Monday, June 22, 2009

Signing Off for Now

I've been wondering why I'm losing sleep over politics and government. It's been annoying me. The past few days I've been reminded that when I'm afraid, I get angry. There aren't many things that I'm afraid of, so when fear does creep its way into my mind and heart, it can wreak havoc. I loathe fear. All the reasons why are a post for another day. Last week, it became crystal clear to me that my fear manifests itself as anger. And who better to fuss about than politicians and journalists? But, it's not so much politics, government, the media's blithering or their irrational, obsessive love-fest with our Celebrity in Chief that's the cause of my sleepness nights. It's not really even anger keeping me up at night. What it all boils down to is fear.

It's the upcoming move. I'm afraid to move again. Sounds ridiculous for a girl who's moved 8 times in 16 years to suddenly be afraid of move number 9, doesn't it? Ridiculous as it may be, I'm afraid. And I can sum it all up in just 2 simple words: my children. Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

Victoria: This upcoming September 25, my daughter would have turned 13. With each move, in some ways, I face her death all over again. Obviously it isn't with the excruciating intensity and sorrow of a recent loss, but it's there...a silent, painful rip at my heart. It actually makes my chest hurt. I dread the first walk into church, school, wherever. People believe they are seeing my family. No one knows my oldest child is missing, that my family portraits are incomplete. And, do they even care? No. Because they don't know to care. How can anyone know? They make simple, benign statements. Something like: "Oh, these must be all of your children."
Cue the knots in my stomach and lump in my throat. Cue the screaming in my head (because my heart is yelling up to my brain that it's forgetting someone): "No, these are not all of my children. I have another child, I have another child."
But, once again, the brain will beat the heart as I reply: "Yes, these are my children."
I can't really explain it. All I can think of is that it might be like you introducing your children to new people, you acknowledge all but one. But not only do you ignore the one, you also pretend the child doesn't even exist. Because if you don't play the pretend game, everyone wants to run out of the room since you've made them all so uncomfortable.

I fear facing the loss of my daughter again. I fear the moments when my heart and head battle it have four children...just say you have have four children....just say you have three.

Next, we have Eleven Year Old: He will be leaving wonderful friends. I have shed countless tears, in the privacy of my closet, over the past week. This past Friday was my boys' last day of school. My heart ached as my oldest son barely made it through the door and into the living room before the tears began to freely flow. He knows he will make new friends. He knows this is just one more great adventure....his head knows, but his heart is taking a beating.

He has four of the greatest friends a mother could wish her kids to have. These four boys are sports fanatics, athletes to the core. My son is not. He can play sports, but he doesn't really love it. He plays basketball with them at recess, not because he necessarily loves to play, but because he appreciates their interests. And they in turn, appreciate his. My child is an artist, a writer, an actor. These boys made it a priority to show up at art shows and contests, making sure Eleven Year Old always felt supported. One mother cried as she said to me last week: "He has taught our boys that it's totally cool to write stories and draw. There is life beyond sports." Of course, I cried as I responded: "But your boys have taught him it's ok for him to just be himself, and that it's completely cool to be a little different."

My son had a truly amazing teacher this year. Mr.Thompson changed Eleven Year Old's life in a dramatic way. He taught my child life lessons stretching far beyond the academics. He insisted that my boy stay true to himself, to stand up for what he believes in, and to be proud of who he is. When my son started a petition requesting "free seating" at lunch, a few teachers tried to shoot down the idea. They told him he couldn't do it. But, my son's teacher stepped in and asked why. Here was a child trying to make a difference in a school of over 800 elementary kids. And, he was doing so in a most respectful, thoughtful way.

Mr.Thompson encouraged my son to do what he thought was right, and to never be afraid. Because of his support, my son found the courage to keep going with the petition. He even went to the office and requested a meeting with the principal. It worked, and the kids got their free seating. This may seem like no big deal, but it made a difference in my son's life.

