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.

Tears and Joy

lake.summer.7-27Today we say goodbye to that sweet soul I mentioned last week.  Ian’s dear friend Malachi passed away at 8 years old from brain cancer.  He was a joy to know and made us laugh so much.  Now as I remember him, it is with laughter through my tears.

His funeral is this afternoon and one of the hardest decisions I have ever made as a mother was deciding to have us not go.  You see it’s been hard enough for Ian to process the loss of his friend, much less attend a funeral mass in his honor.  So Kirk and I thought that school and his regular routine would be better for Ian.

Not sure if this was the best decision but Malachi’s dad totally understands.  And, that is a great comfort.  I don’t feel so guilty for not being there in person.  We are there in spirit and praying for the family and friends who have lost this amazing young man.  We are hurting too and clinging to our fond and funny memories.

When we met him, he came right up to Ian at preschool and said “Hi.  I am Malachi.  What is your name?”  Ian told him and they went to play together.  Then a few months later when Ian started full-time, Malachi made a point of saying, “I remember you.”

boys-9-6-2016Each time the boys played together, they had so much fun — whether it was Playmobile, Lego, or cars, they made up stories, made each other laugh, and shared.  Both were only children and got along really well.  They were a joy to watch and listen to.

Selfishly, I wanted to see the two of them grow up together, stay friends, and maybe room in college, go on vacations together, and so many other ideas.  But that was not to be.  The Lord had something else in mind.  So now, this amazing soul is in Heaven having a great time.  We miss getting to see him but are so thankful he is no longer in pain or suffering.

There are some people in our lives who come in and make an amazing impression and he did just that.  He lived an incredible and rich life for someone so very young, he had faith beyond measure, and a wonderful sense of humor.  He loved to help people and joke around with them as well.  He never met a stranger and enjoyed his time with family and friends.

I have learned a lot about friendship, faith, loss, joy, tears, laughter, and so much more from both Malachi and his parents.  I feel that my family is blessed beyond measure to have had these friendships. I will forever be thankful they came into our lives when they did.

May we all savor those relationships we have, make a point to tell those we love them, hug our loved ones, be there when they need us, and remember to laugh and enjoy life.  It is a gift and each day is so very precious.  May we also have joy.

Love One Another

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA“Love is all you need.”  “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” “I will always love you.” “Love one another as I have loved you.” 

Love comes in many shapes and sizes.  There are many types of love and many things that define love.  As you know, we just celebrated the big love day of the year, Valentines’ Day. Well, it is a day that stores and restaurants try to make the big day.  We are encouraged to spend a marked up amount on flowers, eat out, and spend a lot on cards.

That is fine but why not enjoy a home cooked meal with our mate and children?  Why not enjoy our own tradition of handwriting a special card?  Why not have both of you sign the same card as Kirk and I did this year? And, why not remember to love and show our love each and every day?

Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed the fun of Valentine’s Day, the fancy dinners out, and the dozen red roses. There is nothing like that in the early stages of a relationship. But, more importantly, I like when Kirk gives me flowers just because, or has asked if I’d like to eat out after a tiring day at work, or wants to have a date night in the middle of the week.

I also like to do special things for him just because. And I like that we tell each other I love you every day.  And, we tell our son that as well. We also regularly demonstrate love to one other by the things we help with around the house, the projects, and the teamwork.

Before meeting Kirk, I had many years without a special someone. it could be tough at times but I did my best to enjoy time with my friends and family. I also learned to love myself and figure out what I wanted in a relationship. That was a blessing and helped me appreciate my relationship even more.

At the top of the blog, I listed a few quotes about love.  Here are my thoughts on them.

  • Love is all you need.  This is from a great Beatles song that I really like.  To me, we need more than love to have relationships work.  We also need trust, honesty, forgiveness, and patience.  Clearly love needs to be part of it since without it, it is very hard to have the rest.
  • Love means never having to say you’re sorry.  This was made famous in The Love Story movie.  I totally disagree with this sentiment.  To me, love means saying sorry often and as needed. Not so much that it means nothing, but enough to show we realize when we made mistakes.
  • I will always love you. This is from one of my favorite Celine Dion songs and is lovely. I agree that you can always love someone. However, you may not always like them and can get frustrated with them. True love means sticking with them through it all and always being there for each other. And loving unconditionally.
  • Love one another as I have loved you.  Christ told us to do this and I think we are lacking with this at times.  We seem to be a society of mistrust, gossip, and a lot of negativity.  I hope and pray that we can get back to truly loving others and wanting the best for each other.  People often try to take credit for another’s accomplishments or blame people when something doesn’t work out.  None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. My hope is that we can find a way to be more loving and kind.

Love is an amazing gift and something that is rare and precious.  It is to be treasured and respected.  It is to be given freely and without expecting anything in return.  And, it is to be given without condition.

