Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No More Useless Words

It's a pretty safe bet that no one will ever peg me as too politically correct. I think it's the "politically" part of that phrase that keeps me completely uninterested. I mean, really, how many things can be both political and correct? Most days I look around and see political correctness run amuck. It grates on every one of my nerves. I will even admit that sometimes I purposely choose political incorrectness...just to annoy the p.c. police. (It's really liberating, you should try it sometime!)

I wonder why phrases like politically correct have overtaken common courtesy and decency in our society. There are a lot of words you will hear me say, some are nice: please, thank you, excuse me, I'm sorry, You only have two items, go right ahead, etc. You know, those simple words that could really improve day to day life in this country.

But some of my words, they aren't quite as nice: bite me, jackass jerk, idiot, waste of skin (I could go on and on here). You know, those simple words that don't improve much of anything except my mood, and allow me to let off steam.

Then, there are the words you will never hear me use. They are useless words. Words that I choose not to speak...not because I'm afraid the p.c. police will come after me, but because no good comes from them. They sting and humiliate. Now, you may say that some of my above-mentioned words sting and humiliate. Probably so. I do make attempts at filtering rather than speaking those words aloud...well, unless I'm yelling them at the computer, or t.v. (And, as I've said before, as long as Pelosi is sittin' on the Hill, idiot will be firmly planted in my vocabulary.)

Two words that have always made me uncomfortable are retard and retarded. When I hear those words, I feel unsettled. I instantly look around, hoping no one else heard them as well. Those two words are useless. For many, they are painful words. I've heard kids use the word when talking to a friend: "Dude, you are such a retard." or "Why do you act so retarded?" I've asked why they use those words. Often the response is something along the lines of: "I didn't mean anything by it." or "I was just joking around." Well, then that's perfect. If you didn't mean anything by it, it shouldn't be too difficult replacing those words with something else.

Today, the Special Olympics launched a campaign to stop the use of the R-word. I don't believe this is political correctness run amuck. This is about the preservation of dignity. I see this campaign as a way of honoring, and showing respect to, people who deserve it...they deserve respect simply because of who they are. I was especially touched to learn that the campaign plan was devised by a group of students attending a Special Olympics youth summit. The group included students with and without disabilities. Because of their efforts, over 700 rallies and events were held today, kicking off the "Spread the Word to End the Word" campaign.

This has been on my mind recently, as I've read blogs concerning the topic. It struck me that had Victoria lived, I probably wouldn't have waited for a Special Olympics campaign to spread the word. There is no doubt, that in addition to extreme physical disabilities, she would have had severe intellectual disabilities. So, if those words pop into your mind, please do me a favor. Could you remember my precious baby girl? Surely, you would never have disrespected or humiliated her. I'm certainly not intending to make anyone feel badly, or to make myself sound holier-than-thou...just scroll back up and reread my words (remember bite me, and jackass jerk). I have more than enough to work on.

I am committed to this campaign. The Special Olympics has super cool "Spread the Word" tshirts for sale. So, I've decided it's time for another tshirt GIVEAWAY! Yippee!! To be entered, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post, then visit the R-word site (yes, site meter will spill the beans on whether or not you visited R-word). Followers get an extra entry...that's right, there are times a girl has no shame. Winner will be randomly selected...that means I let Princie pull a name out of her Cowgirl hat! We're so high tech like that.

Monday, March 30, 2009

No Way This Chick is 50!

Princie received this little lovely as a birthday gift from a friend.

Look at that butt, you could bounce quarters off of it. I hear she's just turned 50. If this is the new 50, I'm outta luck...in a big, big way! Go ahead. Just click on that picture. Take it all in, bask in Barbie's MANUFACTURED gloriousness. (I know gloriousness isn't really a word, I just like the way it sounds.)

Me (to The Captain): Well, I can't say for sure what a doll like this does for a little girl's self-esteem, or to her thoughts of what beauty really is, but I sure as heck know what it does to mine.

The Captain: Seriously, that is just nasty. What man would even want a woman who looked like that? It's just gross.

Good answer Captain, good answer!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


The Captain and I have done quite a bit of talking the past few days. He isn't completely comfortable with my sharing our current Princie situation. At first I was extremely defensive. After all, the premise of this blog is "Unlocking the Silence". I wouldn't want anyone to mistake my not writing about this for shame or denial. NOTHING could be further from the truth as there is nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to deny. But, my husband and I are a team, and I value his input greatly.

After a lot of thinking, I came to a conclusion. Every blog serves a purpose. I don't feel that our current journey with Princie fits the purpose of my blog. Honestly, at this point, I don't know enough about her struggles to really put it all out there.

I can not begin to express my thanks for your kind comments and support. That's why I shared the experience in the first place. I believed I would be lifted by your words, and I was exactly right. Thank you.