I fear we've used up our good karma. I am scared that my "a little different" artist son may not find friends like he has here...especially as we venture back to the South, where baseball is king. I fear that my child may never have another teacher like his 5th grade teacher. I'm afraid of middle school, especially middle school in a new place.

And then there's Seven Year Old: This kid loves life. He is as laid-back and go-with-the-flow as any boy can be. Often, he acts before thinking things through. He is rowdy and silly, but has a tender little heart. He cried on the last day of school also. I can see that he's a little nervous about moving, but doesn't want to admit it. He had a fantastic teacher this year too.

I fear we won't be so blessed in the teacher department next year. Maybe we've used up our fabulous teacher credits. And this boy needs a loving and patient teacher. One that is equal parts firm and caring.

And last, but not least, Princie: We've made such progress with her. She'll be starting Kindergarten in the fall. We are leaving people who already know and love her. A school community that was happily looking forward to her arrival.

I fear the move is going to throw us back to where we were 2-3 months ago. And I won't lie, I am terrified. I don't want to go back there! It was painful and heartbreaking and beyond exhausting. I fear we won't find people so willing to help her, so willing to love her.

That's it, in a nutshell...albeit a very big nutshell. It's fear. And I loathe fear. But, in the midst of the fear (if I take a moment to be still), I have glimpses of peace and comfort. Reminders that
I'm not completely alone. Last week, Misc.&Etc. posted about fear. And, if you don't already know, Snarky Mama FINALLY posted on her blog. HOORAY! Her first post? All about fear. She & I never discussed any of this.

Then I received this beauty from
Seraphim...a reminder that no matter where I go, no matter how many people don't know....someone, somewhere, does know...and is remembering my child. I'm not too proud to admit my emotions are running high lately. No surprise this made me cry. It's so beautiful. Thank you Seraphim, thank you.

The movers will be here in just three days. So, I'm signing off for now. I won't be back until I am moved and can find the computer; although, I could hijack Eleven Year Old's laptop if necessary. And while I'm gone, I'll be fighting the fears.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7


Friday, June 19, 2009


Arrogant. Prideful to a fault. Bitter. Disrespectful. Oh, I have about a hundred other words to describe this woman's embarrassing display of ego. (And I promise you that ma'am is NOT on my list!) I don't know if she felt the need to show her rear-end because she's seriously that impressed with herself, or because she's so enormously insecure that she has to demand being addressed by her "title". I've heard there are women offended by being called ma'am because they feel a need to take the feminist agenda to every extreme imaginable. I guess some women complain it makes them feel "old"....Oh good grief, whiny-whiny-whiny.

Regardless of her reasoning, this was completely uncalled for, absolutely ridiculous and just plain rude. Military protocol advises the use of "sir" and "ma'am" when addressing anyone higher on the chain of command than the officer. Clearly, this Brigadier General meant no disrespect! But it's evident public servant Boxer did. If not, she seriously needs to reconsider her tone as well as the manner in which she presents herself. Otherwise, some could view this display as a reflection of how the extreme & farthest left wingnuts truly feel about our military men & women who serve & protect.

Military personnel are not the only ones who use the terms. Most Southerners use the words to show respect and to be polite. (Just an interjection...I tire of people telling my children they don't have to say sir and ma'am. They are my children, and yes they have to!) Again, I don't know what Boxer's issues with the word ma'am might be. And quite frankly, if I tried, I could not care less. I say if she (or anyone else for that matter) has a problem with ma'am and sir...well, get over it. Just like I have to get over a whole lot of crap in this country based on the "culture" and/or "orientation" of others!

I certainly hope SENATOR Boxer is referring to all of you California voters as "boss" because she does work for you; although, I'm guessing she conveniently forgets that minor detail as often as possible.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Janet Has Spoken...I Hope Someone Listens

Over the past two weeks, my mind has been racing with thoughts. None of which I could transform into coherent, fluent sentences. Lately, I can't even watch the news because when I do, I feel like a ton of bricks has been slammed firmly on my chest. I keep telling myself to let things go. Reminding myself that our upcoming move is what matters right now. Once I get settled, I can go back to being my annoyingly-passionate-about-all-things-political-self. Because really, I just don't have it in me right now.

