I did in fact meet my best friend in college!
Should you have
Some pains that ache
I will ease them
Should you have
I will soothe you
Should you have
An injured pride
I will heal it
Should you have
Burdens too great
I will bear them
Should you have
Lost your way
I will find you
Should you have
An empty hand
Mine will fill it
My love for you
Will shift the words
And change them to…
You shall have
No aches nor pains
Fear is now set free
You shall have
No more second guessing
You shall have
A lighter load
Light will guide you home
You shall have
A hand in yours
And my heart forever more!
Written for my Valentine
February 14, 2015
By Kristin Kinczel
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 43 trips to carry that many people.
Originally posted on HarsH ReaLiTy:
Write for me your pain so honestly that the paper tears from your weeping words. Write for me your truth as you see it, so that I see it. Write for me your day in perfectly created word strings that are the footsteps of your life. Write for me so that I may know you write for yourself. Write so that I may understand the beauty of writing.
This past Tuesday morning I earned a soul sucking black star of motherhood! That’s right, I said the black star. Oh, you’ve never heard of the black star of motherhood? Well good! I hope you never do, but just so that you have a point of reference, the soul sucking black star is the antithesis to the shiny ego boosting sticker slick gold star of everything that is good in the mother hood!
To be fair to myself I do try to hold myself up to some really, really, really far out of my reach role models: my mother (if you know Patty you know I am never reaching that goal, even though she wouldn’t say that, then there is my sister in law Susan whom I swear God used up everything perfect with, again I know she doesn’t think that but I do, and then last but not least my best friend Becky who seems to take everything life throws at her and tosses it back with a laugh). Frankly all three of those ladies deserve every bit of praise that comes their way! Then there is me…some days I think I was put together with paper scraps from a kindergarten class. Ok enough self pity….back to the black star…
So Tuesday morning I was asked to give a brief presentation to some really important people at work about some of the great things we are all doing. The presentation was slated for 7:30 am, I take my daughters to school usually at 7:45am and work is 45 min away. No worries! I preplanned their morning ride, was up extra early, had their clothes clean, dried and ready to go, a rather lovely breakfast prepared (to make up for my rushing off), extra special lunches packed and book bags, coats and boots neatly waiting by the side door. Seriously! True Story!
The morning was going great! Daughter one up and fed, daughter two up (I am leaving in 5 minutes), as she comes downstairs and I start to show her where her breakfast is my 13 year old very calmly (in a way I never heard her before) states that the toilet is overflowing upstairs. Not to worry, she says, if I will stop the water from running she will clean it up (awww). Of course I say no…. I run upstairs as the soul sucking black star slowly starts to take over, where I see at least an inch of water, I stop the water from running, then run downstairs for more towels only to observe my daughter staring at the ceiling in horror as it is raining…INSIDE!
Now I am in full blown Death Star mode! Not my most shining moment (I do actually have some though….). My oldest knows I have a work presentation that morning and she remains remarkably calm and I realize for the first time in awhile, that she actually cares about me (I knew she loved me, but she also cares!). And, where I, the 43 year old mother, was unable to demonstrate grace in a situation that certainly demanded it, my daughter, actually both of my daughters, were able to make up for my inadequacies and display grace when I could not. At my eldest’ urging to leave so not to be late and reassurance that all would be ok, I left.
And after 15 minutes when I could again think straight, I cried. Because in that moment of my second floor leaking into my first, my mascara leaking into my blouse, one of my worst mom moments ever, I realized I had just experienced an answered prayer and a realized dream for my daughters.
While I had a speech prepared for the morning, I was not at all happy with it and had been praying for days that God would provide me with the right words to say. The events of the morning would become the theme of my speech (an answered prayer). By the way, God knew what He was doing!
Next up, a realized dream….From the moment I knew I was to give birth to a daughter and then two years later a second daughter my hopes and dreams for them would that they be happy in whatever they chose to do and most importantly, each be a better woman than I am. Their ability to demonstrate grace at their age when I could not at mine brings me great pride and much peace, because already they are better than I am (thus a realized dream).
So, while Tuesday morning went nothing like I planned and I over-reacted to an ordinary everyday situation like a complete lunatic I earned my soul sucking black star and I wear it with pride! Because I know that my daughters are amazing and going to be just fine, despite their mother!
Halloween is undoubtably my most favorite secular (Wiccan’s, please accept my threefold apology…) holiday!!!! Typically I begin gearing up for this fun-filled night of merriment and make believe months in advance by researching costumes, crazy artistic make-up, creating decorations and lawn props, and decorating my house in a theme that borders on a special Halloween episode of Hoarders!
But this year, my heart just wasn’t in the spirit of shall we say, the spirits? I didn’t even decorate my house until almost two weeks before the 31st (before moving to a new city November of last year my old neighbors probably would have called the police to see if I was still breathing or they may have been elated, depends on the neighbor).
Part of the trouble has been, my heart is in a different state right now, I’m grieving from afar for a friend that recently lost a child, I’m really busy with my work and most importantly my wonderful, amazing daughters are outgrowing my child-like wonder for all things spooky!
