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.

The Healthcare Debate

I am pretty sure my friends on social media are tired of all of my posts about healthcare. We don’t all share the same views, but for me this is a really important topic, as it should be for everyone. Apathy is not acceptable because at some point we all need access to affordable healthcare.

Yes, you can argue that Obamacare is flawed and in many cases unaffordable. This is true and should be fixed. The problem is we can’t fix the flaws when we are busy playing politics and trying to substitute the current plan with a plan that in the end will be harmful. The harmful part is not my opinion. It is fact.

There is nothing in Graham-Cassidy that shows that deductibles will be lower or premiums will be less. Pre-existing conditions are not guaranteed to be covered, because the potential increase in premiums makes healthcare for people who need it the most unaffordable.

I for one, do not think having 50 different healthcare plans across the US is a good idea. Florida has chosen not to expand Medicare and is one of the worst states for mental healthcare and I am supposed to trust them with my healthcare? Even employer plans are at risk, because some of the mandates of Obamacare will be gone.

As part of a family where we have hit our out of pocket maximum for the past 3 years due to what is no pre-existing conditions, this bill scares me. Even the Republicans admit this is about politics. We need to make the debate about people.

Please tell our Senators to vote no. This is a bad idea.

Writers block

I was sharing with a friend the other day that I really want to start writing again. I miss it. The problem I am facing is that there is just too much on my mind that I want to say. I know that the simple solution is to just break it down into bite size chunks, but then where do I start?

I remember in college when I had to write essays I would pace back and forth with pen and paper in hand until the words came. They always did.

Today, I made the decision to just start. To put down words and see where it goes. I hope it doesn’t mean that I write today and then leave the words behind again for months like I have been doing.

Part of it is that the world today is so overwhelming. It is like an emotional rollercoaster. Waiting for a hurricane and now watching the devastating effects of Irma and Maria unfold. The earthquake in Mexico, seeing mothers crying for their children in a school that has collapsed. Russia. Healthcare.

So I will use my words to pray, to comfort, to be kind. I will also use them to fight for what I believe in. To stand up for others.

And I hope I can put the words in writing.

Done rambling for now…

Peace out.

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I have been more of a centrist than a a Republican or Democrat. I have always carefully considered the issues and candidates before casting my vote. Early in my life my parents taught me that voting was a privilege. I remember being in the voting booth with my mom back when it was curtains and levers. 

In my heart, I want to understand the deep division in this country. I feel like I don’t necessarily fit into one platform or the other. Both sides have some radical views that I don’t share, but when I side with one or the other it appears that I endorse all of the party platform. 

What I do believe in is that healthcare should be available and affordable. Right now our healthcare system is focused more on sick care than on healthcare. I agree that the ACA needs to be fixed, but it concerns me that we have no real replacement. What I would like is a single payer system like many countries have, but then I am labeled a socialist. 

I am pro-life. I mean this in a way that is more than just pro-birth. I hate war. I believe in gun safety. I am not anti-gun. Certainly we should have the right to protect ourselves in the case of a zombie apocalypse or other circumstances where our lives or freedoms are threatened. 

I keep seeing Republicans call people who are deemed progressive and college students in particular as snowflakes. Stop it. It just makes you look dumb and inconsiderate. Not all Bernie following millennials are weak minded and entitled. 

When it comes to faith. I love and follow Jesus. I am now working beside people who are not believers as well as people who are. It is an interesting dynamic, but being around people who believe differently opens the door for healthy conversation, learning, and debate. 

Today I went to a peaceful rally in Orlando in support of the Women’s march.  It was a beautiful event with women from all walks of life and of all ages.  I have already seen posts across the internet and people saying that women in this country can do what they want and should have no worries while people in other countries are truly oppressed. They think we are just whiny. One woman called protesters sluts and whores. She also calls herself a Christian.  It makes my heart hurt. 

We protest because we can. 

We protest because we should. 

We protest prejudice and judgement. 

As long as there are labels there will be fear. I want so badly to work together to make this country better because it is already great. (I heard that at the rally today.)

Truth and Consequences

Great Insights from Susan into writing and truth.

40 Acres on the Web

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Before we were engulfed in the digital age, reporters depended mostly on human to human interactions to get the news. As a professional writer, you had to cultivate sources on the phone and in person.  You needed to be an expert listener and build trust with your sources.  It was a careful balance (as it is today) to get the story while protecting your source at the same time. Once you had the story, you had to cajole and horse trade to get a few sources to confirm the story on the record before you’d consider writing your piece.