Finding the blog balance is not always the easiest thing to do. I'm working on that.
I'll be back soon, my time-out has almost completely been served. Peace.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Goldfish Crackers Are Totally Sunny Side Up

So yummy, those little goldfish crackers, with their salty melt-in-your-mouth goodness and friendly little smile. I don't know a kid under seven who doesn't love a goldfish cracker (that's not to say there isn't one out there, I just haven't met him/her yet). Maybe it's the teacher in me? I don't know, but I have to admit...I love goldfish crackers. In fact, the little guys make me feel happy. You probably find that odd. (But that's okay, seeing as how you already know I'm odd.) When I think of goldfish crackers, I think of snack time at preschool, my kids chillin' in the recliners, zoo trips, and 16 hours riding in the car to visit grandparents. All of which (including the extreme road trips), I find delightful.

I have been thinking about optimism for a solid week. Optimistic isn't a word I would normally use to describe myself, but neither is pessimistic. I don't usually see things as "glass half-full" or "glass half-empty"...I'm more of a "there's juice in that glass" kind of girl. Accepting the amount that's in the glass...I am truly grateful if it has the amount I need or want. And I look for ways to add to what's in the glass, if there isn't enough. For the most part, I see things for what they are. Realistic is the word I would normally use to describe myself. (I know some of you think when I write about politics, I am pessimistic. Of course, I disagree. I just put it all out there, and hope we can make things better.)

But, throughout the past week, I realized that when it comes to children (mine and other people's), I am a complete optimist. For me to make it in this world as a mother and teacher, I have to be optimistic. If not, I would probably throw in the towel. And that's just not an option. Because if I give up, there are children who will feel the consequences. There are examples upon examples of this in all of our lives.

I teach at a preschool that draws in a large Korean community. Last year, a three year old girl entered my classroom knowing only two words of English. I had no idea what I was going to do. But, I knew that I had to remain optimistic, even especially on the days we both wanted to cry because of the frustrating barrier that separated us. Deep down, I really believed that if we worked together (and this included her parents, who were completely dedicated to improving their own English skills so they could help their daughter), this little girl would be able to acclimate and easily make friends with other children in the classroom. It was no simple task. But when we combined a positive outlook with the efforts of hard-working parents, classmates, and teachers, we found success. This year, I have been blessed with the privilege of teaching this child again. Last week, she handed me a piece of paper. On that paper she had written her name, and the entire alphabet. "You taught me this.", she said. She has become quite the little classroom leader. She is compassionate and happy as can be. There were days last year when thoughts of failure crept into my mind. But, I didn't let them stay for long. Neither did she. We didn't have a choice.

When I see my sick little boyfriend (for those of you who don't know who he is, read this), I see complete healing. I choose to feel optimistic. When I think of my new found "baby lost mama" friends, I know they will have opportunities to be mothers again. Notice that word again? They are already mothers. When I look at my own children, I believe they will find success and happiness. When I think of my Victoria, I know I will see her again. Do you understand? Throwing in the towel is not an option here. It would serve no good purpose. I have learned it's possible to be a realist about mostly everything, while being a complete optimist when it comes to something else. My "something else" is children, all of them.

Pepperidge Farms, the maker of our tasty little goldfish friends, has partnered with Dr. Reivich, co-author of "The Optimistic Child" and head of a research program (studying the benefits of positive thinking) at the University of Pittsburgh. She is also a mother, which of course adds to her credibility in this arena. They have begun a movement called "Fishful Thinking". It's an initiative dedicated to raising Optimistic, Resilient, and Empowered children. I am definitely on board with this project! It's all so Sunny Side Up, just like The Captain!

And, to add to the excitement, Tiffany is sponsoring an Optimism Pays contest. Check it out, and if you are feeling the love, leave her a comment with a vote for me! If I win, I'll share my goldfish crackers with you. Because, that's just the kind of girl I am!

p.s. Coming Soon: A tribute to some lovely ladies....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Greatest Show on Earth

The United States Congress looks like a freakin' three ring circus. What a bunch of clowns. You know what? I take that back...that statement is completely unfair to all of the authentic circus and rodeo clowns, who happen to be much more respectable and hard-working than the idiot ones on The Hill.

The lack of stimulus bill "transparency" has been a concern for many of us. The hasty handout of taxpayer money never made us feel at ease. But, we thought we'd give it a chance because the greatest show on Earth convinced us that if things didn't happen IMMEDIATELY, our demise was inevitable. So, one of two things happened: (1.) No one had the presence of mind to consider that bailout money would be used to pay execs' bonuses OR (2.) The clowns just hoped nobody would catch wind of what was being slipped in through the back tent. Frankly, neither of those options make me the least bit comfortable.