I didn’t even buy a real pumpkin this year! Seriously! How can I say I love Halloween and I didn’t even carve a Jack-O-Lantern?????? Ever since reading the Littlest Pumpkin I have felt it my sworn Halloween duty to rescue the last, ugliest, most misshapen pumpkin in the patch on Halloween. This year I let a poor, sad pumpkin down!
Being a single mom of two new teenage girls is really hard, especially on Halloween. I used to love discovering their costumes with them. Now, because they wear “Junior” sizes almost every female costume starts with words like sexy, or minx, or hot! Really? Can’t they just wear paper bags? Somehow those would probably look suggestive too!
The costume hunting did turn out ok though as one was a ninja (my absolute all time favorite and I’m going on a diet just so I can wear it myself costume and the other was well I guess I’m not sure, maybe she was scary spice?…).
Usually I get to dress up for handing out the candy but this year I was given rules! No dressing up, no causing embarrassment, just be boring plain old vanilla ice cream (and for anyone that knows me, I am definitely no Stepford Wife, well, I’m also not a wife anymore either, lol). So I was boring mom…I did have a sweet Halloween play list going though (I got several compliments and not just from adults either).
Strangely enough, I had several new neighbors stopping by prior to the onslaught of trick or treaters sharing with me advice on how to hand out trick or treat candy (really, should have been a clue)… 1. Don’t open my door (how do you hand out candy and not open your door?), 2. Stay outside, 3. Use a fire pit to keep warm (I don’t have a fire pit??? So I did the next best thing and hooked up my space heater).
I was boring, ready and well prepared, outside, with my space heater and 10 bags of candy (starting and ending with giving one piece per child)! Guess what my neighbors DIDN’T TELL ME???? They didn’t tell me I live on trick or treat street and should expect anywhere from 200 kids on a slow night to upwards of 400!!!!!!! I ran out of 10 bags of candy in 35 minutes!!!!!! Did I say I only gave out 1 piece of candy per trick-or-treater??
So, now here I am, plain old vanilla, don’t embarrass the children mom running out of candy. Dear Lord, I was horrified! And, worried about the retribution from angry trick or treaters! And, then comes the first unexpected treat of the night!
As I’m hastily trying to make my escape with empty candy bowl, wet blanket and space heater in hand, up the driveway come 4 strapping teenage boys dressed in I don’t know what because I tried not to look up (if I can’t see you then you can’t see me right?). I profusely apologize for running out of candy. Instead of the expected grumbling and bad mouthing they say “that’s ok, Happy Halloween” and then they ask, “do you need any help?” What???
Good thing my jaw is attached because it would have hurt hitting the pavement! Really? Whomever is raising those boys in 2014 is doing one heck of a great job and I salute those parents! The crazy thing is this happened two more times before I got inside and the lights turned off, all with practically the same well wishes and offers to help. My faith in adolescents is renewed!!!
The funny trick part about Halloween Night was, it really was and still is funny, was that all of my neighbors recognized I was new and they were well aware I would run out of candy. In fact, as a couple of parents on my street walked by with their kids I apologized to them also and they just giggled this knowing laugh and said welcome to the neighborhood! Apparently it’s a right of passage on Summit Drive to experience your first Halloween by running out of candy. I did ask one of my neighbors that I know well why they didn’t tell me how many kids would show up. Their response? “You didn’t ask.” Guess what, I didn’t. Lesson learned little miss can’t be wrong!
So, after getting myself together I decided to come out of my shell a bit and wander down the street to the amazing Halloween house known as the “chain saw guys.” Long story short… It’s a family and their friends who spend weeks doing up the house and their garage like a theme from the movie Halloween with a city wide reputation for Halloween awesomeness.
They all have chainsaws, less the chain part and scare the bejeebers out of most adults and a good amount of kids too. To soothe the fears of parents they offer a place to sit and a beverage (the micro-brewery kind) while the kids can then make the coolest things with glow sticks, light up wands and swords, which they get to keep, and they also give out huge candy bars! Where were these people when I was a kid???
Their own children are in college now and they actually came home for the hallowed and haunting festivities. This may not sound like a big deal but since most of them go to OU, home of the biggest college Halloween party in Ohio, it’s a big deal and a testimony to this family and the importance of family, friends and traditions.
So, I moseyed on down to the chain saw house and introduced myself as being “new” on the street (1 year next week) and my first Halloween on Summit Drive. I also quickly let them know I ran out of candy. After we all laughed and I became known as the newbie I made some really cool new friends who even came by today to help me take down (IN THE SNOW) what lame decorations I had put up.
So, while my heart was more haunted than haunting this Halloween and I’m learning that being the mom of teenagers is much harder than being the mom of 10 and 12 year olds, what I really learned this year is that kids can surprise you, traditions, family and friends are rock solid foundations, and new neighbors can really lift your spirits!
And by the way, My teenage Ninja and Spice girl? Yes, they trick or treated with their friends and yes, they were at the chain saw house (after I was). The Best part of Halloween 2014? The girls were home with me, their plain old vanilla ice cream mom, 15 minutes after trick or treat was over to show me their loot and share their night with me! So, maybe I can handle being plain old vanilla. Because when you combine plain old vanilla with two amazing young women you don’t get plain, you get a Sundae!
