Identity and Voting

July 30th is the last day to identify with a party to be able to vote in the primaries in Florida. When I left the party I had been part of for most of my life, I decided to just declare for the other party for that reason. These days, I am not in agreement with the politics of either party, but to me having a voice is more important.

I remember going to the voting booth with my mom as a child and watching her pull the levers. As a naturalized citizen, she took this right very seriously. I do too. My family passionately talks about politics. We don’t always agree, but we vote.

Politics has been so polarized and divisive since the 2016 election. Some people have just tuned out while others have become more engaged.

If you want a say in policies and laws that affect you, vote.

If you want to defend or stand up for what you believe in, vote.

If you want to complain about the status quo, vote.

Apathy changes nothing. Don’t stand on the sidelines. Become engaged. Voting is a right. Take advantage of it.

Just my 2 cents.

Religion and Politics- Let’s Talk!

We were always told not to talk about religion and politics because they are such heated topics. Some of us are very passionate about our beliefs and others think being neutral is the safe bet.

More and more, we are so divided and distrustful when it comes to these topics. We assume that others in our circle think like us because believing otherwise is just too hard. For people like me, we strive to understand what is happening and how we got here. My logical brain doesn’t get it.

Social media gives us a platform to say things we wouldn’t say to others in public. Yesterday, I called something out that was photoshopped and was asked to “prove it” which is what I promptly did, but several people after me chimed in with hateful comments about a picture that was fake. Anger over something that was created just for that purpose.

What I don’t understand is why people feel the need to defend, deflect, and share things that make them appear to be racist, intolerant, and sometimes hateful. And then I wonder, do I appear that way to them?

I have purposely not created a bubble. I listen to both sides, I strive to understand. I crave productive debate and rational discussion. Yet, I feel like that is not enough?

How can we see each other’s point of view?

How can we seek first to understand?

How can we love more and hate less?

How do we move forward from here?

Pondering….

Random Thoughts

Sometimes I start to write and I don’t finish because my thoughts are random. I feel like it might not make sense, or it may go off on a tangent.

Today, I just feel the need to get some things out of my head and onto virtual paper so here goes-

I love flowers. The kind still attached to their roots with the freedom to grow. They are beautiful and make the world a better place.

I don’t laugh enough. I tend to be too serious, but I love to laugh so hard I cry and can’t speak.

I overthink things and replay them in my head. I try to rationalize everything and that isn’t rational.

I love to travel and am easily impressed by new things. I love history and art. I love old buildings and modern ones too.

I used to rarely relax, but now I enjoy a Netflix binge or two.

I love political discussion and debate.

Actually, I am pretty obsessed with politics.

I wish I could solve world peace or that someone would. I don’t understand all the hate in this world. Why can’t we get along?

I am so proud of my kids and their accomplishments. I am so blessed to be their mom.

I have the best husband ever. He gets me.

So, random thoughts..

💗🙃🐛🦋

Being Naive

Some days I wonder why trying to do the right thing is hard. Why have we become so divided, so critical, and so unwilling to compromise?

After having a discussion with my boss yesterday about a possible grant that led to a conversation on social justice, he gave me feedback that logic doesn’t solve some of the tough problems we face in society. Being that logic is my default go to, that is hard to hear, but in this case true.

Our biases and fears are not based on logic, they are based on emotion and experience. The way we are raised, the people we associate with, and our lived experiences play just as much into the equation as logic.

My version of what is right may not be the same as yours. Coming to an understanding may be harder than it feels like it should.

Am I just so naive that my thinking that we should start with what we have in common and come to understanding on what we don’t won’t work?

Is compromise dead?

Is understanding each other just not worth the effort?

I for one choose to stay optimistic. I realize that in many cases I have chosen to fight battles with my form of logic and it has backfired, but I will continue to seek to understand and try to build bridges instead of walls.

Sometimes my approach is wrong.

Sometimes I might offend even when I don’t mean to.

I want to be better. I want to believe we can overcome bias and fear to understand each other and respect each other.

I choose to stay naive and believe in what is possible.

Milestones

Last week my oldest daughter turned 25. Today my son is 20. A quarter of a century old and no longer a teenager. Wow. Time flies when you are having fun.

My heart swells when I think of the amazing adults they have become. Eddie and I were purposeful in our parenting and while we set boundaries, we never held back on loving these kids unconditionally and believing in them.

Family has always been important to me. My parents and my grandparents before them placed family as a high priority. Because of their example, it is easy for me to love others. My sister is one of my best friends in the world and I feel so blessed to be able to have her and her family close.

Yesterday was 2 years since Eddie ended chemo. I am so thankful to have him as my partner in life. We have lived through every marriage vow in our 28 years of marriage, but every second has been worth it.

It is funny to me that people try to hide their age. For me, every day is a gift. Every birthday is a milestone.

“Live life fully, love unconditionally, no spiritual regrets.”

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. 💗

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!