I read somewhere recently that journalism is one of the few respected fields where you don’t need credentials to be really good.  It never occurred to me that this is true, although my experience certainly bears this out.  I’ve even heard it described more of a trade than a profession.

In the 90s, I…

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Speaking Up

I watched the movie Hidden Figures this weekend and I was so inspired not only by the intelligence of the women portrayed in the movie, but also by their respectful demeanor in how they stood up for themselves in a way which ultimately benefited others. As we approach the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., his quotes seem to be so relevant now.

My quote for the week on my board at work is:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent on things that matter.”

I wish this was a time when I could just go with the flow and blend in with the crowd, but it isn’t. For me, standing up and saying that I was going to diverge from the Republican crowd and vote for Hillary Clinton was the start of speaking up and speaking out. It was an easy decision for me not to vote for our President-elect, but it was a harder decision to tell it to my friends and to say why.

As January 20th comes closer, I feel the need to speak up when I don’t agree with something. I hope to be respectful. I hope not to be condescending. I will not go into the night and pull up my big girl panties and be silent because it is what it is. I will make phone calls, send emails, and shout from social media. I want to understand the whys, but at the same time, I think there are some things I might not ever fully understand.

I can’t say that Trump is not my President, because that is not my choice. As an American Citizen, I feel that I need to respect the office. However, I will exercise my first amendment rights to challenge the things I don’t agree with by using my freedom of speech.

Two Sides

As a former volunteer judge for Public Forum Debate, I loved that the kids who were debating had to research and defend both sides of an argument. We are all biased to prefer one side over the other, and even as a judge i had to work to take my biases out of the equation so that I could be an impartial judge in the process. It is a great exercise in understanding and listening. It is also a great exercise in having data and sources to back up your arguments.

Lately I have found myself in a position of advocating for gun safety. I have joined a committee with the League of Women Voters that is working towards making sure there is a balance between gun ownership and gun safety. I for one, am not a fan of guns at all, but I do understand the intent behind the Second Amendment and believe people should have a right to own a gun with some exceptions; a discussion for another day.

Since the Pulse shooting there have been a couple of other shootings in Florida that have received media attention. Most recently, yesterday at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. This shooting comes on the heels of SB 140 which is focused on open carry and extending guns to be allowed on college campuses, airports, and libraries.  I had recently asked my son, who is a great researcher and writer to help me to respond to an email from Senator Stuebe where he defended his position on open carry and college campus guns. My son said he would help, but later sheepishly asked me to consider that he might not be opposed to guns on campus. OUCH!

That conversation ensued in a short discussion about the state of society as we know it and the idea that promoting gun free zones might not be a good idea. I listened and still disagree, but I was happy that he felt comfortable challenging my views so that we could have a healthy discussion, I did see an article this morning on business insider that showed some data that gunmen rarely target gun free zones. I shared it with him.

I say all of this as a reminder to myself that all stories have two sides and it is important to listen and understand, It is also important to continue to seek information to back up our arguments rather than just listening to emotion or platform. I have been proved wrong before, and I am open to learning and understanding all points of view. My one caveat is that it needs to be healthy discussion, not hateful rhetoric.

 

 

 

Finding My Tree

Since around 2000, I have been working on my family tree. It has been challenging and interesting. Along the way there have been roadblocks and revelations. My sister Debbie and I have become unofficial detectives in the process. 

For me, working on my tree is just as much about history as it is connections, but it is really cool when you meet the one right person who can open up an entire branch of the family in one call, email, or Facebook message. 

We have connected with family as far away as Latvia and as close by as Florida. My daughter Adrianna, had an opportunity to meet some of our family in Latvia last year and shared a common bond of blue eyes with that family there. 

Meeting our family in France was really fun too and made the trip even more special. 

DNA testing has made the journey even more fascinating. Looking at connections and trying to place them in the tree can be a real mystery,  but when a clue is followed and it results in the answer it makes it all worthwhile. 

In addition to finding connections, we love to read the history of how family moved from one country to another. It is mind enriching and fun to find the facts. For some family it was fleeing war and oppression, for others it was opportunity. 

We even found some celebrities along the way. 

Some of my favorite sites are AncestryJewishgenGeni, and Gedmatch