Love this rug and the tips on how to manage your stitches if the rug curls up or down!
Originally posted on thestitchsharer:
Since making my Zpagetti yarn bag I have had plans to make a crocheted Granny Dollie Rug. I’m always keen to try out new yarns, so was delighted to come across Hooplayarn for my latest ‘StitchShare’ project.
My rug is mainly made up of UK treble (US double) and chain crochet stitches. A key aim of the project is to create a circle that will lay flat on the ground, each time I finished a round I threw her (she is called Daisy!) on the floor and had a good look at her edge. If the rug was lying flat that was perfect. If the edge of the rug was curving down / under, then it meant I needed to increase my stitches on the next round. If the rug edges curved up or became wavy, it was a sign I had too many stitches.
Do you want to see her story?
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Originally posted on Becoming Cliche:
So I’ve been keeping a secret. I hate secrets. They put so much distance between us. So today, I’m just going to lay it right out there. I think you’re going to like it.
First, let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, an interesting species of turtle became extinct. Last seen in 1908, the Arakan Forest Turtle, Heosemys depressa, disappeared and was never seen again. It seems like a sad story, but stick with me. About 100 years later, in 1994, a scientist visiting a food market in Asia was astounded to find a few of these animals for sale! A relic population was discovered, and animals were taken into captivity in the hopes of forming assurance colonies and potentially increasing its numbers.
With wild-caught animals in general, and reptiles in particular, breeding isn’t a straightforward endeavor. With dogs and cats, boy + girl =…
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The skill of computer programming is a super power! Help our children become super heros!
Originally posted on Sam Foster:
Like many British schoolchildren, I studied a variety of subjects at school. Mathematics, natural sciences, history, drama, music, technology and physical education. Not to mention the language subjects – as a minimum, English language, English literature plus one foreign language of your choosing from a selection of French, German, Spanish or Latin.
I chose French and, after five years of studious learning, came out of the education system aged 16 none the wiser in terms of truly grasping a foreign language. Perhaps it was that foreign languages weren’t my forte. Perhaps speaking French looked much easier on ‘Allo ‘Allo – whatever the reason, I just didn’t seem to be as enthused about French as I was about other more vocational subjects like technology.
Technology itself plays host to a whole raft of languages – some more complex than others (you’ve probably used one or more of these languages without ever realising it). These…
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I love crochet. Great Crochet And Crafts blog to follow.
Originally posted on Make My Day Creative:
I’ve been looking for a basket of specific dimensions for a while without any luck. Then I saw a circular version of this idea and realised I could make my own!
This uses a technique similar to thrumming, where you crochet over another thread to add bulk to a fabric. If you have ever crocheted over your ends to avoid weaving in, this works the same way.
In this case I used rope instead of another yarn, which is a lot bulkier but great for adding stiffness and making each row deeper. This project had the added bonus of using up a single skein I had left in my stash!
The resulting basket is rectangular with rounded corners.
You will need:
- Length of rope (mine was 38m in length and 6mm diameter, for a 22x42x17cm basket)
- Stash yarn (I used 310m of Patons 100% cotton 4ply in…
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For many of us pranksters out there April 1st is a national holiday ( April Fools Day is one of my top 5 favorite days of the year!). I start mapping out my childish, funny to me and hopefully harmless gags for April Fools Day starting on April 2! I am so blessed to have my youngest daughter join me in a love of all things funny on this day. Look out Hannah because I have some special pranks lined up for you!
For others April 1 is the true start of spring. My mom starts reading the Burpee Seed Catalogs and planning the precise locations, types and number of flowers she will begin planting in late May.
Beyond the pranks and planting of seedlings, April 1st is a very special day for me. For it was on April 1st that my mother and father received a call from an adoption agency letting them know that they were the proud parents of a 6 week old baby girl, me! Every year since I was old enough to remember, my family has celebrated our “Special Day” when we were brought together.
This year I am so blessed to be able to share this day with my best friend, Rebecca, as she too celebrates April 1st as a 10 year Survivor of Uterine Cancer!
I will never forget sitting with Rebecca 10 years ago in late March as her OB/GYN quietly and definitively said the word Cancer. To this day I can not forget the look of utter devastation, fear and sadness that encompassed my dearest of friends as she collapsed into my arms racked by tears of emotional pain that would kill most of us on the spot. Her surgeon went on to tell us that she was scheduling her surgery for the morning of April 1st, 2004 a mere few days away.
At the mention of the date for her surgery, Rebecca immediately stopped crying and simply said “No.” She went on to ask the surgeon to schedule the operation for any other date except for April 1st.
Now, I don’t know if you have a best friend or not or if you have ever had the opportunity to see the soul of a genuinely “good” person in action. If you haven’t then I pray that you do because true acts of selflessness will humble you and bring you to your knees in a way that changes you for good. There I sat with who was (and still is) my then 33 year old, unmarried, best friend without any children, who was being told that the chances of her retaining any possibility to bear children from her body were 1 in never as she tried to explain to this surgeon why April 1st was not an option. Rebecca told her it was my “special day” and there was no way she was having surgery that day.
