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Monday, March 6, 2017

Now is the time for courage

Haven't written anything in a long time. But there's so much going awry in the world, I can't keep my trap shut any longer.

I don't think I'm the only one feeling anxious these days. Anxious and angry and puzzled.

I'm puzzled at how all this happened with Trump becoming our president. I realize now that I've been living in a bubble, thinking racism and discrimination has gotten better.  But the ugliness that reared its head during Trump's campaign was heart-breaking. I struggle with the realization that there are so many backward-thinking people in this country and I'm angry with myself that I haven't seen it sooner.  Here, I thought I was a well-informed, fully aware person but realize I've been living as I said, in a bubble of ignorance and I'm ashamed of myself.

I'm anxious because I worry about dear friends of mine who are subject to anger and cruelty. It seems our new president has given permission to openly express these vile emotions, reminiscent of the pre-civil rights years. Apparently, these feelings haven't gone away, but have only been suppressed. And that's frightening to me.

And, I'm especially angry that so many of these hateful feelings found their beginnings in so-called Christian environments. Forgive me, but the saying, "love the person, hate the sin" is total crap. This only gives hate-mongers an excuse to treat people horribly without feeling guilty for it.  Like putting a thousand little white crosses on the church lawn to shame the person who made probably the most difficult decision of their life; not caring how much it might hurt or humiliate them. How is that a loving Christian action? Or telling a gay person they're not welcome in their church. How is that a loving Christian action. How is it they don't see the hypocrisy? The foundation of Jesus' teaching is love your neighbor as yourself.  Sadly that concept has nearly disappeared in many conservative Christian churches. It's more like, 'I'll love and care for my neighbor as long as he/she thinks like I do and I will shun everyone else'.  Thankfully, there are churches who are open and affirming. But not nearly enough of them. Progressive Christianity teaches what Jesus taught; love and acceptance.

I know for sure,  the only solution to hatred is knowledge and education.  If I've angered anyone, too bad. This is my blog and these are my opinions and we are in serious trouble with the current administration which is based on greed and hate and discrimination.

Please don't be afraid to speak out when you see injustice. Please don't be afraid to speak out when you see hatred. And please don't be afraid to speak out when you see decisions being made that will harm us, like removing safeguards that protect our environment all for the sake of greed.

Now is the time for courage.  And now is the time to find a way to educate.


Monday, February 9, 2015

I saw this post on Facebook this morning and felt like commenting on it. 

The post read:
"It doesn't matter who you used to be; what matters is who you decide to be today.
You are not your mistakes.  You are not your mishaps.  You are not your past.  You are not your wounds."

Well, I couldn't disagree more.

You ARE your mistakes.  You ARE your mishaps.  You ARE your past and you ARE your wounds.  These are the life experiences that have helped you learn and form who you are today.  They are not to be disregarded.  They are to be reviewed and explored and used to grow into the person you really want to be. 

I spoke once of a grade school friend who I hurt deeply and how awful I felt.  I learned from that experience not to intentionally hurt people. 

I've blogged about the wounds I have from my mother's upbringing.  I learned what kind of parent I wanted to be.

Don't dismiss your life experiences and mistakes as though they never happened and feel you need to start with a blank slate.  On the contrary, use them to learn and grow and become the person you want to be.  Someone once said, 'No one gets through this life without pain.  It's what we DO with our pain that defines our life.  It doesn't mean you have to dwell on them.  But  rather, determine how you will learn from your mistakes, mishaps past and wounds to become the best you EVER!  
 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Akron, Ohio's First Safety Town

So, now that I'm retired, I have no time clock to punch, no place I'm required to be, and the freedom to do only what I want.  Which means I have a target on my back to be recruited for anything working people don't have time to do.  So when my good friend Pastor Debbie asked me to 'help' with coordinating Akron's first Safety Town event (actually make that plural...eventS) I said ok.

Next thing I know, I discover I am the official SAFETY TOWN COORDINATOR. 

I should start by saying the reason this event came into being is because of an article that was written in the Akron Beacon Journal stating that in the City of Akron, a child is hit by a car on average of every 12 days.  This inspired a group of people to do some research and what they discovered is, there are Safety Town events in nearly all the outlying suburbs of Akron but none in the city itself.  So they decided this was something that could be remedied......that's where I come in.