The loves in my life are:

  • My husband who I cherish
  • Our son who is a gift from the Lord and a blessing each day
  • My parents who taught me what love means
  • My siblings and their spouses who I adore
  • My nieces and nephews who I am fascinated by
  • My cousins who I have shared so much with
  • My aunts and uncles who love me like their own
  • My grandparents who I miss each day and loved talking with
  • My in-laws who welcomed me into their family
  • My lifetime friends who I have laughed and cried with
  • My newer friends who I am enjoying getting to know
  • My friends from work, school, and church who are so special
  • My loved ones who have passed and are still missed

I wonder if I will truly remember to love as Christ loved me.  I am going to do my best to do just that.  My prayer is that we all have love and can truly love others.

Try a Little Kindness

Playground.4When I was growing up, I was taught to be kind to others and to be loving and respectful.  I was taught that differences are okay and that all people have value. My husband and I are now teaching that to our son.  It truly concerns me how far away from that we now are.  Nowadays, so many people seem to think it’s okay to be mean to others and treat them badly.

We have a person running for president of our country who in my opinion is a bully.  He has insulted people of a different race, religion, sex, and views than his own.  Rather than building up others, he tears them down every chance he gets.  He treats others with disdain or worse, outright insults and hateful rhetoric.  The scary thing is that he has quite a few followers who seem to be going along with him.

Is that really what we have become — a nation of hate, skepticism, doubt, racism, sexism, and intolerance?  I sure hope not.  And, I pray not with every fiber of my being. I know we have always had all of these things and probably always will.  But with many civil rights movements over the years, it seemed things had been changing.

I hope we aren’t going backwards.  And, I hope and pray that we have learned from mistakes and travesties that have happened.  There is always more work to be done and I hope that we will continue to do this work.  After all, we do have much in common, despite the differences.

America is an amazing melting pot and my prayer is that it will continue to be just that.

Here are some things I want us to remember:

  • May we continue to teach others how to love.
  • May we forgive and learn from others.
  • May we try a little kindness.
  • May we be helpful to others.
  • May we remember to build one another up, rather than tearing each other down.
  • May we not have a leader who will teach our children that it is okay to be rude and belittle those who you don’t agree with.
  • May we not let hate take over.
  • May we remember that we are more alike than we are different.
  • May we never repeat certain things in our history and truly learn from those who have gone before us.
  • May we have hearts of love and forgiveness.
  • May we have healthy and civil debates.
  • May we stand up for what we believe without insult and harm to others.
  • May we think before we speak.
  • May we teach our children love and kindness, not hate and rudeness.

May we also remember the words from the Love Chapter from the Bible (1st Corinthians 13:4-8).  This is how we should love:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

I wonder if we as a people can love like this?  My prayer is that we can and will.

February 14 – Love

POD_3-7-2014_FlyHi and Happy Valentine’s Day.  Today’s Photo Challenge is Love.  How fitting for a day all about love.  My photos are of my two greatest loves — my wonderful husband and our amazing son. These two men mean the world to me and I am so glad to have them as my family.  I love them very differently yet both fully and with all that I am.

So it got me to thinking, how can you illustrate or define love? As you know, there are many types of love and definitions. We love our mates and children differently, we love our families and friends in other ways, we love our pets in a different way, and there is our love of God and our faith.  All of these loves are valid and real to us.

To me love is — given every day, compassion, forgiveness, honesty, kindness, generosity, patience, partnership, unconditional, raw and messy at times, beautiful, passion, being there for the good and bad in life, support, and forever.

There is a line in the movie “Love Story” that has always bothered me.  “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  I totally disagree.  To me, love means you should say you are sorry.  Not too much that it means nothing, but when needed it should be said.

We all make mistakes and hurt one another.  Yet, because of love we can say we are sorry, change our behavior, and forgive one another.  And then you can move past the problem and continue to love.

One of the best descriptions of love is in 1st Corinthians 13: 4-8. Kirk and I had this read on our wedding day.  It meant the world to both of us.  This is from the New International Version of the Bible:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Isn’t that beautiful?  If only we could love others that way.  We are called by Christ to love others — including our enemies and those who seem the least lovable.  All of us need to be loved by someone.  My hope and prayer is that we can be more loving to those around us.

Today I am thankful for:

  • My husband for loving me as I am and being an amazing partner in all things
  • Our son who is the light of our life and an amazing gift
  • My parents who taught me what love is all about
  • My siblings (and in-laws) who I love to be with and admire so very much
  • My cousins who are true and real friends
  • My in-laws who are a wonderful addition to my family
  • My aunts and uncles who have taught me so much
  • My friends who I treasure — both old and new
  • My grandparents who demonstrated their love for one another
  • My nieces and nephews who enrich my world and are great friends to Ian
  • Our school and church friends who mean so much to the three of and who are teaching Ian so many things
  • Our community and neighbors who make us feel truly at home

May you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day full of love!  Whether or not you have a special someone, I hope and pray that you will know that you are loved.

