This Has To Stop

My heart hurts. Seeing another senseless tragedy due to gun violence just makes me sad and angry all at once.

This has to stop.

It is more than access to guns, but do we really need the access we have?

It may involve mental health, but with little funding and not making a diagnosis are we doing enough to fix it?

It might be trauma. Kids who experience trauma and don’t have the right resources can escalate.

Whatever it is, we need to take action and make it stop.

We can have a second amendment and still have gun safety and control.

We need to start diagnosing mental illness earlier and make sure there is access to care.

We need to stop bullying, isolation, and things that cause people to lash out.

We need to vote. We need to pray. We need to start talking about solutions and stop putting our kids and our country at risk.

Schools aren’t safe.

Workplaces aren’t safe.

We can’t build a wall around everything.

This needs to stop.

Emotions

One year ago today we moved this beauty to Seattle. The second one of our children to graduate from college and move away from home. We were excited for her to take on a new adventure, but sad that we would not see her nearly as much.

Being empty nesters is our new normal. With 2 kids having careers and one in college, our house is quiet except for the meows of a needy cat or two.

As I looked through my time hop this morning, it made me a little emotional to re-live our journey of this time last year.

I am a proud and happy mom, but I do miss the noise and chaos. I miss the extra chairs at the dinner table and the conversations. I miss the extra friends staying and keeping me up at night. I even miss some of the teenage years of drama and emotional outbursts.

So this morning I am a little emotional. I spilled my coffee all over Eddie’s shoes. I shed a tear or two, and then I reflected on how blessed I am to be part of such an amazing family. đź’—

Taking The High Road

I have fond memories of driving in the car with my kids and giving them life advice. I am not sure what their feelings about this are, but they have turned out to be pretty awesome people. It was a time where they were a captive audience and we could talk about things that happened whether it was at church or school or just in life. One of my “famous” pieces of advice was to take the high road. We even had a song about taking the high road and not the low road.

I have used that life lesson with friends and coworkers over the years. It is one of my life mottos when I am surrounded by drama or negativity.

Sometimes it is really hard.

Sometimes people hurt us and they don’t even know.

Sometimes we are slighted.

Sometimes people take our ideas and don’t give us credit.

Sometimes people are mean.

Sometimes people lie.

Sometimes people put their agenda first.

Sometimes people tear you down.

It can be easy to get mad. It can be easy to stay hurt and I certainly don’t suggest keeping toxic and hurtful people in your life, but you choose how it affects you.

You can give feedback.

You can stand up to a bully.

You can fight back.

You can take the high road and forgive. Sometimes this means walking away.

I choose to fight the battles I need to fight. Pray for the people I need to pray for. Most of all, I choose the high road.

Women Who Inspire Me

Over the past few years, I have been intentional about surrounding myself with people who inspire me. I wanted to be around other women who were strong and passionate and wanted to make a difference in their community and the world.

I feel like many doors have opened for me to be around these type of women from working with nonprofit leaders who work tirelessly to help others, to serving on the board of the League of Women Voters, to attending a meeting of inspiring women of faith at J4, to 100 Women Strong, to the individual relationships I cherish.

The common thread with all of these women who inspire me and feed my soul is their ability to build each other up. They are strong yet empathetic. Driven yet patient. Imperfect yet striving to be better people and make their mark in the world. Most of all, they are friends.

I just want to say thank you to all the women in my life who inspire me, support me, and make this world a better place. There are too many people to name, but you know who you are.

Thank you!

Realizations

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Casselberry Care Cabin 2011

I was talking to a friend the other day who asked if I was still writing. I responded that I really don’t write much anymore. There is just too much in my head and it is harder for me to just write on one subject without rambling, I start posts, but do not finish them. It is really unlike me in any of the other areas of my life to just start things and then not finish without a good reason. I think my realization came that I don’t have a deadline and I really don’t know who I am writing for. Is it me or others or both?

As I look back through some of my posts and re-read my last one, I realized it doesn’t really matter. If writing helps me to clear my head of all of the extra “stuff” then i should just do it. If I am rambling, so be it.

The past few years of this journey called life have been challenging, and also have been good. I have made new friends, said goodbye to a few friends too soon, and met extended family. I have worked on exciting projects at my job and seen how when the community pulls together we can do good things. I have experienced being a caregiver and being cared for, I have experienced my kids moving away, and I have watched them have their own challenges, but also successes. i couldn’t be more proud of the people they are turning out to be.

The two topics we are “never” supposed to talk about have become front and center for me in the past few years, I have been watching the political landscape and I have been challenged in my faith. While I have not lost my faith, I have realized that if I base my faith on the way others behave, then I am focusing on the wrong thing. My biggest struggle has been faith leaders who have ignored things that should not be ignored, and spoken positively for things that I think should be called out. But that is me.