How after being told such an awful diagnosis with life altering and devastating information, this beautiful young woman thought of anyone else, let alone me, to this day floods me with emotions that I am still unable to put into words. After much convincing between me and her surgeon, Rebecca finally agreed to schedule her surgery for April 1st.
To me, it made sense that she have her surgery on April 1st because that is my lucky day and I couldn’t and can’t think of a more deserving person to share in my luck! April 1st is my day of new beginnings and while this was surely not the new beginning Rebecca was dreaming about it would be the first day of her healing and I wasn’t about to let my best friend die that day or any other day!
And now, 10 years later Rebecca is cancer free, married to an amazing man, the aunt of two wonderful children and the auntie of my two daughters. She is the most amazing teacher that ever lived and while she may not have children of her body she has certainly become the mother of all children that pass through her classroom and her life.
I could not nor cannot ever bear the thought of losing Rebecca and that is why tomorrow is “OUR” special day.
I love you Beck Beck. Thank you for all you have done for me. God Bless You Always!
This afternoon at a Shell Gas Station not far from where my office is in Cleveland, Ohio, I met a young woman experiencing a pretty awful moment in her new marriage. This was a smack in my face “Back to the Future, part 3″ moment. For those of you born after 1985 and whom have never seen these movies I encourage you to bookmark this blog, go watch all 3 movies (they are fabulous) then come back and finish reading. You’re going to need the point of reference. The rest of you who watched these movies, well, keep on reading. And, it’s ok to keep reading even if you haven’t seen them just bear with my ’80’s flashbacks…..
In Part 3 the Professor and Marty McFly head both to the future and back in time. The Professor warns Marty to avoid seeing “himself in the future” and his “current self” who went to the past several months prior. Marty is warned that coming face to face with his “current” self could have consequences of epic proportions. Today, at 2:15pm I came face to face with my past self… OK it wasn’t my past self but it was with a girl who was headed down the path I walked and I could not stop her, no matter how much I tried. Here is what happened…
I walked in to pay for my gas and overheard a slender, blonde woman, who really didn’t look like she was feeling well, using the gas station phone to try and reach her husband. The clerk at the register was offering suggestions to this woman who appeared to be stranded there by her husband. I asked her if she needed some help. She went on to say she had just had a minor outpatient surgical procedure and upon leaving the surgery center she and her husband had had a fight. He dropped her off at the gas station and drove away leaving her there almost 30 minutes prior to me showing up. Her cell phone was in the car with him and he wasn’t answering either his cell or hers.
I offered, more like plead, with her to take her home, to a shelter, to the police, to my office to anywhere but the gas station and him. She was pale and weak from her procedure and needed rest. The young woman refused to sit down. Having no idea where she lived or if she had family that would care for her I again offered to take her somewhere, anywhere! She told me where she lived which turned out to be about an hour and a half from where we currently were. I told her I didn’t care, that I knew she didn’t know me, but I would be happy to take her home. I explained that I knew exactly how she was feeling and had experienced very similar circumstances in my past marriage. All the while I was offering to drive her, I knew she would never say yes. She was young, she was inexperienced with the pain of an abusive marriage and truly believed it would get better. I knew this because I was looking at myself 14 years in the past.
No, I was never left at a gas station, but I was merely dropped off at the urgent care after I “fell down the stairs” after hanging a picture, left at the door of the maternity ward to have a D&C following a miscarriage after 4 months of pregnancy, left at the surgery center to have my dead and infected gallbladder removed, left at the ER alone following my first epileptic seizure (he had something better to do…), and countless other times I was left alone to face an emergency or crisis or illness or whatever it was that he was too emotionally unprepared or unwilling to handle or just too busy to take the time to be there for me. Had some strange woman offered to take me home I too would probably have said no believing he would eventually come back for me. Then again, I didn’t have that sort of offer and I will never really know for sure how I would have answered.
I wanted to tuck this girl in my pocket and drive her so far away from this man, her husband who took a vow to be there for her in sickness and in health. But she would not go and you can’t make someone accept your help. All you can do is offer it with sincerity and the courage to back it up in case they ever say yes. So, I stood there with her and waited. We waited, and waited, and waited and finally after 45 minutes of waiting he came back. Her face beamed when he pulled up. “See” she said! “I told you he would come back for me.” All the while forgetting that he had LEFT HIS WIFE AT A GAS STATION FOLLOWING SURGERY BECAUSE HE WAS UNHAPPY WITH HER!!!
I offered one last time to take her home or to a shelter where she would be safe. She thanked me and said she’d be fine, after all, she said, he has never hit her. Oh dear child! I wanted again to tuck her away letting her know that bruises and words carry the same pain yet often the pain of the words carry scars long after the bruises fade.