Thankfully, Janet has it in her. She is sick of both parties, and the failure of our elected officials to represent her. She wrote an open letter to our nation's leaders (and I use that term "leader" very loosely). She emailed the letter to Glenn Beck. Now some of you are going to click right off this page simply because I mentioned Glenn Beck, and you don't like Glenn Beck. Oh grow up. I don't care much for Keith Olbermann (for pete's sake, he spews when he yells into the camera, and why doesn't someone on his staff suggest he wipe the scummy spit out of his hinges during commercial break). But if you told me there was something important that had been aired on his show, something that I could learn and benefit from, I would read on. Honestly, if you don't read Janet's letter because of your feelings about Glenn Beck, you'll be missing out on a great opportunity. I know, I know it's a long letter, and you're busy. It's still worth your time.
At the very least scroll down and read the last 3 paragraphs! But seriously, please just read the letter!

First, I've posted an excerpt from her interview on Glenn Beck's show. It's followed by the letter she wrote.

JANET: Well, I don't want this. I don't want this fight, Glenn. I don't have the time or the energy or the financial resources for it, but that no longer matters. It no longer matters that I'm able or that I want this fight. I have to take it on. It's not a matter of choice anymore, which is why I wrote the letter.
GLENN: Janet, you have gosh, you just make my heart, you just make my heart so full because this is what I...I don't remember the occasion but I remember I was on the air and somebody saying, you know, why are you talking about the financial stuff? You're just talking everybody down and you're talking the economy down and you're just trying to scare everybody. And I remember passionately with tears in my eyes saying, "I don't want to be this person. I don't want to say these things, but I have to." And to hear you say that, I know exactly what you mean and I'm hearing it more and more.

***(I just have to interject something here....I know how they feel!! I understand. I get it, and I'm tired of people who don't get it attempting to make me feel like a crazy loon because I'm passionate about what's happening in this country! Sometimes even the Captain just shakes his head at me. He doesn't understand my fire when it comes to this stuff; however, he never makes me feel like a loon...thanks sweet husband!)***

JANET: No, I would rather mow my lawn and wash my car and play with my grandchildren.
GLENN: Who wouldn't.
JANET: But I can't now. I cannot, every minute of my spare time now has to be devoted to getting these guys out of office.
GLENN: Janet, how long did it take you to write that letter?
JANET: Probably two hours. Because you go back and you tweak.
GLENN: Have you ever written anything before?
JANET: Yeah, a few things but I mean, not published things but, yes.
GLENN: May I, may I make a prediction. Your letter, in the next 72 hours, will be a letter that is circulated through a good portion of this country on the Internet. I have a feeling your letter may become a rallying cry.
JANET: I hope so.
GLENN: I think it will.
JANET: Because when I tried to e mail it to our representatives and our senators, most of my e mail was blocked, not in their district; they're not interested. But you know what? I don't care if I'm in their district. I'm coming for them, too.
GLENN: Janet, I know for a fact that the White House watches my program. I know that the halls of congress, I've talked to enough people in congress and the Senate that they watch, and those who are on the receiving end of our investigations or our opinions, they watch more than those who are not. Your letter is going to be heard today in Washington and we're putting a petition together with your letter in the free e mail newsletter today. So that goes to about a million people alone there, and I'm going to ask them to please pass it on to all of their friends and let's just watch what happens in the next, in the next week.
JANET: That would be great. The other part of this is the invisible people who can and do represent my views need to come out of the shadows.
GLENN: To stand up.
JANET: I don't know who they are. They're going to get washed away with the rest of them if they don't have the courage to stand up.