So my friend Ann and I began the herculean task of making 5 Safety Town events a reality in only 3 months.  From getting 10 safety town buildings designed, assembled and painted (all by volunteers),  to designing and compiling a week's worth of curriculum which included songs, stories and art projects, to designing a registration and release form, to determining locations, to lining up teachers and volunteers for each event, to figuring out how to transport the buildings from site to site, to planning a week's worth of snacks, to designing and purchasing t-shirts,bike helmets and low-rider tricycles, to lining up the police and fire departments to come and give presentations and trust me, the list goes on and on. I had no idea how monumental this project was going to be.

The biggest hurtle was when I was told that 95% of all the children at one of the events would be non-English speaking and we would need to find interpreters that speak Nepalese.  Really????

What I can only attribute to divine guidance, the event was successful.  Exhausting, but successful.  We educated over 200 kids on street and bicycle safety, stranger danger, fire safety, good touch-bad touch, and more.  One of the most interesting (and disturbing) exercises was when we had a sweet young woman try to lure the children away from the group by offering them candy and all but one child out of 60 kids went with the lady! 


When I asked one sweet little boy if his parents told him never to go with strangers, he said yes.  "So, why did you go with the lady then?", I asked.  His reply...."Because she had candy and we don't have candy at our house." 

So the real purpose of this blog is to let parents know.....
If you believe you've covered the topic of safety enough times with your kids....believe me.......
YOU HAVEN'T!!!  Do it again, and again and again and again and again and...........


SERIOUSLY, IF YOU THINK THEY GET IT, THEY DON'T.  REMEMBER, AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND............it's never enough.

So, I gave up my summer of relaxing and fishing but I'm absolutely sure we saved some children's lives.  I think that's a fair trade off, don't you?










Monday, April 22, 2013

EARTH DAY SHOULD BE AN EVERY DAY OCCURANCE

Last Monday was Earth Day which I suppose was created to encourage attention to the environment.  That's fine except I believe we're missing the point. 

During my spiritual journey get-together last week, we were discussing the environment and how important it is not to just appreciate it but consider nature from a spiritual perspective. 
We are CONNECTED to nature.  We are not separate from it.  EVERYTHING is connected.   Everything is related and I mean that in a literal "family" way.  When you stop and think about the moon, the stars, the earth, the air, the water, the animals as part of your spiritual unity family, you begin to see all this in a different light and sense a deeper responsibility to care for it but more importantly, to love it. 

For millenia, man relied on nature to exist.  Now, we have stores with food and stores with clothes and stores with communication devices and no longer have respect or reverence for what we have or how it was obtained.  If you remember that everything in the universe is part of creation just as you are, you can sense the greater family ties of it all.

For example, a fish isn't just a fish, put here for me to consume.  It's a relative of mine.  I need to care for and nurture it.  The earth isn't just a planet I happen to call home.  It's a part of me.  When you remember that we and everything in the universe is created from the same cosmic STUFF (to quote Carl Sagan) you begin to know this is absolutely true.  Everything is connected; every one and every thing is RELATED. 

I love the custom of the American Indians who, after killing an animal for food or shelter, will thank its spirit for giving itself to help the whole.

It should be in our minds to protect the environment as fervently as we would protect our children. 

I suggest thinking of something you can do today on Earth Day to help protect that to which we are related.  How about Recycling?  That's an easy thing to do and makes an enormous amount of difference. 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST!

My first job was 48 years ago.  I was a dish washer at my father's restaurant.  I also bussed tables and hostessed from time to time and this was a gratis job.  I got no pay except for the tips the waitresses gave me for cleaning their tables fast and I enjoyed it. 

My first PAYING job was about the same time.  It was babysitting and I hated it.  Seriously, it was tortureous for me.  I didn't like kids, had never spent time around them and had no idea how to deal with them.   This is weird considering how much I adore my kids and my grandkids.  But at age 15, for me, it sucked.

I figure babysitting is probably where I first began to develop the concept that being poor is better than doing something you hate no matter how profitable.  I wonder how many times in my life I've absent-mindedly said, "There's not enough money in the world to get me to.....".    Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I said that......hahahahahahaha!  Unfortunately, I ended up sacrificing my principals worked A LOT of jobs I didn't like.  Some were worse than others but when you're the sole supporter of a family, you do what you gotta do.    