I gave her my business card, pointing out that my cell phone number was on it. Please call me if you need anything I told her as I walked her to and helped in the waiting minivan driven by this man she called her husband. The man that had on their wedding day promised for better or for worse. I really hope things work out for those two before they get worse…
After leaving the gas station and going back to work it was more than an hour before I could feel the blood moving in my fingers again and was able to stop visibly shaking (I just kept telling people I was cold). Looking at myself in the past through the eyes of my future was almost more than I could bear today. I’m one of the lucky ones. I changed my future and it is looking really bright! But in Back to the Future the Professor was right, coming face to face with your past does have consequences of epic proportion. Mine? I may well be haunted by the face of this young woman today forever, but I’m going to keep looking and keep offering to help because one day someone is going to say “yes.”
Have you ever found yourself at a point in life where you begin to not just believe but accept that you no longer deserve good things to happen to you? Have you ever convinced yourself that true love and affection is a mere fairy tale or only happens to someone else?
Perhaps you’re even able to provide supporting evidence to back up these feelings; multiple failed relationships, abusive marriages, losing job after job, unable to keep a positive bank balance, and living day after day in a perpetual cycle of Murphy’s Law of unfortunate events.
After a time you move past wondering what you can do about the negative karma and begin to accept that your new reality is a black cloud hovering above you that the strongest wind will never be strong enough to blow away.
Have you ever felt that you are not only unloveable but incapable of love? I have felt that way.
But then in the most unlikely of places, hundreds of miles away from home, without even looking or knowing or expecting it, there was a stranger, a voice on the telephone, a person who without ever meeting me actually believed in me. Not just believed me but believed IN ME!
No expectations just conversations. And in the midst of these conversations I began to realise that the Murphy’s Law of adversity I was living in was actually my own creation.
We are each our own individual, sadistic science experiments. We create a hypothesis of what we think we deserve in life and then perform experiment after experiment, building the evidence to prove our theories correct. At the end, we conclude that yes, we deserve our lot in life for good or for ill. And then we move forward in life as if we have no control of our fate.
By living our lives through these self inflicted conclusions we have failed and worse we accept our failure based on flawed data. A true scientific process does not end with one theory, one hypothesis and one conclusion.
True scientists continue to retest their theories, formulate new hypotheses, gather additional evidence and adjust and reformulate their conclusions. So why don’t we do that with our own life theories?
An amazing person spoke through my doubt and disbelief saying to me “we owe it to ourselves to see what happens.” And he is absolutely right! You and I who live under the self-created cloud built from the truth of a thousand lies deserve better tomorrow’s than our today’s.
I dare you to retest your theory of negativity with a new hypothesis based on positivity. Seek out new evidence to prove yourself loveable and formulate a new conclusion that you deserve good things to happen to you. And slowly but surely that black cloud will reveal it’s silver lining.
It won’t be easy but the results will be amazing. Because this amazing person is right. We DO owe it to ourselves.
Dear Friend, Acquaintance, Future Influencer of my Children?
I just don’t know how to address this letter to you because I don’t yet know you and I hope that when I do we will somehow forge an albeit awkward friendship in the fire of parenting.
You have no idea how thrilled I am for you but you will. I am so happy that you have an opportunity to get to know my children in a way that only few have the chance to do. This is a letter to share with you some, not all, of the wonderful things about my children and to ask for you to be patient with them, respectful of them, loving, and kind. For if you are then you will experience some of the greatest love ever known!
Both of the girls are very similar and yet worlds apart in how they react to change. I hope you are already a mother, if not that’s fine you will soon learn how to be one. But I hope that you bring with you other children to grow and enrich the lives of the girls. They have always wanted a big family and the more siblings the better!
My oldest is sweet, kind, caring, often shy, a rule follower, a leader, and a soother. She will do what needs to be done to keep the peace and she will always keep your secrets close to heart. She’s quick to help and eager to learn all the while doing her best to stay out of the spot light. Oh how I long to see her shine and stand right in the center of attention. Because that’s where she deserves to be!
My youngest is also sweet, kind, caring, shy in her own way, carries the sword of justice and is just as soothing. When she flies into your arms and hugs you, there is nothing like the unencumbered and full force of her love. And when she flashes that genuine smile she rarely shares with anyone then you will almost glow with joy. She will stand up to the biggest giant to face down any wrong that’s being committed, she will rattle your brains sometimes with her tricky talk and often appear stand offish, but that’s only because she cares so very much and is afraid of being hurt.
Don’t ever hesitate to talk to me about the girls. I could go on for hours about them but I will wait for you to come to me. You should have a chance to get to know them in your own way. Don’t get me wrong…I will always be their mother and I am in no way giving that pleasure up to anyone but I am willing to share them with you as long as you share yourself with them and love the girls for who they are. I too would be your confident and will keep your secrets close.
That being said I won’t share secrets, advice or conversation with you about my ex and your now. That would not be neither right nor fair and nothing should come between your relationship with him, especially his ex wife.
I wish nothing but joy, happiness and an everlasting love for you and my ex husband. I was not that woman and everyone deserves that kind of love. I hope it is you for both of you. My ex and I both made mistakes in our marriage and we both did things well. I hope that the two of you will build on all the good and eliminate all the bad.