Janet's letter:
I'm a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views, or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This isn't to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don't you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let's just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

Ohhhhh, I love it!! Thank you Janet! Go here to read the entire interview, and here to sign the letter.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Princie's Puzzle Peace

I owe some of you a great, big thank you. If I could give you a giant squeeze of love, I would! Thank you to those of you who pray. Thank you to those of you who may not pray, but never fail to send loving, peaceful thoughts my way. It's working Snarkettes, it is working!

I've hesitated sharing this because I'm afraid if I put it out there, I'm just asking for trouble. Just asking for a "jinx", or something of that nature. But my next thought is always this: I will not live in fear of the unknown and the what-ifs. I did that for many years, and really no good ever came of it. And anyway, I like to think I have more faith than that. Surely my verbalizing something, or putting it on this blog does not hold such power. That's what the rational me says. But the not-so-faithful, not-so-rational me says beware the verbalizing or writing of the good news. So, in spite of the nagging negative whisper in my crazy head and in honor of the rational, faithful me....Here goes......

It's been 28, that's right, 28 days since Princie had one of the dreaded, massive, heartwrenching, wear-us-down-to-the-bone meltdowns. Of course we have miles to go, but considering where we started, I find this to be no small feat! Can you believe it? I can. Because I believe in the power of prayer and good vibes. And I am grateful to those of you who have compassionately prayed for and thought of my family recently. Honestly, I wasn't sure I could handle all that's happening in our lives right now, plus Princie's struggle. In all honesty, I was pretty sure I was going to crack (and it was going to be sooner rather than later, and oh so ugly). For those of you who have a child with sensory issues, etc. and have prayed relentlessly, with no relief from the meltdowns and struggles, please know my heart hurts for you. As I have mentioned time and time again on this blog, I don't understand why things work the way they do. I don't understand why Princie can go 28 days with no meltdown, but another child can't go 28 minutes without one. I do know just weeks ago, she was the child who couldn't go 28 minutes without one. I also know we aren't out of the woods. She could have a meltdown 60 seconds after I hit the "publish post" button. In the next week or two, she will most likely have a massive meltdown. But, we are taking it one moment at a time. And expressing gratitude for each day that passes with only a small episode, or even episode at all.

More than anything, I believe my ability to handle this situation has increased. And perspective is often (as Snarky Mama would say) a "game-changer". One of my favorite quotes is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do...not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased." Lately, I've felt strengthened and I know that strength to persist comes from my Father in Heaven. I've spent a lot of time in prayer, pleading that I could find more beneficial ways of mothering my daughter, that I could be guided to something that might ease her struggles. In this situation, I believe that's been key. I haven't prayed that my child would be changed. Just that I could change my parenting, that I could better face the challenges and help this little person find peace. Again, that's this particular situation. And every challenge we are faced with requires a different approach. I guess what I'm saying is that I know there are times when praying for a healing from affliction or pain is the best thing to do. But this time, I knew in my gut what had to, my perspective, my inability to just stop and think about ways to reach her...those things had to change, not my child.

All of that said, would you like to know what has brought the greatest peace and joy to Princie over the past few weeks? PUZZLES. Jigsaw puzzles to be exact. She is the most content I've seen her in months! Now before you look at the pictures, you should know that this is her work. She likes for us to be in the room with her, but doesn't want our help. So we set up her little table in the middle of the living room, and away she went.You know how most people begin with the outer edges? Not Princie. She dumps the pieces out, and just grabs one, and then another, etc. She will scan the pieces, until she finds the fitting piece. She never looks at the box, and I have yet to figure out how she can do this so quickly. I'm not kidding, it's fascinating to watch. Ok, so I'm her mother, of course I'm fascinated.

It all began with the 100 piece Shrek puzzle, followed the very next day by the 150 piece Princess puzzle. After finishing the Princess one, she says to me: "These are too easy, like they're for babies or something." (I have to add here that the pieces aren't that big either.) Then, Nana came to visit and bought her a 150 piece Fancy Nancy puzzle. (Fancy Nancy is currently undergoing PuzzleSaver surgery and is unable to be photographed.) Princie would put these three puzzles together, take them apart, put them back together, take them apart...over and over again.