Chris Dodd is all over the place. Bless his heart, he doesn't know which way is up. He didn't know the "loophole language" was there. But then he did know, and he wanted it removed. But now he thinks he didn't really know after all. Confused? Yeah, so is he. There was a provision in the original stimulus legislation that would have banned the bonuses. It was removed. Wednesday, Mr. Dodd said his staff agreed to requests, made by the administration, to remove the executive pay provision.

Barney Frank is foaming at the mouth, and well, it's just not pretty. He wants the names of any AIG execs who refuse to return their bonuses. Many of these bonus recipients are already receiving more than they bargained for...death threats. It has been reported that the threats include things like: "They should be executed with piano wire around their necks."

Now, while I am completely appalled and disgusted by our tax money paying millions in bonuses, I am also appalled by this talk of piano wire executions. It's disturbing actually. And made even more so by the fact that Barney Frank fuels this dangerous fire. He is demanding the names and says it's possible their anonymity will be refused. Look, I get that this sucks. But, it also sucks when the very people responsible (for giving away our money with no provisions for its use), become so grossly cavalier. Mr. Frank, we have a justice system, and it doesn't involve piano wire. You are a strange little man, aren't you?

The bottom line is, if Congressional leaders (and I really hesitate even using that word, leaders) had paid as much attention to the bailout "language" as they plan on paying to those who don't return the bonus money, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. So, I've written a letter to the three ring circus performers on The Hill.

Dear Ringmaster Pelosi and Bunch of Idiot Clowns,
We aren't falling for your tricks. We aren't impressed by your rush to damn the
executives and their bonuses. If anything, we're a little puzzled. You gave them our money, now you want to burn them at the stake for using what you gave them? Surely you didn't believe they could be trusted to wisely use taxpayer money? I wonder...Maybe it was much more about showing them that they could trust you. We're wondering why you removed provisions that would have held them accountable for how our money was spent. But then, you rarely take the high road do you? The only thing you really care about stimulating is your power trip. You should know, the American people aren't enjoying your show. Your show stinks.

We want our money back. And no, tickets to a future show won't cut it! We want our hard-earned nickels and dimes put back into our piggy banks where they belong.
Bite Me,

I began writing this earlier in the day, as I watched the circus show unfold. Since then, a bill has been passed to heavily tax AIG bonus money. I sincerely tried to remain bi-partisan here, but Pelosi just ruins it every time! She really had the nerve to thank Democratic leaders for "protecting the national interest". Good grief! She is thanking the very people who allowed the executive bonus "loophole language" fiasco to take place. When someone trashes my house, so sorry, but I'm not going to thank them for cleaning it up....especially when the only reason they want to clean up is so they can look like a hero.

Monday, March 16, 2009


It started back in October. Seven Year Old saw the infamous Snuggie commercial. Actually, the five of us were watching t.v. together. When the commercial came on, The Captain and Eleven Year Old began their mocking of the Snuggie. If you know those two, you can easily imagine the scene.

Seven Year Old was not amused. In fact, he was embarrassed. The Captain, Eleven Year Old, and I were laughing and saying, "Who would ever wear one of those...That is the dumbest thing I've ever seen!" At the very same time, Seven Year Old said, "Oh, I really want one of those. I really do." Silence. Pretty certain we heard crickets. Absolutely certain we all felt like jerks. Commence the back-pedaling. "Oh. Umm. See, we just meant, uhh, who would really wear that to a football game? Ummm, sure, yes, around the house. You are so right, they do look very comfy and soft. I can totally see why you would want that."

Long story short, when Snarky Mother-in-Law heard this, she remedied the situation. She makes kids' dreams come true. No way would anyone make her adorable little guy feel foolish. She ordered his Snuggie, and luckily the deal was buy one, get one free...plus two booklights! The great delivery occurred in January. To our surprise, we hit the jackpot. Because the order had been delayed for so long, we received not two, but four Snuggies. Go team!

Since then, Seven Year Old can be found wrapped in his Snuggie, kicked back in the recliner. He loves his life. As for the rest of us? Eleven Year Old and I use them as blankets. Princie parades around in hers. They are ohhhhh so comfy cozy.

The Captain? Well he hasn't gotten on board with it...not in the slightest...unless of course he's in the mood to entertain us. In that case, he wears the Snuggie like a toga, or fashioned in some other ridiculous manner. Last night he came strutting through the kitchen, wearing a Snuggie. He danced around, got a lot of laughs, and then struck a pose.

The pose looked something like this (Eleven Year Old reenacting the pose):

Princie yelled: "Hey, it's Jesus! And he's wearing my Smuttie!"
Consider yourselves warned. Beware the Smuttie.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Believe....Followed By Random "Idol"ness

We are survivors. Warriors. Mothers of children who left this earth far too soon, and anytime is far too soon. Women yearning to become mothers for the first time. Mothers of children living on this earth, the healthy children and the sick children. Mothers yearning to have another child. Strong, brave, and true...even when it seems we are just surviving. Even when we feel we aren't doing the whole survival thing as well as we should. But, we're doing it. Strong, brave, and true.

