s eyes. I love watching him learn new ideas, items and concepts. I love listening to what he thinks and his view on the world around us. And, I love seeing him happy. And, my hubby as well. These two are my world, that’s for sure.
  • Day 24 — Photo — I have a photo from 1930 of my grandparents on their honeymoon.They are sitting on a bench in a coastal town and are drinking out of straws from the same ice cream treat. Grandma is holding a cane and they are in almost matching outfits.Grandpa’s curly hair and glasses are shown. I love this view into their young love and relationship that led to 4 children, in-laws, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
  • Day 25 — Luxury — I love hot showers and hot baths. I love having a toilet that flushes, heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, an in-home washing machine and dryer, a dishwasher, oven, stove, microwave, and refrigerator. I often taken these items for granted and realize that I shouldn’t. I know that we are spoiled and very blessed to have all of these appliances.
  • Day 26 — Charity — I am a member of the Lions Club and love their motto, We Serve. Lions do so much for the blind and vision impaired as well as those with Diabetes and other health issues. It is so rewarding to be able to help others with vision, what I think is one of the greatest gifts.
  • Day 27 — Song — I have hundreds of songs that I love, love to sing, love to dance to, and that mean so much to me. One of my all-time favorites though is the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. I love to sing it and have on several occasions. With a full orchestra and a choir lifting their voices, it is absolutely lovely and moving.
  • Day 28 — Gift — The gift of love is so very important to me and more important than any material possession. The love of my hubby, my son, my family, my friends, and my savior all mean the world to me. Also cherished are the gifts of forgiveness, trust, happiness, and respect.
  • Day 29 – Something at home — A few years ago, my sister gave me a necklace that had photos on it. One side was our family beach house with a lovely rainbow, and on the other side was a picture of our grandparents. I was touched and amazed. I wore it each day for a while and then decided to keep it at home so I wouldn’t lose it. I still cherish it and wear it on occasion.
  • Day 30 — What are you MOST thankful for?  — I am most thankful to live in a country where I have freedoms, and can think, believe, love, and practice the way I think is right, and that my family also thinks is right. I like being able to disagree with those in authority without harmful ramifications. I am thankful to have such a variety of friends and family members who have enriched my life. And, I am thankful for continuing to learn, change, and grow.

What are you thankful for?  I am sure there are plenty of items.

My Thanksgiving Prayer

Over the last few years, I have posted my grandfather’s thanksgiving prayer.  It is one that touches me deeply and always makes me teary-eyed. He spoke so well about his family and many stages of parenthood.  It reminds me of the love that I was privileged enough to know growing up.

This year, on the day after thanksgiving, I wanted to share my own prayer. It isn’t as eloquent as Grandpa’s words but I hope it will be as meaningful.  As our pastor reminded us at the Thanksgiving service, it is important to be thankful for our blessings. The link to Grandpa’s prayer is

Our Father God we thank thee:

  • For a family circle of holding hands for mealtime prayer
  • For family and friends both near and far
  • For a boy’s first communion after a fun and informative class
  • For parents and grandparents who have demonstrated love and acceptance and continue to do so
  • For cousins who love to play games together
  • For cousins who braid one another’s hair and talk and giggle as they do so
  • For generations of family who enjoy being together
  • For friendships both new and old
  • For sunsets together as a family
  • For the majesty of the ocean
  • For a buffet of delicious food made by many hands
  • For a lazy morning with messy hair and talking
  • For family traditions and memories
  • For birthday celebrations where the birthday boy or girl is made to feel truly special
  • For my cousins who are all very different and very special
  • For my siblings and in-laws who I love to spend time with and laugh with
  • For an inside joke with a loved one
  • For the joy of successfully completing a division problem
  • For the love of reading and books
  • For the love of learning and exploring new things
  • For family and friends who comfort during the hard times
  • For family and friends who also enjoy the fun and silly times
  • For laughter and joy
  • For hugs before bed
  • And our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace, kindness, love, acceptance, and forgiveness..  Amen

30 Days of Thankfulness – Part 1

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. ~W.J. Cameron

I don’t know about you but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love the gathering of family and friends, the spread of food that everyone helps to prepare, and the time to give thanks and share what we are thankful for.  The fact that the day isn’t just about presents makes it all the more special to me.