I will never say an unkind word to you or about you and I will do the same in regards to him. Relationships have bad days, and on those days I’m not the one to answer questions or lean on. If things are rough today remember tomorrow is a new day and a chance for improvement.
I wish you great things in your new relationship. I’m rooting for you and I know that if things are good at your home then they will be good in my children’s hearts and lives. I’m not perfect but I love my girls with all my heart. I hope you will too.
Originally posted on Chick Lit Goddess:
Alicia M. Long & Jayne J. Jones, co-authors of “Capitol Hell”
About Alicia M. Long and Jayne J. Jones: Jayne Jones and Alicia Long, co-authors of Capitol Hell began their political careers by working for former Senator Norm Coleman (MN).
Jayne Jones, a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law, left Capitol Hill to work for the Minnesota House of Representatives, where she was the Executive Assistant to the Speaker of the House. Her favorite adventure is teaching others about the legislative process and how to draft legislation in her capacity as a political science professor at Concordia University. Jones is also in the process of starting a summer camp for teenagers interested in public policy.
Alicia Long, a South Dakota native and graduate of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, also worked for United States Senator John Thune (SD) as well as former United States Senator George…
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What This Non-Racist, White, Irish-American, Mother of 2 has Learned from the Trial of George Zimmerman and the Death of Trayvon Martin18 Jul
I live in a pre-dominantly African-American residential area in Ohio and some of my neighbors have called me a cracker, a glow stick, many other things that I choose not to repeat and some things that are so ridiculous that I can’t even remember them. My favorites though are cracker and glow stick. I am told that the cracker reference is to the white color of Saltine Crackers and the glow stick is because “I’m so white I glow in the dark.”
I actually giggle each time I hear the word “glow stick.” I probably should be offended and outraged and who knows what else, but it’s all true! My ethnic heritage is Irish and most Irish folks are pasty white and sometimes even I believe I glow in the dark. I say all of this not to poke fun at racial slurs or because I’m any better than anyone else but because racial references are made and created no matter where we live. Of course, that doesn’t make any racial slur ok or acceptable. The mixed racial garden my neighbors and I live in has afforded me an opportunity to grow, learn and be a better person through the trial of George Zimmerman and the untimely death of Trayvon Martin.
The death of Trayvon Martin and the trial of George Zimmerman fueled through the media’s depiction of a savage racial clash (there are only two people who know the truth of that, one who had a young life cut cruelly short and the other whom will forever live his life knowing the truth) have actually taught me much about heaven, the current state of our country and how to behave during times of difficulty and earth shattering grief. I hope that we are all able to learn something from the events and devastating circumstances surrounding the trial of George Zimmerman and death of Trayvon Martin.
As a mother, I cannot imagine anything more horrible than losing one of my children and even worse losing one of them through an act of violence. I work hard to teach my daughters right from wrong, respect for all genders and ethnicities. Most days, I actually think I’m doing a pretty good job!
Someday I would like to meet Trayvon Martin’s mothers and give them a heart healing hug. I would love to ease their pain and the pain of every mother (and father) whom has ever experienced the death of a child. I appreciate the lady-like and dignified, non-accusatory way in which these women have portrayed themselves and I hope that the courage and strength they have displayed continues. Their actions in the face of grief have been admirable.
I would also like to meet George Zimmerman’s mother and hug her as well. Mrs. Zimmerman has shown decorum and self control. If my child had just been acquitted of murder I would have wanted to stand up in the courtroom and scream hallelujah, shout out loud “see I told you he wasn’t guilty” and grin from ear to ear all the while running to hug my son! But Mrs. Zimmerman did none of those things. Her relief was obvious and of course there was a glint of a mother’s smile as she watched her son be set free but there was no courtroom bravado, no gloating, no outward displays of vindication. Mrs. Zimmerman knows that her son will feel and deal with whatever really happened that awful night for the rest of his life.
As a mother, Mrs. Zimmerman knows that while she has her child to welcome home into her arms, the mother’s of Trayvon Martin do not. Brave mothers, I am so sorry for your pain! I also want to thank you for showing me and the world of women whom are watching you the right way to lean in and work through grief.
I have always wondered what heaven would look like. Even more so than the surroundings, I have oft been curious what “WE” would look like in heaven. How odd that George Zimmerman’s trial would reveal heaven to me.
Upon laying in bed the night of George Zimmerman’s acquittal I envisioned how we would look in heaven. I now believe that when we “see” each other in heaven, as we walk amongst God and the angels, that we will not see any particular body shape, I don’t think we will see or recognize gender and I definitely don’t believe there will be any acknowledgement of race or ethnicity.
I believe that we will experience each other for the gifts and abilities God has given us and that we will finally be able to look beyond male or female, past Black, White, Hispanic, Asian , Indian or any other ethnicity. I don’t know why I couldn’t see that vision before or why I am suddenly able to see it now. Whatever the reason, for me, this new thought of heaven has brought some peace.