I once told my mother that I was truly at the end of my rope. I told her I felt as though I had only two options. I could tie my rope into a noose and step off the cliff. Or I could keep hanging on, even though I was most certainly slipping...slipping because I could only hold on with my thumb and pinkie, and the rope was shredding. My mother's reaction was one of tears and hurt for me. But she and I both knew that I had to make the choice. We both knew that even though she wanted desperately to pull my rope up and save me, it wasn't her choice to make.

She could only give words of encouragement, words of strength and hope. She would have to wait until I got to a point where I could grab her hand. While there are times when others can reach down and pull us up, there are also times when we have to fight the battle ourselves. Find a way to grab that rope with both hands, not just a tiny pinkie and thumb. Hold on with all of our might. Listen to those words from others. Scratch and claw the rocks and dirt, until we are close enough to grab the outstretched hands of those who want to help us.

Some days our surviving, our scratching and clawing, may lead to the seemingly simple feat of getting out of bed. If you are the person finding their way out of bed, it is far beyond a simple feat. Warriors and Survivors, with our vastly different beliefs and circumstances, find a way to hang on, to hold out for better days ahead. I wonder, what keeps you hanging on? Where do you find that inner strength needed to grab the rope and pull yourself up...either all the way up, or just far enough to take hold of outstretched hands?

I believe in God, The Eternal Father. I believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior. I believe in hope, peace, love, and joy. I have faith in those things. I believe in the sanctity of families and friendships. I believe in prayer and fasting with a purpose. I believe in miracles. I also believe there are times we don't get our miracle. I believe it's ok to wonder and question. I don't understand much of what happens in this great big world of ours. I am finally ok with not understanding. I am also perfectly comfortable with you not believing as I do.

Truth is a personal thing. What is truth to me, truth I believe with every fiber of my being, is not truth to others. And others believe their truth with every fiber of their being as well. My point is that people believe just exactly what they want to believe. That in no way means our beliefs take all the pain away, or that our beliefs right all the world's wrongs. It means we have found our personal method of survival. It means we have found our way to be a warrior, even when we are completely battle weary.

Some of us believe in God, some of us don't. Some of us are religious and spiritual, some of us are neither. But our similarities far exceed our differences. We are open to the beliefs of others. We understand that although we may not always agree, we can and should find common ground. We want to find the good in this life.

So, what do you believe? Where do you find that strength to keep pulling yourself up? It doesn't much matter to me...not in the "I don't care" kind of way. I mean, it doesn't matter to me if you find the strength from God, nature, friends, music...just as long as you KEEP GOING. Keep scratching and clawing your way up that rocky cliff.

And that voice you hear? You'll be glad to know, you aren't crazy after all. It's my voice. Cheering you on. Whispering, sometimes yelling, words of hope and strength. Maybe we have known each other for years? Maybe we just met recently? It's possible we have never even met. But I'm here, and you can grab my outstretched hand whenever you are ready. Because you need to know, I believe in better days ahead. I believe in your ability to survive. And for now, even if you don't believe you are a warrior, that's ok. I'll believe it for you.

And now, for something more light-hearted...and very random.
Because The Captain is currently chief resident, he had a med student from Thailand assigned to him. I've written in the past of The Captain's modesty, his unbelievable humility. But people, I think the Thai med student attempted to change my man! The Thai guy had this to say in an email: "I will never forget you. I will think of you not as a supervisor, but forever as my idol. Meeting you was my best of luck." WHAT? Idol?? NO. No way can I live with a Thai Idol under my roof. To top it all off, the med student gave The Captain a beautiful tie. A really beautful tie. It's made of fine silk, came from Thailand, and is the color of Thai royalty. FanFreakinTastic!! What if he gets some big idea...like he starts believing he really is royalty, and royalty doesn't do laundry! Surely you see my predicament? Thanks Thai guy. Thanks a lot.

My last bit of random "idol"ness. I'm sorry. I just can't let this go. There is a lovely young lady on American Idol. She is seriously cute as a button, tatted up, and I love her quirkiness. The problem is, she is just so extremely awkward when she moves. It verges on painful to watch. And I really like her. If any of you know this young lady, do her a favor. Could you just strap her to a chair when she sings? I think this might increase her chances of moving forward in the competition. If you are opposed to that, fine, I'll just close my eyes when she sings.

Happy Friday Snarkettes and Snarkers. Keep on keepin' on!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More of the Same

Snarky Mama loves Cher. I don't get it, but hey, I also have some music picks that are puzzling. So I say, whatever floats your boat. I credit Cher with giving my mother the following quote (which I've heard countless times in my life): "Big crowd at the crazy house".
Well friends, that's how I feel about Washington. Big crowd at the crazy house? No doubt!