Prayers, Tears, and Comfort

graceThis morning as I logged into Facebook, I read several things which game me pause — the death of a young child, the pending death of a parent, surgery of a friend, sickness of friends, cancer treatments of family and friends, and other losses.

Tears came to my eyes and I said this prayer, “Lord, please give comfort to this family as only you can, please stretch out your healing hand to those who are sick, help us be a comfort to one another and help as needed, and please watch over us. Amen.”

The child, Patrick, passed away on Saturday.  He wasn’t quite a year old and had been sick with congenital heart disease.  His mother has been writing a blog about his illness, which is very touching.  I didn’t know them very well but this boy’s aunt is a friend of mine from high school.  I also knew her brother, Patrick’s dad.

Another friend has been called in by hospice for her father.  He has been ill and now the family is gathering with him.  It will be time for them to say goodbye.  So hard to lose a parent, no matter how old we are.

Also a dear friend is having another surgery this morning.  She has already had several and hopes this will be the last one and that comfort will be coming soon.  Other friends are sick and having issues, and some are in the midst of chemo treatments.

prayingSo much loss, so much heartache, so many tears, and so much pain.  Yet there is hope and comfort.  Comfort in hugs, comfort in knowing our loved ones will see us through the pain, comfort in prayers, comfort in our faith, comfort in our memories, and comfort in time.

There is an expression that time heals all wounds.  I am not sure if it heals them or if we figure out a way to deal with them as time goes on. Perhaps it is a combination of both.

Here are a few verses of scripture that are especially poignant this morning:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:4 — a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
  • Psalm 30:5 — Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
  • Matthew 5:4 — Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • Philippians 4:7 — And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Psalm 23:4 — Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

May God be with you at the beginning of this new week.  If you are in pain or are suffering loss, may you find comfort.

August 22 – Words

Words_POD_8-22-14Today’s photo challenge is Words.  I decided to include a note that is one of my favorites that I ever received from Ian.  It says, “Mommy, I will love you forever.”  Honestly, what is better than that from your child?

The photo is a little fuzzy since it is hard to take a photo of a piece of white paper.  I did the best I could. Ian wrote this for me last year when he was regularly calling me Mommy.  Now, he’ll say “Mommy, I mean Mom.”  Still not used to the new name, but I am getting there.

Seeing this sentiment in writing from my son was so very special.  This note is on the side of a photo that he drew for me.  I think it was for Mother’s Day.  Honestly, it was more special than any store-bought item could ever be.

I don’t know about you, but I love words.  Just love them!  As a writer, I spend a lot of time with words and can’t get enough. The written word in my writings, books, songs, and other writings are very special to me, as are spoken words.

One of the funniest commercials on television right now is about Words and that Words can truly hurt you.  It is a Geico commercial.  Have you seen it?  I sure hope so.  I crack up each and every time I see it.

As an editor, I have had to check the correct spelling of words as well as their usage.  This is something I also enjoy.  Another thing I like to do with words is Word Finds.  I can spend hours and hours on these. And, some days actually have.

Most people seem to either like numbers or words.  I definitely am a words person.  A few of my favorite words (but by no means all) are:

  • Love
  • Family
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Mommy or mom
  • Daddy or Dad
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Husband
  • Wife
  • I Thee Wed
  • Hug
  • Friend
  • Trust
  • Forgiveness
  • SRP
  • Brigadoon
  • Home
  • Clumping
  • Prayer
  • Belief
  • Faith
  • Be still and know that I am God
  • Trust
  • Honor
  • Respect
  • Happiness
  • School
  • Learning
  • Celebration
  • Compassion
  • Reading
  • Singing
  • Fun
  • Laughter
  • Aunt and Uncle
  • Cousin
  • Niece and Nephew
  • In-laws
  • Beautiful
  • Waves
  • Ocean
  • Beach
  • Beach house
  • Breath
  • Imagination
  • Blessings
  • Jesus loves me this I know
  • I Still Wonder Where Rainbows Come From

What are some of your favorite words? Please share them with me and our other readers.

Two Late Anniversaries!

R2_Aug.6_19thAnniv.2Hi and Happy Friday.  I am a little bit late with the anniversary wishes to my sister and her husband and my brother and his wife.

On Wednesday, August 6, my brother and his lovely bride celebrated 20 years of marriage!  Yeah and congrats to the two of you – Richmond and Beckie!  They are in the top photo on their wedding day.

On Thursday, August 7, my sister and her husband celebrated 21 years of marriage.  Yeah to them too!  Congratulations to you Cindy and Cody.  Their photo is the second one.

