Rocking the Boat.

I made a startling discovery this week. One that has taken me 38 years to figure out. Not everyone is like me. Shocking, I know! I have meandered through life assuming that everyone I came into contact with shared the same views, believed in the same things and behaved the same way.

Oh sure, I know all about the protesters, and atheists and generally irritable people in the world. I see them on the news and hear about them through random Facebook feeds. I am comfortable in my little world, and my little town where I believed that we all felt the same way and believed in the one and only GOD and taught our children the same values. Boy was I wrong.

This past week, I have really seen what differences there are out there. And shocker, it exists in my town. I have seen billboards go up that a group of Atheists paid for, advertising there is no God. I have come into contact, for the second time, a person that is so negative and mean and irritable that I am not sure how to handle. That they can speak to children the way they do is unbelievable and foreign to me.

I have been in two situations these past couple of weeks, where I realized that most people go with the flow and agree with the majority to just agree. I never realized this before and how easy it is to sway opinion if you just have a voice and are willing to say something. 

I wonder why it has taken me so long to come to these realizations, and if it’s just me getting older. But I do know that it’s ok to be different. It’s ok to have an opinion and speak your mind. It’s not ok to speak in a way that hurts others, especially children. It’s not ok to keep God out of schools and communities, but think it’s ok to broadcast to everyone that there is no God. If you have that right, then we as Christians have the right to pray, and keep Him in our schools and neighborhoods.

I have always been a non confrontational person. I don’t like conflict. I don’t like to rock the boat. I have been the one to agree just to keep the peace. To go with the flow. I’m not so sure that I’m like that anymore. I find myself wanting to rock the boat. That’s a scary thought to me, but one that is worth pondering. I want to stand up for my beliefs, for the right thing.

So, we’ll see how this river of change in my life goes. And if you see a boat rocking, it may just be me.

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The Case for Military Intervention in Syria

This is a great commentary that needs to be shared.

The Matt Walsh Blog

I’ve listened to the arguments and looked at the evidence. There is no doubt that President Obama and Secretary Kerry have presented a convincing case for military intervention in Syria. As they outlined, terrorists, rapists, cannibals, killers and war criminals in that country are being murdered by their government, all because they’re simply attempting to violently overthrow it. Meanwhile, both sides are butchering civilians, but one side may have killed civilians with chemicals, therefore we have to drop bombs and kill more civilians to make a point about not killing civilians. Or maybe we’re going to drop bombs and kill civilians in order to demonstrate the proper and ethical way to incinerate women and children. Certainly it’s perfectly acceptable to behead Christians and exterminate entire villages, which is why we’re aiding and abetting the folks who are doing just that. But to conduct the extermination with chemicals? That’s crossing the…

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Learning from Mistakes

I went to jail today. Before you gasp, I wasn’t in trouble with the law. I work for a lawyer and had to go visit one of our clients. I usually don’t like going out to the jail, I mean, who would? But today, I learned something.

I want to make sure my kids and their friends know what awaits them in the big world that they’re so eager to jump feet first into. And the big lesson that I want them to understand is this; every decision that you make and every action you make has an effect. It’s like throwing a stone into a pond and watching the ripples get bigger and bigger.

This client of ours could have been my daughter. A fresh-faced, naive college girl who made a mistake and didn’t learn from it. And now she is in jail. In an orange jumpsuit. For real. Is she a danger to society? No. Is she a hardened criminal? No. But because she did not learn from her previous mistake, she now has to deal with the consequences.

I think kids today believe that life has a reset button that can be pressed. That they are entitled to easy breaks and bail outs. And I think that for the most part, we’ve probably contributed to that. But all is not lost.

We just need to teach them that actions do have consequences. That they represent not only themselves in the choices that they make, but represent their family, and if you are religiously minded, as I am, you represent your God and your beliefs.

I once heard that a mistake is not a mistake if you learn from it. So, maybe this time, our client will learn and move forward and teach others. Maybe not. But my hope is that she does and that my kids know what and who they represent. Maybe we can change for the better, one ripple at a time.

Life Begins Again

We are on the home stretch. There are only 4 days left of summer. 4 more days of sleeping in for the kids, even though they are suppose to be getting in the school routine now. 4 more days of an always empty pantry no matter how often I fill it. 4 more days of precious time with my kids.

This summer has been different. At least for me. I have ALWAYS spent all summer with my kids, and this year, I have gone back to work. My husband has been able to spend time with them and impart his wisdom and do the fun stuff. It has made me realize that I took too many years for granted.

As a stay at home mom, and I know many of you can identify with this, the days seem to run into each other. That load of laundry gets rewashed a couple of times because you forget to put it in the dryer. The great intentions of being crafty and organizing something get replaced with who knows what. And the kids grow and change, but you are a part of that. Now, I feel like I am missing so much. I give kudos to all the moms who have always worked outside the home and juggled work and family. Maybe if I had always done that, I wouldn’t know what I am missing. But I do.