I am beginning to believe there is very little "Change We Can Believe In", as far as politics are concerned. And NO, I am not being negative. This is our reality! I don't know exactly how to make it better, but you can rest assured, I work on thoughts and ideas every single day. Negativity would be b*t**ing and moaning about things. Whining and not doing my part to improve our country. I'm trying, I really am. I send emails. I make phone calls. And I won't stop, even when it feels as though my efforts are in vain.

The latest "more of the same" is found below, from an AP article by Andrew Taylor.

In proposing only modest changes in how lawmakers finance their pet projects, President Barack Obama tossed aside a golden opportunity to work with Sen. John McCain. Instead, the president stood foursquare with his Democratic allies, the people he needs most to advance his ambitious agenda.

McCain is the top sponsor of a proposal to give the president more power to cut spending from bills project by project, a kind of line-item veto lite called "expedited rescission" that's been around since the early 1990s. But when it came to discussing how to deal with so-called earmarks on Wednesday, Obama had nothing to say about McCain's idea.

Little wonder. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid don't like it. And a fleeting alliance with McCain isn't as important as good relations with those who regulate the flow of legislation in Congress.

Just Tuesday, Obama's budget director said Obama would probably support legislation introduced by McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to award Obama the beefed-up rescission powers. "The president during his campaign spoke about a line-item veto that would need to be done in a constitutionally valid way," said White House budget chief Peter Orszag. "Enhanced rescission powers are also a possibility."
Asked about the idea last month, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama would "love to take that for a test drive."

My how things changed between Tuesday and Wednesday. From "test drive" to no drive in just one day. Why? Keep reading.....

On Wednesday, during a meeting in which Obama's earmark proposal was finalized, the president sided with the old-school Democrats. They view expedited rescissions — both the House and Senate would vote on whether to accept a recommended list of cuts shortly after receiving it — as an intrusion into the prerogatives of Congress.
The White House has signaled that Obama will use the existing rescissions process to identify waste in the just-enacted omnibus bill and send it to Congress. But Democratic leaders could ignore the missive; under McCain's legislation a vote would be guaranteed.

We will continue to do business as usual in Washington regarding earmarks," McCain said. "The president could have resolved this issue in one statement — no more unauthorized pork-barrel projects — and pledged to use his veto pen to stop them. This is an opportunity missed."

In his comments on earmarks Wednesday, Obama sounded more like a defender of earmarks than a critic. "Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts, and that's why I've opposed their outright elimination," he said.

Monday, March 9, 2009

They're At It Again

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the only remaining groups you can (without fear of repercussion) persecute, distort facts about, and mock. HBO is at it again. The church's official statement regarding an upcoming episode of Big Love included this: Before the first season of the HBO series Big Love aired more than two years ago, the show’s creators and HBO executives assured the Church that the series wouldn’t be about Mormons. However, Internet references to Big Love indicate that more and more Mormon themes are now being woven into the show and that the characters are often unsympathetic figures who come across as narrow and self-righteous. And according to TV Guide, it now seems the show’s writers are to depict what they understand to be sacred temple ceremonies.

Apparently the writers hired some disgruntled "ex-Mormon" to fill them in on the nitty-gritty details. You know the details, all secretive and whacked out crazy....ughhh! Let me just say, for the record, the only people who call the ceremonies "secret" are people who have never participated, or those who are no longer invited to attend because of their own choices. There is truly a tremendous difference between secret and sacred. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not call their experiences sacred because they are hiding something. It really does make me laugh when people, who think they know so much, insinuate that we use the word sacred because it sounds better than secret.

Now that I think about it, why would I be surprised at this nonsensical portrayal? Almost NOTHING in this world is sacred anymore! I can really only think of two things left that most people in this country find sacred: (1.) the name of Barack Obama and (2.) protecting the "rights" of everyone except conservative Christians. So it really shouldn't be a shock that this is how HBO will present their material. They have no understanding of sacred. Instead of being angry, I just feel sorry for them. I always feel sorry for stupid people. They really are a sad, sad lot.

I have to say, it's not too edgy on the part of the Big Love writers either. Not if you consider, as I mentioned before, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is never off limits. Mocking Muslims, Jews, the Pope, Hispanics, African-Americans, it's all off limits. Or at the very least, if it does happen, the act will be met with some sort of disapproval from at least a few media outlets. But Mormons? Never off limits. Why? I believe these words from the church's statement say it perfectly:
...when expressing themselves in the public arena (referring to emailing HBO, etc.), Latter-day Saints should conduct themselves with dignity and thoughtfulness. Not only is this the model that Jesus Christ taught and demonstrated in his own life, but it also reflects the reality of the strength and maturity of Church members today. As someone recently said, “This isn’t 1830, and there aren’t just six of us anymore.” In other words, with a global membership of thirteen and a half million there is no need to feel defensive when the Church is moving forward so rapidly. The Church’s strength is in its faithful members in 170-plus countries, and there is no evidence that extreme misrepresentations in the media that appeal only to a narrow audience have any long-term negative effect on the Church.