I had the privilege of being in Richmond and Beckie’s wedding as one of the bridesmaids.  It was a lot of fun and our dresses were lovely — deep purple with white lace and lovely jewelry as the accent.  Now they are the parents to two great kids – Isaac and Rachel.

C2_Aug.7_20th.Anniv.1In Cindy and Cody’s wedding, I was the maid of honor and that was a lot of fun.  What an honor and a lovely service.  I liked these dresses too — green and cream and we carried daisies.  They have two kids as well — Gussie and Aiden.

I love the eight of them dearly.  I have learned so much about parenting from both of these amazing couples.  And, I learned how to be an aunt who spoils the kids from these four amazing cousins of Ian’s.  Love and hugs to all of you!

I am thrilled for all of them and these amazing milestones in marriage!  We actually come from a long line of marriages.  My parents have been married for 49 years, my in-laws have been married for nearly 54 years, my mother’s parents were married for 66 years, and my mother’s grandparents were married for 70+ years.

Isn’t that amazing?  I love knowing that there are people in the world who truly stay together until death do them part.   My grandparents and great-grandparents did just that.  And next summer we will celebrate my parent’s 50th anniversary.

Kirk and I got married 5 years after my sister so we will celebrate 16 years this fall.  We will catch up with the rest of them one of these days.

A few quotes about anniversaries:

  • “Our wedding was many years ago.  The celebration continues to this day.”  ~ Gene Perret
  • “The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds – they mature slowly.” ~ Peter De Vries
  • “Love is a symbol of eternity.  It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.”  ~ Author Unknown
  • “Love is not singular except in syllable.” ~ Marvin Taylor
  • “True love stories never have endings.”  ~ Richard Bach

I grew up with one brother and one sister, and was thrilled in the mid-1990s to gain another brother and then another sister.  And, wonderful nieces and nephews were later added to the mix.

Happy 20th to Richmond and Beckie!   Happy 21st to Cindy and Cody!  Long may you love one another!

A Rainy Day

rainHi and Happy Wednesday!  Our weather today is rainy and windy with the temperature dropping throughout the day.  However, there are breaks in between the rain that we can enjoy. Right now as I look out my window, I can see the sun peaking through the clouds and it is lovely.

Today I am sad yet happy at the same time so this weather is perfect for my mood.  The health of someone dear to me is deteriorating quickly.  I have had a chance to see this person two days ago and that meant the world to me.  I hope to again very soon, but am not sure if that will be possible.  I just hope and pray that it is.

Like the sun through the clouds, there is some light with the darkness of how I am feeling. I will miss this person terribly, yet I have happiness in my heart.  You see, I know where this person is headed – to Heaven!!   That is an amazing comfort and helps me to see happiness beyond my tears.

Not that this person won’t be missed, quite the contrary.  The fact is that an amazing, long, and wonderful life has been lived.  That is wonderful and something I am learning from, and a real blessing. It is just hard to say goodbye.

Yesterday, I thought of the song, “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me.  These words made me tear up, but also made me smile.  It is a song about meeting the Lord face to face and being curious about what we’d do.  Here are most of the lyrics:

“…I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

[Chorus:]
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine.”

Aren’t those words amazing?  Knowing someone will be in the Lord’s presence soon is almost overwhelming, yet such an amazing comfort. This is helping more than I can imagine.

I wonder what my loved one will do when meeting the Lord?  It makes me truly happy to think about since there will be no more pain or suffering, but instead pure and amazing joy.

February 14 – Heart / Happy Valentine’s Day

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Friday!  Happy Valentine’s Day as well.  Today’s photo challenge is Heart.  Here is a photo that I took last year of some hearts that my son made me in preschool.  They are very special and still cherished.

My valentine is his daddy and my hubby, Kirk.  I have loved this man for 15 years and counting.  He is my best friend, confident, lover, and true love.  I am so blessed to have him in my life.  Each year gets better with him and I grow to love him even more.

When he proposed to me, he gave me a set of a dozen silk red roses.  They are lovely and I still enjoy them very much.  He has always been good at giving me real flowers too — often for no special reason.  That to me is the most special.

As a mom of a sweet boy, I have a second and very special valentine.  Our son Ian truly is a light in our life.  He brings us such happiness, along with some frustration, but mainly good stuff.  He has taught us to live in the moment and for that I am truly thankful.

Love and hearts to you!  May you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Here are a few quotes about love and Valentine’s Day:

  • “Loving is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction.”  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • “I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day.  When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.”  ~Author Unknown
  • “Love – a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker.” ~Author Unknown
  • “Love is a symbol of eternity.  It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.”  ~Author Unknown
  • “If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?”  ~Author Unknown
  • “Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart.” ~Author Unknown
  • “Grow old with me!  The best is yet to be.”  ~Robert Browning