My family has certain traditions that I love and always look forward to — Mom’s special recipe to cook the turkey, Dad’s great carving skills, my sister’s sweet potatoes, my aunt’s rolls and cranberry, my cousin’s pies, my brother-in-law’s mashed potatoes, my sister-in-law’s casseroles, and our green beans.

This week, I look forward to another gathering of those who can be there.  Today, I wanted to write about the items that I have been thankful for this month.  In previous Novembers, I have written each day about items I am thankful for.  This month I am way behind and haven’t written about them yet.

Here are the first 15 items on a list that I saw on Facebook.  It is a variety of categories of things and people who I am thankful for on a 30 Days of Thankfulness list.  I will post the more items tomorrow and then the rest of the month.

  1. Person — One of my many loved ones who I am thankful for is my husband Kirk.  To be on this journey in life with him and our son is so very special. He is my friend, my love, and so much more.
  2. Animal — I loved my grandparent’s dog Schatzi so very much and have an oil paining of her at our house. Now, I love my parents’ dog Riley. She is such a love and quite a character. She is really good is with kids. And, it’s a hoot watching her clean a plate.
  3. Cozy Place — I am thankful for our living room couch.  I love to curl up there to read a good book, to sit and talk with Ian and/or Kirk, to watch television, to eat a snack, and to fall asleep after a long day.  I often like to sit under a blanket and relax there.
  4. Favorite snack — At this time of year, I very much enjoy and am thankful for sharp cheddar cheese, pumpkin bread, and a cold glass of milk.  I enjoy the contrast of flavors and it feels like fall to me.  Yummy!
  5. Place — I am so thankful for our family beach house in San Diego.  This small house has been the place of so much family love and fun.  We have had multiple generations come and go, have had sleep-overs, family sing-alongs, friends visiting day and night, and so much more.  The place is tiny, usually crammed, but is one of my favorite places in the world.
  6. Pair of Shoes — I have a pair of brown flip-flops that I bought years ago at a shop at the beach.  They are still comfortable and I regularly wear them.  They are raised up a bit so they give support.  I liked them so much that I bought a second pair.
  7. Scent — This is more difficult since there are so many to choose from and to be thankful for.  In the morning, I love the smell of coffee as it is brewing.  I love the smell of Ian after he has gotten out of the shower and he is giving me a hug.  I love the smell of Kirk’s cologne.  And, I love the smell of the ocean — the salt water, the wind, and the waves.
  8. Restaurant — One of my favorite places to eat is a true dive and serves the best fish tacos.  It is at the beach and is within walking distance from the beach house.  They also make delicious burritos, cheese quesadillas, and refried beans.  I look forward to my next beach trip where I can walk there and get some food.
  9. Blog / Website — I am thankful for Facebook and the ability to keep in touch with friends and family who live so far away.  I am also thankful for this blog as it gives me an outlet to write and share my thoughts.  I also like blogs that several of my friends write.  Those are fun to read.
  10. Time of Day — Each afternoon, I pick up Ian from school.  We usually walk home and have a chance to talk about our day and what is on his mind.  I treasure these moments and am so very thankful for them.  Next year, he will be at another school that we have to drive to.  So, pickup time will be different but still special.
  11. Tradition — There are a few traditions that I am thankful for.  First is our family’s tradition of reversing our ages on birthday cakes.  So this year, instead of turning 50, I will be 5 years old.  A second childhood. Nice!  I don’t remember who started this but it is fun and something that many people ask about. Next, we always opened just one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning.
  12. Gadget — I still use a real camera and so enjoy taking pictures with it.  People often look at me funny — especially kids since I don’t have a phone that I am taking pictures with.  I am still old school with this I suppose.
  13. Something Old — When I was a child, my uncle gave me a teddy bear who I named Teddy.  How creative is that?  Not very.  He is white with black trim and is still a favorite of mine.  He is ripped in a few places, slightly dirty, but still gives good cuddles.  I have learned with Ian how real our stuffed friends are.
  14. Something New — So much of what I buy is from a consignment shop, that finding new items is a bit of a stretch.  My latest purchase was a new pair of jeans. They are comfortable and easy to clean.  I also like a dress shirt that we bought for Ian.  He looks very handsome in it.
  15. Experience —  I have so many experiences that I am thankful for and have learned from.  The one that is the most special and treasured is learning I was pregnant, having our son grow inside me, feeling him move around, talking to him, and then meeting him after he was born.  The entire experience and every day since has been an amazing blessing that I will always cherish.