Now comes another series of Big Love, and despite earlier assurances from HBO it once again blurs the distinctions between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the show’s fictional non-Mormon characters and their practices. Such things say much more about the insensitivities of writers, producers and TV executives than they say about Latter-day Saints. If the Church allowed critics and opponents to choose the ground on which its battles are fought, it would risk being distracted from the focus and mission it has pursued successfully for nearly 180 years. Instead, the Church itself will determine its own course as it continues to preach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Just a little head's up from Snarky to the Haters...we aren't going anywhere. I am happy to answer questions about my church. You should also know that I respect every person's right to exercise free will, and make their own choices about what they believe or don't believe. Too bad you can't show me that same level of respect. You will not find me trying to convince you of anything, there will be no attempts at persuading you to believe as I do. Because you are going to believe whatever you WANT to believe. But, know this...The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has survived things FAR worse than a Hollywood tv show full of false information. And yes, I have in fact watched the show a few times. I wanted to see for myself what is was like. I thought it was ridiculous. It very simply played on the multitude of misconceptions and stereotypes floating around out there. And quite frankly, that isn't too hard to do, definitely not a task requiring great writers.

Haters, this one's for you: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44) With love from Snarky.

And for those of you who wish to express your lack of appreciation to HBO (with dignity and thoughtfulness of course), go here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Whiny, Whiny, Whiny, Blah, Blah, Blah

Last night I was actually awake for the eleven o'clock news. That was a feat of great endurance for me. I am not a night owl. In fact, I want my rear in bed by 9 p.m. so I can read until I fall asleep. That's the perfect ending to any day. Ok, get off the sleep tangent and focus.

There was a report about the Baltimore Police Commissioner and his efforts to reach out to neighborhoods with the highest crime. He and a slew of officers set out on foot. They walked up and down the streets, knocking on doors and asking people to join them. The purpose was to bring people together, to have a presence of law-abiding, hard-working citizens and police officers united. Could you please answer this question: Is it just some strange law of nature that there has to be at least one punk, at least one whiny jackass in every crowd? Tell me, seriously, did I miss that rule somewhere?

Most of the people were thrilled with the efforts being made on their behalf. Some said they felt "uplifted" by the fact that the Commissioner and his officers were out walking through the neighborhoods, showing their concern and support. The officers went door to door, asking people to join them in their walk. They ended with a large crowd and the evening was considered a success.

But I have to tell you the part that absolutely baffled me. The Commissioner approached a group of 4-5 people, I would say somewhere in their late 20s to mid 30s. He asked the group to join them. Their response was one of whiny, whiny, whiny, blah, blah, blah. One man said that he wouldn't waste his time "walkin' nowhere with nobody" because it wouldn't change anything. The others piped in with the same opinions, and I'm not going to lie, I quit listening. These people want to blame all their problems on lack of opportunity, poor education, and capitalism. Granted, there are desperately needed changes in our society. But, one of those is change of self! If someone offers a chance to make improvements, even if they are only slight improvements, why wouldn't you want to take action?

It's crystal clear what some people want, or should I say demand. They demand change that is handed to them on a golden Obama platter. They want to fuss and whine about how mistreated they are. Complain about how everything is stacked against them. When it comes right down to it, they are not willing to take that walk to improve anything. They won't put forth one ounce of effort to better themselves or their neighborhoods. They feel entitled. Somebody else is to blame for everything, and that somebody else needs to fix it all. More jobs, more money, more education...those things will not fix what ails this group. Because, they have no desire to do anything. People like those who refused the walk simply prefer everyone else do the work. They expect others to work and contribute to "the system", thus improving their lives for them. All the while they moan and groan about how unfair life is, and how nobody does enough to help them.
They speak of Dr. King and Rosa Parks, but they don't know who those two people really were. They don't appreciate or consider that Dr. King and Rosa Parks were more than happy to take the walks, never expecting somebody else to walk for them.

Thankfully, because many more chose to join the walk than chose to sit back and bellyache, the night was a success. There were smiles, laughter, and feelings of unity. Those who joined the walk, they are the ones who will make things better. They understand the effort it takes to improve things, just as Dr. King and Rosa Parks understood. I can only hope the whiny, whiny, whiny, blah, blah, blahers don't ruin things for everyone else.