Even with this newfound peace and my respect and awe for the mothers of both Trayvon and George, equally I am awed, correction, outraged, at our country and the blatant disregard for her laws. I’m not referring to any acts of violence or uproar in the face of the verdict but to the potential Department of Justice’s inquiry into the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case itself.
We are a nation of laws and rules. Our jury system is one of those “laws and rules” in which I have a firm belief and trust. Of course, we don’t always agree on various verdicts and that is our right as a nation of free people, but just because we don’t agree doesn’t make the system wrong. What I’m referring to is Double Jeopardy.
Our justice system provides for defendants to be free of double jeopardy, in other words being retried for the same crime one was acquitted of. Yet, because so many disagree with the verdict there is an outcry for the DOJ to retry George Zimmerman in a federal court room. How is that not creating a loophole around the rules of Double Jeopardy?
I sincerely hope the DOJ stays out of this case and allows this great nation to heal. I fear that if George Zimmerman was to be retried in federal court by the DOJ that we would no longer be living in a democracy and would be creeping ever so closely toward a dictatorship of and by but not for the “people.” That is not the country I live in nor love.
I’m also disappointed at how the media continues to stir up controversy of this case in the minutes, hours and days following the verdict by manipulating our delicate feelings about race. I have read more often than not about George Zimmerman the “White Hispanic.” The what???
I wonder how different the news reports might be if the media never put the word “white” before the word Hispanic and merely referred to George Zimmerman as “a Hispanic,” or God forbid never mentioned race at all. Would the emotional reactions be the same? Would the media ever dare to label someone a “White African-American?” It’s absurd and manipulative the way the media refers to various ethnicities and I am offended! In the title to this post I intentionally used the descriptor “White Irish American.”
Does it matter that I’m white? Is it important that you know I’m Irish? Does it make a difference in reading my blog that I’m an American? Do you care that I am female? Can’t I just be me?
Which brings me to my last point and then I will step off my cracker box. Why does it matter that the jury was made up of all females? Had the jury been comprised of all males and the same verdict was handed down would the jury as a whole and the jurors as individuals been granted the same amount of outrage, righteous indignation and scrutiny?
I love being female but I’m getting really tired of being a pioneer. My gender shouldn’t cause you to hold me to a different standard or for women to be held accountable regarding every action and move we make and every decision we come to just because we are female. Our great female ancestors have fought that fight. I thought we were all better than that in 2013!
I’m proud of the person I am today. I live with truth, integrity and work hard. I don’t think I’ve ever woken up in the morning thinking to myself; “Come on white girl, let’s get up and take on the day!” I’m just grateful I can still get up in the morning and that I have another day to take on.
I wish that Trayvon Martin had had another day. I wish George Zimmerman had made different choices that night and that he could awaken to a new day before that awful night. I hope that George Zimmerman will make better choices in the future. We cannot erase the past and while the past undoubtably affects us, it does not have to DEFINE US. Moving forward we can learn, we can grow and we can love the “human beings” we live and currently walk amongst.
Now, go turn on a light because Glow Stick is stepping down from her cracker box.
A Busy Momma answers Real Simple Magazine’s July Question: “When Was the Last Time You Cried Tears of Joy?”
I can vividly recall the last time I cried tears of joy, of course it could be that it was only a mere three weeks ago. It could also be right now because every time I recall this moment it doesn’t take long for the water works to start a flowin! Before I tell you the “what” that made me cry you need to know the “why” that led up to this moment.
When this past school year started my two daughters, then ages 9 and 11, were transitioning from a small catholic grade school with only 46 children in each of their grades into a large public school system with over 300 children in each grade. To make matters worse only 4 days before school started my divorce was finalized following a 13 year tumultuous marriage and two year long divorce to their father.
My 9 year old was starting 4th grade and my 11 year old was starting middle school in the 6th grade. Each of my daughters is amazing in her own way and I could write equal novels about their unending love, kindness and bravery! The most recent moment of overflowing pride and joy involves my oldest daughter, Kate.
Kate has always been a remarkable child. She instinctively knows and follows the rules, achieves straight A’s (not easily, but with hard work), plays three sports and plays on a travel team in the fall and summer months. Often I refer to her as courageous and calming Kate. She is quick to step in when someone is hurting, lends a helping hand at home and school, and doesn’t hesitate to do the right thing even when faced with adversity. Kate has always been this way and nothing changed about her behavior when she changed schools. She remained a straight A student, adored by her new classmates and successfully avoided falling into any one clique. Kate is everyone’s best friend.
Yet not once was Kate ever recognized as student of the month or afforded any recognition at her first school. Not once from kindergarten through 5th grade. And because she is who she is there was never a comment made by her about the lack of acknowledgement. One would think that with only 46 children in her grade level that she would have been recognized at least once!
On the last day of school all parents were invited to attend a 6th grade assembly to review the first year of middle school. During the assembly several awards were given to recognize students who had achieved excellence in their studies. Kate received distinguished honors (GPA of 4.0) and was the top language arts student. While enormously proud of her, that wasn’t what brought tears to my eyes.