May we always remember to be thankful for our blessings and those in our lives.

Me Too — I was harrassed

Me too. I was sexually harassed when first starting my professional career. Thankfully that was the extent of this issue for me. And, for that I am so very thankful.

I was a new reporter covering county government, the police department, the county courts, ambulance service, and many other things. I was young and in my early 20s. Many of the men who I interacted with were the age of my father or grandfather.

Most of them were fine and I learned a lot from them and am thankful to have developed some friendships. They treated me with respect and professionalism and kept everything on the up and up. However, there was one man who made inappropriate comments, suggestive comments, and always wanted hugs.

Being the naïve woman I was, I thought nothing of it. In fact, I thought to myself, well this is a dirty old man but he is harmless. I laughed it off and noticed that is how he often dealt with many women. Now, looking back, I should have realized that this was not okay and not appropriate.

I have since learned from this. I have realized that “boys being boys” is not okay. I have learned that dirty old men can be harmful. And, I have learned that I control how I am treated and what respect I want to have. At least I like to think I have a say in it.

I just wish I could go back and tell my younger self to be more wary of this type of man. Thankfully nothing physical happened to me and for that I am relieved.

According to RAINN statistics, every 98 seconds someone is the victim of sexual assault. This stat gave me chills and truly disgusted me. That is a lot of assaults each day on women, men, and children.

What are we going to do about it? I say we take self-defense classes and learn to fight back. I say we think about who we are with and where we go. I know that these assaults are not the victim’s fault, but I do want to stay away from those who could cause me harm.

On a national level, I think we really must do something to change our mindset that men can do whatever they want to women. That is just not true. They cannot and should not be grabbing, fondling, or groping any part of a woman’s body without permission. Or a man’s body for that matter.

Also, men and women in places of authority, such as a boss, a pastor, a teacher, a doctor, a judge or attorney, a colleague or a co-worker don’t get a pass on this and should treat all women and men with respect. And yet, they get by with terrible and awful things. I don’t want that to keep happening.

A woman or man should be the one who decides who to touch, when to touch, and how to touch.  Also how and when he or she wants to be touched. A woman’s decision or permission should not be taken away by someone who cannot control himself or herself. A man’s decision shouldn’t be either.

I wonder if these men who think they can do whatever they want would still do so if their mother was watching them or their daughter. Or their grandmother, or the church member who has known them since childhood, or a trusted friend? If not, then they should not do it in the first place.

I now hope that we can come together and change the mindset of our men, young men, and boys as well as women, young women, and girls. I want the attitude of men doing anything they want to stop.

My husband and I are teaching Ian how to respect both men and women — how to treat them, how to act around people he doesn’t know, what to say, what touch is appropriate, and so much more.

Sadly, there are not as many role models as I would like to help us with that. That breaks my heart and concerns me for our country’s future. We have to treat teach other with respect, without threats of any kind, and with honor. This goes for both men and women.

Another thing that concerns me about all of this is that victims are often not believed. I know in some cases people are up to something when this happens. But often, they aren’t.

Often, they were raped, were assaulted, were threatened and are too scared to report it. Or they are ashamed. Or they think no one will believe them and take them seriously. Or they know they will be blamed.

I have a friend who was raped. Hearing about her experience made me so sad and mad and heartbroken. But I was also proud of her. You see, she was able to share what someone did to her, she was able to talk about it and not be ashamed of it. She was able to help others by speaking out.

I wept on and off for days after hearing about this since I have known her since she was a child. It never should have happened to my friend or to anyone else. And, it shouldn’t continue to happen. May we work together so it doesn’t. That is my hope and prayer. Blessings to you and yours.