And now for a little link love. My wonderful blogging friend, Little Jill, wrote a fantastic post about the economy. She doesn't really care much for whiners either. I like this girl...so happy to have found her! Go check out what she wrote, you'll enjoy it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The One You've Been Waiting For

Some would say I haven't been myself lately. Actually, I have been every bit myself. News of my little 5 year old "boyfriend" being so ill hit me hard. (For those who didn't already read about it, he is one of my preschoolers.) I have cried at least once everyday since I found out. I've tried not to cry, not to think on it. But that's not me. I had to process it, feel every ounce of it, and now I can handle it. I was feeling apologetic, feeling my reaction to this sadness has been a reaction of weakness. Last night I realized I have handled things just exactly as I should have. Not the way someone else should, but as I should. I love this child, and his family.

He has a tumor on his brainstem. I saw him at school yesterday. Such a gift, the chance to love and hug on him. He showed off his port that was inserted on Monday (for his chemo and other meds). I watch him in amazement. So innocent. How could it not hurt my heart? So, I'm not feeling apologetic anymore. It is completely ok for me to have taken the past week or two to cry it out. I have decided that taking a little time to allow my heart to hurt for others is not weakness. In fact, I wonder if maybe it could be strength...in some weird, make myself feel better sort of way?

I have to give credit where credit is due. My little boyfriend is not the only one on my mind. Princie is contributing MORE than her fair share to my tears recently. I have pulled from my hat, every teacher and mother trick available. I have read multiple books. Nothing. No reprieve. So I sucked it up, threw my pride to the curb. We paid a visit to the pediatrician and are currently on our way to solutions. That visit + this quote from President Thomas S. Monson (courtesy of Snarky Mama, thank you very much): "Sisters, do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities...pray for abilities equal to your tasks." = Ahhhh, relief. I slept last night. Didn't wake up one time. Nice.

So when am I getting to the "what you've been waiting for" part? Right now. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I have a most embarrassing moment sure to make you blush on my behalf. I feel like telling you about it this morning. Just some good ol', laugh at yourself, kind of fun. I must warn you that I've told this story before, and some people don't think it's funny. They think its level of humiliation far exceeds the value of its humor. Yeah, I felt that way for a long time too. But now, I just laugh (really hard) when I think about it. Oh crap, now I've built it up and you won't think it's funny either! Crap. Look, just leave a comment anyway (yes this includes you closet readers), please leave a comment so I don't feel like the complete idiot that I am! I thank you in advance.

I was not allowed to date until I turned 16. Prior to my 16th birthday, my parents drove me to the Homecoming football games as well as to and from any school dances I attended. I didn't turn 16 until my junior year. But, I had liked the same guy since my sophomore year. He knew I couldn't officially date until I was 16, so he hung out at my house a lot. We were "going out"....yep, even though I couldn't go anywhere at all. I should insert a very important tidbit here...his father and sisters despised me. (Pretty sure his sisters still do. What is it with me that I find that so funny?) Why did they dislike me so? Because I am a...GASP!....Mormon. Oh the horror! In their opinion, I was going to lead this guy straight down the road to hell.

I remember when he gave me his class ring (class rings were a big deal back in 1987-88ish). I didn't have it long at all when his father made him come to my house, break up with me, and take the ring back.

Now the next part is a little fuzzy. Snarky Mama can probably remember...she has a memory that is scary good. Somehow, his father agreed to us seeing each other; although, I'm fairly certain his entire church was praying that this young man would survive the evil Mormon girl. (This is when I began to realize that people believe exactly what they want to believe. Even though our church bears the name of Jesus Christ, and even though I am absolutely a Christian, there are people who choose to believe otherwise. You might be surprised at how very little I care.)

When I turned 16, he was my first real date. He told me he had a surprise planned. (I'm confident this experience led to my loathing surprises.)
I was beyond excited for this date. He picked me up and took me to his house. His parents and sisters were home. He took me upstairs to their gameroom. We walked in and there stood his best friend (one of the absolute sweetest guys around) in a tux! The best friend informed me that he would be our server that evening. Oh my gosh, I couldn't believe it. There was a table set for two, there were candles, soft music. I think I remember flowers, but it was a long time ago.

Now keep in mind, when I was 16 I was not the person I am now. Most everything made me nervous and I was far from comfortable in my own skin. So, the plan was for us to have dinner and then watch a movie. I had been too nervous to eat before he picked me up from my house. I was so hungry!!! And that hunger brought with it a dilemma. No way was I going to really eat in front of this guy. Pick at my food, move things around on the plate? Yes. But really eat? No way. The best friend served us our dinner. It was all so lovely, mixed with I think I might vomit I'm so nervous.

Well, my boyfriend decided to go downstairs with best friend to get dessert, or something. When they left, I promptly began inhaling my food. I was like an animal. Chalk it up to nerve-induced temporary insanity, but I shoveled the food into my mouth like a crazy person. And holy cow, the green beans were seriously delicious!! So delicious that I (are you ready for this?), I snatched green beans from my boyfriend's plate and ate them!! Ohhhh, yes I did. I mean grabbed them up and snarfed them down. I was acting like a maniac, an absolute maniac who had not eaten in months. Did I mention how hungry I was, did I mention temporary insanity? (By the way, if you could see me reenact the snatching and inhaling of food, you might wet yourself from laughing so hard. I've seen that happen twice during the telling of this story.)