The next step? Nana bought Princie a 300 piece Fairy puzzle. I was unsure...the box said ages 9 and up, these pieces are smaller (1:1 ratio) than the ones in the other puzzles, a lot of the colors in this puzzle are so similar. Couldn't this pose a problem for a child who just turned 5 in March, and doesn't look at the box? Apparently not.

And that my friends is the story of how Princie found Peace....
well, for the time being anyway!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Peace of Mind

(Added June 10, 2009) Honestly, I had hoped I wouldn't have to even write about the following situation, but I'm afraid it could be negatively impacting the legitimate, selfless efforts of Amy. You may have heard about the "April Rose" blog ordeal. I am not going to get into all of it, but the bottom line is this: A very disturbed individual portrayed herself as a pregnant mother carrying a baby who was not going to live. This woman was embraced by a community of grieving mothers who wanted to support her. If you would like to know more about the situation go here or here. After this, I will not spend any time on the topic. This woman needs help and prayers. She is clearly not well. That said, I am concerned this could deter people from donating to Amy's Peace of Mind Fund. Amy and I have been in contact, and we agree that it would be unfortunate for those who really need our help to suffer because of the actions of one very sick individual. We can't allow the actions of one person to erode the hope and faith of others.

God winked at me Saturday morning. That wink was the catalyst for my last post. On Saturday, I posted about what God winks are. Now I'm going to tell you about how He winked at me.

Friday night I went to bed angry. I don't like being angry, and I can tell the difference between anger and passion. Most days, I am passionate about politics. But Friday night, I was livid. When I first began blogging, I made a promise to myself that passionate venting would be okay, but I would do my best to let anger subside before ever posting. Friday night, I went to bed instead of blogging. In my prayer before bed, I asked God to help me get over my anger. I prayed specifically, because I have no doubt that God answers specifics. I mentioned to God that I was going to blog about those political things that were so upsetting to me....unless I woke up Saturday morning with something better to write about, unless I woke up to thoughts more important than those political ones running through my crazy head.

Saturday morning when I woke up, I wasn't angry anymore. I thought over the list of political issues that I had allowed to upset me the night before, and I just didn't have it in me that morning. So instead of posting, I checked my email.

A blogging friend of mine,
Amy, had emailed me. Amy's first child, Alexis, was stillborn January 15, 2009 due to a cord accident. Just a few short months ago, this 24 year old mother buried her child. And do you know what her email was asking? It was asking if I would be willing to help Amy in her efforts to support another grieving mother. She simply asked that I share her latest project with you. This amazing woman, still in the throes of her own grief journey, is focused on easing the burden of another. The pure love of Christ, there is nothing greater. And I knew in that moment, God was winking at me. There was definitely something better to write about that morning.

When Amy found out she was having a baby girl,
she began making bows for Alexis. Although Alexis will never wear the bows made by her sweet mother, Amy continues to create them with love and care for others. This is where you and I come in. Amy's friends, Natalie & Rob, have also felt the devastation of stillbirth. Amy's words are far better than my own, so could you please go here and read about Natalie & Rob. Find out what you can do to help ease their burden. If you make a donation (even just one dollar or two) you will be entered in my giveaway. I am not trying to pressure anyone, just acting on something that touched my heart deeply. I was only 23 when my daughter died. I know that it doesn't matter how old you are when you lose a child, the pain is horrific and your heart is ripped to shreds. But I do think I feel drawn to Amy and Natalie because they are young mothers, just as I was when Victoria was stillborn.

You could be the lucky winner of one of Amy's adorable creations. If you don't have a daughter young enough for one of the headbands, you could always give it as a gift. Just be sure to leave me a comment letting me know you donated (I wish I didn't have to do this, but I'll be checking with Amy to make sure you did, in fact, make a donation...thanks for understanding.) Also, if you add the Peace of Mind button to your blog, you get an extra entry! Be sure you tell me in your comment if you added the button.