It was when one of the teachers stood up and began talking about the student who was recognized out of 300 peers for the citizenship award. This student, the teacher said, was remarkable. They observed this child in the cafeteria always make room at the table for anyone looking for a place to sit down. This child stopped in the hallway and helped pick up books that had fallen from a classmate’s hands and kicked about the hallway. This student always participated, this person was competitive in PE but kind. This student always had a kind word, a hug and a helping hand for a teacher or student regardless of peer pressure. This student, who has always been true to themselves from the start of kindergarten through the end of 6 th grade, who has never changed in personality and who had never recognized in a class of 46 now stood out like a beacon of hope and light amidst a class of over 300. That student was my daughter Kate. And as they called her name and her classmates erupted into cheers, she stood up and before walking to the stage to accept her award she stopped and turned to look at me and said, “thank you mom, I Love you.”
Thank goodness for waterproof mascara and pocket tissues! Thank you Kate for being you and affording me tears of joy to replace the rivers I’ve cried in sorrow. Kate is a true citizen not of only her school, but of the world. I hope you all get to meet her someday and know my courageous and caring Kate!
“Do You Feel Safe at Home?” The question every abused woman dreads being asked and the time I finally told the truth!21 Jun
Every person, especially a woman, who goes to an emergency room for treatment is asked the same question, “Do you feel safe at home?” Thankfully, many women are able to answer this question with an honest and definitive “Yes!” But for a victim of abuse and especially one who has been treated at the ED in the past for her injuries this question and the answer to it is both dreaded and anticipated. And unfortunately, her answers are rarely truthful.
Some abused women come into the ER with visible signs of the trauma inflicted upon her. Others arrive bearing invisible scars, deeply buried bruises beneath the surface of her skin and a broken and battered spirit that will never show up on any x-ray film. Regardless of the seen or unseen wounds from her abuser they are there and no, she isn’t safe at home.
The answer to the question of safety seems so easy to someone that has never suffered a blow from her significant other or has been berated and controlled for so long that she no longer recognizes the abuse is even occurring. For whatever reason these women present their conditions at the ER, they have carefully calculated their answers and reasonable explanations to their injuries and sickness. Many of these women long to say , “NO, NO, NO, I am NOT safe at home” and wonder to themselves how could these healers really believe that she continues to “fall down the stairs” or that she is just sick so often because she puts herself last? But, these women typically bow their heads, drudge up whatever courage they have and say in a quiet voice, “Yes, I am safe at home” while never making eye contact just in case their healer sees through their mask of pain and deceit.
How do I know this is how an abused woman feels and answers? I know, because I was that woman. Oh, I never went to the ER with a broken bone or visible scars from my abuse (and how so often I wished for those outward and visible clues to my hidden life) but there were many an ER trip because of severe migraines, horrible intestinal pain from diverticulitis, or the flu that finally took me down, all as a direct result from the controlling, obsessive, and verbal demeaning abuse my now ex-husband had been dishing out. So for me, I justified my untruthful answer of “Yes” by telling myself that I hadn’t been physically beaten or broken and convinced myself that my “Yes” was an honest reply.
I have been divorced for almost a year now. I didn’t realize until last night when I was rushed to the ER with suspected appendicitis how long it had been since I had actually been a patient in the emergency department. Before my divorce and during my 13 years of marriage I was a fairly regular patient, at least 3-4 times a year. Yesterday was the first time I had been in the ER in over 12 months! Some may laugh at that and call me a hypochondriac, others may say I should have taken better care of myself, but my sisters hiding in the shadows of their abusers will all relate to the frequency of visits and many may applaud the length of time since I was last seen by an ER Physician.
During the ambulance ride I had little time to think between throwing up and answering the incessant questions by the extremely kind paramedics. I was in so much physical pain that I actually didn’t contemplate my answer to the safety question. In fact, when the kind eyed nurse bent down to ask me ever so softly, “Did I Feel Safe At Home?” I was so taken aback that I had to ask her to repeat it. And when she did, an amazing thing happened, it was almost like being in a dreamscape from a movie. I looked up at her and for the first time in over 10 years, yes, 10 years, I answered her question with 100% honesty. My answer was “YES! I DO finally feel safe at home!” That was perhaps the first time I came nose to nose with how bad things had actually been in my marriage and how wonderfully far I had come. In just under 12 months I was no longer constantly sick, really really sick and that I really was safe at home.
I left the ER that same night. Fortunately I didn’t have a ruptured appendix, I did have a ruptured ovarian cyst which has very similar pain and symptoms. And the whole way home not once did I dread going home because I now knew that my home was safe and would allow me to heal.
To the woman, child and the man who is being abused in any way I want to hug you, to encourage you and to shout out loud for you to anyone who will listen. Most especially I want to encourage you the next time (and there will be a next time) you are asked “Do you feel safe at home” to answer honestly and to say “NO I don’t.” You can be free of the secrecy, pain and scarring of your life. And, there is nothing like being honest, especially when you can finally answer the dreaded question with a YES! Call me, I will hold your hand the whole time. The first honest answer (when you finally say no) is the hardest, the second time you answer honestly (with a yes) is earth shattering. I believe in you, you CAN do it, trust me!