So after attacking my food and the food of my date, I sat and waited for them to return from downstairs. I picked at my dessert. After all, that's what proper Southern girls do....not to mention, I had just eaten a bushel of green beans. No, he didn't ask if I knew what happened to his beans...he didn't really notice because best friend server dude took our plates. WHEW! I was in the clear.

We watched our movie and then it was time for him to drive me home. We walked downstairs. As we were walking out the door, his father announced that our entire evening had been videoed. Yes, you read that correctly. The whole thing was on video. A tripod had been set up and hidden behind some stupid fake ficus trees...I hate stupid fake ficus trees. I held myself together until I got home. I walked into my house and burst into tears. My boyfriend had no idea why I was so upset,and I couldn't even tell my parents what had happened. I ran to my room. I vaguely remember the phone ringing. He called to tell my parents that he and his entire freakin' family had watched the video. Obviously, he now understood why I was so upset.

Mortified. Embarrassed beyond belief. Adding to the misery was knowing how much his sisters hated me. Over the years I have watched America's Funniest Home Videos and wondered if his family still has that video. Probably not, but I'm thinking some serious cash could come from my humiliation, and I most certainly would demand my share!

I learned a lot from that experience.
#1: Teen girls, just hurry up and be comfortable in your own skin already. Had I been, I would have just eaten the blasted beans, and asked for more if I was hungry.
#2: If I'm hungry, I'm going to eat. Pushing food around on a plate is so lame. The Captain says one of the reasons he fell for me was my willingness to order something besides a salad. And I was happy to eat whatever I did order. Apparently, I was one of the only girls he'd ever dated who would do that. Cool.
#3: Oh I am soooooo happy I was a good girl who could be trusted. Can you even imagine how much worse that would have been if anything more than my frenzied eating and us watching a movie had taken place? Yikes. In fact, truth be told, I think that's why his father set the tripod up in the first place. How happy it would have made that man to get some dirt on the Mormon girl. HA! Too bad.
#4: Don't video people without them knowing it. Really, there's just no use. Unless you think your nanny is beating your child, that might constitute secret recordings.
#5: Your most embarrassing, most humiliating moments might just end up being the ones that make you laugh the hardest....twenty years later.

Remember, I really need you to leave a comment for this one.
Don't make me beg.
Not after the things I just shared!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Outta My Way Mountain

Twice last week people mentioned Kahlil Gibran to me. Interesting. I figured maybe there was something to it. I received this book as a gift in 1990.

It's a favorite. Over the course of 19 years, I've read it countless times. But, I must admit, not recently. So during my weekend of refueling, I read it. Three times. As usual, I was not disappointed. It is an impossibility for me to read the works of Kahlil Gibran and not do some thinking.

Have you ever attempted to move a mountain with your faith? You know, that faith, tiny as an itsy-bitsy mustard seed. Let me tell you...sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. There are times when that mountain is just not meant to be moved. Just because faith CAN move mountains does not mean faith WILL move mountains. And staring at it doesn't work either. If our faith won't move it, what happens next? For me, I think it's more about moving ourselves beyond the mountain.

I really can't stand it when people say things like:
"Well, if you just pray hard enough you'll get your miracle."
"If you just pray, with enough faith, that person will be healed."
"If you just have enough faith, it will all work out."

False, False, False. All of it. False. "It will all work out" is just not a phrase many people in the middle of a mountainous struggle care to hear. Most likely, any person with any amount of faith believes that things will eventually work out. The eventually part is what we have a problem with, ok? Not to mention that something "working out" does not mean it will be pain free. So, how about saying something like: "I'm sorry you are having to go through this." or "I am thinking of you, and keeping you in my prayers." I understand most people have the best of intentions, but intentions don't make those statements any easier to stomach.

Because of things taking place in my life, I've recently spent a lot of time thinking about children. All of them. The ones born still. The ones born healthy who grow to bring parents joy and worry beyond belief. The children not yet conceived, but yearned for by so many. The children who are sick, whose parents look ahead at a mountain that could be moved by faith, but in this case for reasons unknown to them, will not be. This will make sense later in the post, but I believe every child, those found on this earth as well as those not on this earth are "living arrows".

Our individual circumstances are vastly different, but there are common threads that weave us together. Love. Joy. Heartache. Sorrow. Mountains. My hope is that we face our mountains with courage. Use faith to move that mountain, because if it is to be moved, we can do it. And, if it is not meant to be moved, I hope we find the faith necessary to move ourselves beyond the mountain.

Kahlil Gibran wrote:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies, but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might,that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Here's to finding peace, joy, and happiness, even as we bend in the archer's hand.