Two headbands=Two winners!

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about being a "doer", about getting things done in our own little corners of this great, big world? Well this is a way we can get something done. I often hear people speaking with great cynicism about efforts that only help one or two out of the millions suffering. But my feeling is that we have to start somewhere. And while I may not be able to bring peace of mind to every mother out there, that won't stop me from helping the one person I can. With a little effort, from a lot of people, we can give comfort to two young parents who have suffered greatly. And Amy, thank you for showing such strength and courage in the midst of your own unimaginable pain. I know Alexis is proudly looking down at her mother, and I don't think it's too far-fetched to believe she and God are both giving you a little wink.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Open Eyes, Shut Mouth

How many times are blessings laid at our feet and instead of graciously accepting them, we talk our way out of receiving them? I can't even begin to imagine how full my life would be if I opened my eyes and shut my mouth more frequently. Why do I sometimes feel compelled to intellectually talk my way around what is very clearly a blessing from God? Why is it easy for me to accept the "big" blessings as having come directly from God? But the smaller day-to-day things that make me smile or feel relief? Well, I'm embarrassed to admit, I often blow those off with thoughts like: "Well, that's weird", "Surely that didn't just happen", or "What the?".

How often are we most worn down by the stresses of day-to-day living? Having fifty different places to be and too many people vying for our attention? How often do we wish, during those hectic hours, for just one minute of reprieve? Each morning I pray that I can find joy in the journey and be more patient...each night I pray that I can do better the next day. And all the while, God is winking at me. He is reaching out, sending small blessings each day. Blessings that I downplay as too trivial to have come from God. And yet, each one somehow eases my daily burden. Each one is a tiny miracle. But rather than accept the tiny miracle, I run my mouth, talking my way around the blessing He is trying to give me!

(I should add here that I always offer prayers of thanks for things like finding a close parking spot on a rainy day, or not getting stuck in traffic, etc. It's the "coincidences" I have trouble accepting...the little gifts I didn't ask for that make my day brighter and happier. This is striking me as very odd because I have no trouble accepting the little pains of life that I didn't ask for, the ones that make my day a little stormier. I blow those off with: "Oh well, that's life.")

I saw the video below several weeks ago, and have frequently thought of it ever since. Then, Snarky Mama was here and she mentioned it too. I've been thinking back on the past weeks and can't deny that God has "winked" at me more than once. I've learned my lesson. I will start acknowledging those winks; otherwise, He just might tire of winking at me. No more arguing, no more chalking it up to "the universe". I'm going to accept with gratitude and thanksgiving all that He offers, not only the "big" blessings, but the tiniest winks as well.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Please Tell Me We Get an "A" for Effort

This is how scripture study and family prayer goes down at our house:

Last night, I sat on the couch next to Eleven Year Old. Immediately, Princie wanted to sit in my lap. This child NEVER wants to sit in my lap. But, seeing me cuddled on the couch with Eleven Year Old brought Princie close to panic as she squealed that she "does better" in someone's lap.

Kindly, Seven Year Old offered his lap. (This could easily be noted as mistake #1 of scripture study time) Princie hopped in his lap and proceeded to chop at Seven Year Old's legs with her "kawate hands". We told her to stop, she did (for the time being), and The Captain started reading.

The main topic of the passage was fasting. So, we took a moment to make sure Princie (since she is only 5) understood what it means to fast. I am certain Seven Year Old totally gets it because, well...he's seven. This is not a concept unfamiliar to him. And, he will be baptized in August, so surely he knows what we're talking about. Really, he knows!