I miss pool days and library trips and even doing laundry. Yes, I said it. Laundry. I miss getting to spend a whole day with the hubby. But, I am blessed too. I am blessed that I am able to work, and have a job with a great company. I am thankful that I can contribute financially. There were so many times when I felt that by staying at home instead of working, I wasn’t contributing anything. I know I was wrong, but somehow getting a paycheck is validation.

So, I am ready for life to begin again. Somehow, with all the kids back in school, I feel like I won’t be missing as much being away from home during the day. So, bring on  the chaos of another school year, and running between Tuesday, Thursday and Friday night football games. Homework, schedules and PTO meetings. 4 more days until blessed chaos begins. And our life begins again.

It’s School Time Once Again

I distinctly remember telling the kids a mere 12 weeks ago, as they celebrated the last day of school, summer will fly by. In the blink of an eye, we will be picking up schedules. We blinked. We have picked up two of the four schedules, and the first day is looming ahead. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer and the late bedtimes and cereal for supper. However, I love when school resumes and puts us all back on somewhat of a routine.

But it makes me sad, too. Sad because I only have 2 more years with my oldest before he takes on the world as a high school graduate. Sad because my baby boy is a freshman this year, and I know how fast high school goes and then he will be gone, forging his way in this big world. Sad because my first-born girl is in junior high. And a cheerleader. And until this morning, had her first boyfriend, whom she promptly “broke up” with at registration because it was just “awkward.” Sad because my baby is no longer in elementary school, safe in the warm arms of the teachers that have taught all four. But I guess life is like that. Time doesn’t stand still, and there are some growing pains and sadness that precede the excitement of life.

I am taking every moment and soaking it in. The sticky, hot, two-a-day football practices that I wouldn’t miss for the world. The cheer practices and cute way Katie and her friends are finding themselves amidst the changing hormones and giggles and drama. The saying goodbye to elementary school, but still sneaking in a story read before bedtime. I know that they will all be gone before I know it, and I am trying oh so hard to hang on to now.

So, its school time once again. Time moves forward. Maybe, just maybe, this year will slow down for us all. To enjoy those moments that we will never get back. Happy school year everyone.

An Estate Sale of Memories

I drove past an estate sale not too long ago.  You know the kind, where a person’s whole life is out on the lawn or scattered through their once private home. I always find this sad and heart wrenching. As if those individuals mattered no more and their possessions were being doled out to make room for another person’s life.

I pulled over and parked and got out. I wanted to see what was left of a life long-lived. Somehow in an estate sale, even the usual garage sale items have more meaning if that’s possible. Old pillows held memories of heads laid down after a long days work. Tables were where they once gathered for holidays and birthdays and everyday meals. The clothes in the closets gave a hint to whom they once clothed. An average size woman and smaller man, who probably haven’t shopped since the 80’s.

But the items that caught my eye and held my heart, were the family pictures left behind. Pictures of small children once playing in this very same yard, many summers ago. Pictures of vacations and parties and quiet moments stolen by a camera lens. Why didn’t any family come back and claim these pictures? Why are they left to be pawed through by strangers? It’s as if the family and those memories never existed. There’s no one to carry those memories forward and share them with their children.

I hope that one day, our family items and memories will be lovingly passed on and shared. So that our existence meant something. Maybe that family is being passed on and shared. Even if it’s with strangers. Maybe it’s our job to create a place for those memories. So, I now have a collection of books that someone once read and an antique water pitcher that poured water beside someone’s bed at night. Those memories have a new place. In our home.

A Cup of Coffee is Love.

A cup of coffee is more than a warm cup of goodness waiting to usher us into a new day. It can be a cup of comfort in a hospital waiting room, or a hand warmer on a chilly fall day as we sit by a warm fire. It can also mean love.

My husband surprised me yesterday morning with a tall travel mug of piping hot java fresh from the fire station kitchen as he was getting off duty. It was made just the way I like it, more cream than coffee, and I happily took it from him on my way out of the door to work. I sipped on it my entire drive to the office and finished it off as I began my work day. The coffee did more than energize me or warm me from the inside. It made me realize that it wasn’t about the drink, it was about love. That small gesture from my husband let me know that he was thinking about me and that he loved me. Often, he gets so busy putting out fires figuratively and physically at work, that we miss those small moments of “Hey, I love you and I’m thinking about you.”

We used to have a lot of those before I went back to work full-time. We would lazily spend his one day off together before the kids got home from school. We called them our toes up days. We would watch movies or he would (unhappily) accompany me to the grocery store just to spend time together. Now, we’re lucky to grab an hour or two in the evenings. So, that cup of coffee meant more to me than he could know. It meant that he still thinks about me and still loves me.

This morning when I sipped on my own, not as good cup of wake up, I smiled a little and thought of yesterday. That cup of coffee was love.