One of my friends mentioned another person I know. They are both Christians, but the way they see the world is different. My response to her is that she is left and the other person is right and they just have different views. My hope is there is a common ground in the middle and common sense will prevail.

So I realize that I will write when I feel like it, and I will say what is on my mind. If no one reads it, that is ok too,

 

Journaling Out Loud

I feel like the reason I write blogs and then don’t publish them is because the things I write can be so personal. It is almost like having your mom read your middle school diary where you have detailed thoughts about your latest crush.

Writing can be a great way to get my thoughts and dreams out of my head. The question becomes when is it too much to share. Do people even read it or care? Sometimes it is just being vulnerable. Vulnerability can be good and transparent and make you real, but it can also be scary and people can perceive you as weak.

As a closet introvert, I live in my head sometimes. Other times, I love to scheme and dream with family and friends. I love coming up with ideas and plans. Finding ways to execute them can be a little tougher.

To write or not to write. To share or not to share. That is a question that I will ponder this year.

Thoughts?

2018

Each year I start with the idea that I will write more. Generally it lasts from a few days to a few weeks and then becomes random. I expect this year will be the same.

I do enjoy setting up the new year with a set of goals. Some are the same as last year with a few new ones thrown in.

To see others in a positive light- everyone has a story, try not to judge.

Be open minded- listen to someone you disagree with and try to understand their point of view.

Be present- listen intently, don’t be in a rush.

Travel- immerse in other cultures.

Be with people you love- and be loving.

FORGIVE others.

Laugh more!

Give back.

Pay it forward.

Pay attention to my health.

Never stop dreaming.

 

Additionally, I strive to take the high road, but to also stand up for what I believe in and to be more involved in making my community a better place.

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Happy New Year!

Taking Control

The first part of healing is admitting you have a problem. The challenge is when the problem is part of who you are as a person and how you operate.

People have always asked me how I handle multiple priorities and keep calm in stressful situations. My response has always been. “I just do.” For the most part, that is true. I can usually step back from a situation, map out in my mind how to handle it, make a plan, and move on. I won’t say there are not a few occasions where I get stressed and snappy, but they are rare.

That works great for the things I can control. The challenge is for the things that I can’t. The problem presents when I try to handle what I can’t control In the same way as the things I can. It doesn’t work. At least not for long.

For the past 3, nearly 4 years there have been many things that I have experienced that were out of my control. I dealt, I compartmentalized, I moved on. Even as I write this, it brings me back to a bible study I did called Unglued by Lysa Terkuerst. She talked about 2 types of people, the stuffers and exploders. I realize now that I have been a stuffer. At some point, the stuffing overflows.

Holding onto things and not actually processing them is not healthy. I am learning that the hard way.

I am learning that making a list of stress relief tools and obsessively trying each one does not work. (This is funny when I think about it). Praying, talking, and actually seeking help do work. I am working on relaxing, working on letting go, and identifying my triggers for stress so I can take control in a healthy way.

I encourage you if you are overwhelmed to seek assistance. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone. It is healthier than holding it all in.

This Is Not Normal

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This morning I had to stop looking at Twitter because it was making my blood pressure rise. Between the debate about the NFL, Puerto Rico, North Korea, and healthcare among many other things, it is enough to drive a sane person crazy,

This is not normal.

This is not normal.

This is not normal.

The President goes to a rally in Alabama (that is supposed to be support for a candidate he wants to win) and calls out the NFL and challengers them. This becomes a national debate about patriotism and the flag, when it started as stand (or kneel) to call out racial inequality. We respond with division and debate.

This is not normal.

There is a Hail Mary bill in congress to repeal Obamacare that threatens to harm millions of people by potential taking away affordable pre-existing condition coverage. Having a pre-existing condition, this concerns me. The bill is bad. Republicans know it is bad, but many will choose politics over people.

This is not ok.

My heart hurts for the people of Puerto Rico. We literally have a humanitarian crisis and the President is talking about Puerto Rico’s credit card bill. Did he forget they are Americans too?

This is not normal and it is not ok.

And then there is Rocket Man in North Korea…

I could go on, but you get the point.

I am not sure I like for the new normal.

Speaking Out

It sometimes feels like the world has gone crazy. I think social media has certainly escalates this feeling. Having the President on twitter has not helped to keep us informed, but instead makes some of us reel.

I struggle with staying silent and have since this election started. I have lost people along the way who I thought were friends, and those who have hung on, sometimes do it in a way that seems to add tone to the conversation.

I have been attacked and criticized, but being silent is not an option for me.

This President sows discord and causes me and many others anxiety. If I stay silent, I am affirming what I disagree with.

So I will continue to stand up. I will continue to speak up, I will continue to fight for what I believe in.