So here it is, 48 years later, age 62 and I'm retiring the end of May.  I don't have a lot of money saved up (BIG understatement there) but I'm doing it anyway.  And the funny thing is, I plan to spend most of my time hanging out with my grandkids.  Life is one big irony, huh?




Friday, June 15, 2012

Homage to Dad

Since Fathers Day is this weekend, I decided to give myself a present and spend some extra time reflecting on my dad. 

I know I've mentioned before that my relationship with mom was less than great. (It sucked, actually) But my dad is a different story.  He was a bigger than life person to me, not just in stature but in personality.  Dad was one of those people that everyone loved. Everyone wanted to be with him.  He played piano, guitar, sang, told the best jokes ever, inspired stimulating conversations and on and on.
I have 19 cousins and all of them loved to hang out with Uncle Dick, especially in Canada.  Always the life of the party, I recall one night around the campfire, listening to dad play his ukelele and making up a song about my cousin out in the boat making out with her boyfriend.  (If you've ever been around water, you know that sound carries and you can hear EVERYTHING that comes off the water, but they can't hear you.) hehehehehe

Dad was also just a big kid and would love to find a back country road with a big hill and get the speed up to about 80 and then put the car in neutral and see how far we could coast down the hill. 

A baker and cook by trade, I used to love to sit in the kitchen and watch him work his magic.  I miss that little whispered whistle he did while he worked and I now catch myself doing the same thing. 

We are partly of German descent and all my life dad's nickname for me was Hootz Footz (phonetic)    All my life I loved that he had a special name just for me.  Then one day when I was in my 30's, I finally asked him what it meant.  With a chuckle, he told me it meant Dogs Foot.  Really?????  That was the endearment he came up with for me?  Dogs foot??

Mom and dad lived in Florida and the summer before he died, he came up to Ohio (no doubt to get away from mom) and spent the summer with me and the kids.  Bob and I had just started dating and to quote a line from Forest Gump, the two of them were like peas and carrots.  I'll spare you the recalling of the farting contests.
Anyway, I would wake up in the morning and dad would have the coffee ready and he would sit at the kitchen table working on a crossword and would have a second newspaper there so I could work on it too.  At night I would come home from work and he would have dinner ready.  That's when it occurred to me what I really needed was a good wife!! 

One month before he died and a month before my wedding to Bob, dad wrote me a letter telling me how happy he was that I had found such a wonderful guy and that he felt he didn't have to worry about my any longer.  I think he knew his time was up. 

That was 22 years ago and I still miss him like hell.  When he got older, he just wanted to relax and enjoy a simple life but he never got to go to Australia like he wanted and he literally worked the day he died at age 73.  He got screwed out of a lot of pleasure he should have enjoyed.     

He died suddenly and I never got to say goodbye.  Probably better that way though cause the memory will always be of the bigger-than-life man and not some feeble, needy old man.  He would have hated that. 

So here's to dads that weren't just fathers but were dads.  There's a difference.  I love you Pop.




Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ok, not my last political rant

It has always been my opinion that one of the most important freedoms in this country should be the right to have an opinion that differs with other people without experiencing persecution for it. 
I work in a predominantly republican/conservative environment and there are a few here that know I lean more toward non-traditional and less than conservative views.

This is the conversation I had this morning when I walked in the office carrying my extra-large $1.00 iced tea from Steak and Shake. 
Co-worker - "Won't be long before you won't be allowed to buy those big drinks, thanks to the liberal left wanting to control everything we do!".  (No, he didn't even say good morning first)
Other co-worker - "Yeah, thank you Miss Democrat!!"
Me - "Good morning, everyone. 
First of all, I'm not a democrat.  I'm an independent.  I've voted on both sides of the fence. 
Second, I agree that regulating the size of drinks is stupid. 
Third, how the hell is this my fault? 

These two people always lash out at me and ridicule me whenever ANY political conversation begins and I'm sick of it.  I usually bite my tongue but this morning, when one of them quoted one of the inane Fox News people, I couldn't hold back any longer and told them it's my opinion he's an idiot. 

Then I got control and just walked away. 

This is a very minor indication of how things have changed so much.  There are no polite discussions of differences of opinion anymore.  Everything is mean-spirited and angry and I'm sick of it. 

I mentioned once before that someone at work actually said to me, "How can you call yourself a Christian and still vote for Obama?"  Seriously???  How insulting is that?

People....can we just agree to disagree, be respectful and be nice to each other?  Please?