Anyway, The Captain paused and I explained fasting in terms suited for young children. Seven Year Old was clearly not captivated, and had much more important things on his mind (important things like why Obama gets to use a teleprompter for speeches, but when Eleven Year Old gives his speech at the 5th grade's Simulated Congressional Hearings, he won't get to use a teleprompter...yep, that's right....scripture study wasn't on Seven Year Old's mind, but teleprompters rank top notch!)

So, we continued plugging along. No amount of interrupting, "kawate" chopping of knees and legs, laughing, etc. could stop us. We have a job to do, and darn it all, we WILL prevail! (Here I would like to mention that Snarky Mama was in attendance as she is here for a visit. Did she help you ask? That would be a NO, she just sat back in the recliner and enjoyed the show, relishing the moment.)

After reading, and several explanations of fasting, the rest of our time went like this:

The Captain: Princie, what did you learn tonight?
Princie: No talking during scriptures.

Me: Seven Year Old, why do we fast?
Seven Year Old: Because the food might be poisonous.
Me: Oh come on, I just told you 50 times why we fast.
Seven Year Old: Maybe the bad person put poison in your food, so don't eat it.

Let's try that again, I think to myself.

Me: When we fast, we save the money that we would have spent on our food, and we give it to others who need food.
Seven Year Old: Soooo, we're losing money, not saving money. We lose money when we fast.

Ok, count me as D-O-N-E, DONE!

The Captain to Snarky Mama: Nana, what did you learn tonight?
Eleven Year Old: That she never wants to have scripture study with us again.

The Captain: Everybody kneel down for prayer, please. Princie would you say the prayer for us?
Princie says the prayer.
After the amens, Seven Year Old begins to clap.
The Captain: Hey buddy, thanks for being nice to your sister, but we want to be reverent and we don't really clap after prayers.
Seven Year Old: Well, why not? She's good at it.

Okay then. See you tomorrow night...same time, same place.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Sanctity of Life

You know how I feel about partial birth abortion. The very thought of someone being able to leave a baby, on a cold table in a dark room, to die disgusts me. The thought of a physician (who took an oath to "first do no harm") being capable of taking the life of an infant who survived an abortion sickens me. It makes my heart literally ache.

Some have called Dr. George Tiller courageous. I could not disagree more vehemently. No one will ever convince me that performing partial birth abortions is an act of courage. I can think of many men and women who are, in fact, courageous....George Tiller will never be on that list. I believe he broke the law each time he performed a partial birth abortion. That said, I am saddened by his recent murder. I don't believe this man "deserved to die". I don't believe his family deserves the sorrow that has now been inflicted upon them. I believe that life is sacred, every life...not just the lives of those who believe as I do and make choices I feel are appropriate.

It's heartbreaking that the debate between pro-life and pro-choice advocates is often played out in a theatre of war. In our passion and drive to protect innocent babies, as well as their mothers (who most probably face circumstances we can not comprehend), we must move with compassion and love. Taking a doctor's life will never bring back the hundreds of thousands taken through abortion. Taking the life of George Tiller will neither end abortion, nor open the hearts of those who believe it's acceptable to leave a baby to die....a baby that was born alive in spite of the act meant to take his or her little life. However, taking the life of George Tiller will leave yet another family in despair. It will further the divide between those who are pro-life and those who are pro-choice. This war will continue to rage on. I sincerely wish the debate could be conducted with understanding and compassion, as opposed to ridicule and malice. And I'm referring to those on both sides of the divide.

My dear blogger friend,
Laretha at Beauty Unveiled, wrote a thought-provoking post yesterday. You can read it here. A quote she posted struck me. This is from Representative Scott Schwab of Kansas: "I think Tiller was a law-breaker, but this is not how you win by winning hearts, not by stopping them from beating."

How true is that statement? While I don't believe we have the power to change hearts, I do believe we can win hearts with love, we can soften hearts with compassion. God can change hearts that are soft and willing. How much in this world could be turned around if we attempted to win hearts before stopping them from beating? I can't say for certain, but I'm all for giving it a try. What I do know is that giving it a try couldn't hurt. It really couldn't hurt.