Thursday, January 17, 2013

gun control

while reading through history, one does not read about mass shootings from random citizens (with any regularity) until the 1900s. guns were around long before then. my opinion, though i know mine doesnt count (i am not a gun owner) is that guns are not the problem. we, as human beings, raising other human beings, have failed to teach accountability. we have failed to teach quality and value of life.

i see it daily. if a child does wrong and you ask why? what do they typically do? they point at other children and say incredulously, "they were doing it. they didnt get in trouble."

if you ask someone in prison, "why did you commit this crime?" they rarely take ownership of their deeds. they point fingers at their mean father, their over-bearing mother...or their lack of parents and the poor state of group homes and even poorer state of foster families. they say "i was abused." they say "i was bullied." they do not say, "i did this because i was angry and i acted out without care of concern for anyone."
there are plenty of people who were brought into this world in depraved conditions, who've witnessed the murder of their own families, who've survived when no one should have...and they did not grab a gun and go on a spree.
when mass murder happens, the news will flash that murderer, his name, and his life all over the media for weeks, months, and even years. as spectators, we watch, gap-jawed and unable to turn away. the news feeds on our morbid fascination and digs deeper: "what was his childhood like? what was his mother/father like? why why why?"
instead of giving these murderers notoriety and teaching our children that these terrible acts can earn you instant celebrity and a free psychoanalysis, why cant we turn our children's focus on some success and how hard work and a fierce determination to overcome the odds is rewarding beyond words?
look at the boy down the road who is deaf, wore hearing aids, and went to regular school. he was looked at funny, singled out, and sometimes made fun of, but he turned the other cheek, focused on what mattered, and now...he's a doctor.
what about the girl who was in a car accident and was told repeatedly there was no hope. that she would never walk again: 2 years of painful rehabilitation, lots of tears and sweat...she just took her first steps two weeks ago.
we need to teach our children that life, no matter how young or how old, no matter the odds---life matters. life is worth living and always worth saving.
teach by action. our children are always watching. if we cannot handle our anger without acting out in violence, then our children will mirror our actions.
guns are not the problem. we, as a society, have been. let's show our future generations how to overcome when the odds are stacked against us.
picture a toddler. a toddler cannot articulate their frustration, they get angry, they pick up a toy, and they throw it. if left alone, they will continue this. if you simply take that toy away without saying anything, without doing anything, that toddler will pick up another toy and throw it. you must use words. you must educate. once you've done that, you can surround that toddler with toys and that toddler will not throw any of them.
dont take away the guns. we're still left with hands that can do harm- either on their own- or with whatever object is within their reach.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trophy Child (Ted Cunningham) book review

As a parent, I think we can all agree that we only want the best for our children.
In the book, Trophy Child, Ted Cunningham, the author, helps us see the real and true definition of what that "best" is.
Trophy Child takes you by the hand and walks you through some of Mr. Cunningham's own family experiences- no matter how cringe worthy they may be. This book doesn't feel as though you're being scolded as a bad parent for getting caught up in the world's "bests"; it feels more like a meeting of two close friends helping hold each other accountable to the Bible's calling of being a mother or father.

As a parent to a child who is socially and athletically active, this book convicted my heart on more than one level.

Mr. Cunningham talks about knowing our limits (our own, as well as each member of our family) and to refrain from adding more and more activities to fill every minute of every day.

He provides simple strategies for maintaining margin in our family's lives, he doesn't really care so much for your parenting style so much as as he cares about your family values, your balancing, and your ablilty to prioritize your relationship with God.

Every chapter ends with a parent gut check; bringing the whole chapter home to you. I personally LOVE that. It's like a friendly little reminder- "You know this was for you, right? Make sure you're bringing this home, literally and figuratively."

This book is full of parenting jewels and gems that I will use from here on out. I cannot wait to reread this book again with my husband.

My personal reccomendation?

Don't just buy this book to read it, utilize it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

bringing out the troll in all of us

what is it about the internet that turns us into the cruelest versions of ourselves? if you were to take a look at any opinionated stance on a hot button issue (vaccinating babies, circumcision, God in schools, republican vs. democrat, etc.) you will see that people dont respond politely- hardly ever.
i rarely- if ever- see a comment that goes something like this: "thank you for sharing how you feel on this topic and why you feel the way you, now, i would love to share my view with you and why i hold that view; maybe we can get together for coffee and dig a little deeper into the issue?"
nope. normally i see a LOT of name calling, harsh words, and just blatant anger towards someone for not seeing things the way they do.

now, i'm not innocent in this matter. i, too, have gone off the deep end when replying to someone. i try to censor myself, check myself, and breathe before replying, but sometimes, the faceless wall that is the internet takes me by the hand and i become...a 5 year old that wants to pinch the soft part of their arm (about 3 inches above the elbow) and call them a doody head.

i cant help it. i get angry..dont we all, sometimes? mostly, i lose my cool when someone starts calling you an idiot or worse (a poor parent) for your beliefs and choices. for example, some parents- especially the "crunchy" or granola-type parents, see circumcision as cruel, inhumane, and just an out right form of terrible torture. we'll call crunchy parent, parent A. so when someone replies-parent B- with a statement, "we circumcised our son due to our religious beliefs, we were there for it, he never reacted as though he was in pain, he healed nicely, and we've had no issues since then." parent A, claiming cruelty, goes defcon 5. you, my dear parent B, have just unknowingly entered yourself into war...and while you may have a few folks come to your defense; parent A will have an army of trolls seek you out, find you on other sites, and hound you incessantly.

which causes me to take step back and ask- what are these people like in real life? have i met these types? the ones who will almost stalk you with anger and name calling simply because you dont see eye to eye with them? how do they behave day to day? do they have children? how do they react when one of them disagrees with them??

recently, wsaz has been running a story about a picture of Jesus in school and a group of folks wanting it taken down. now, let me be clear, i'm not following this story. havent watched any part of it on tv. i've only seen postings on facebook about it. i clicked on the comments and it actually scared me how angry people- adults- are reacting to this. angry, personal attacks on one another.

which leads me to ask: who raised these people?? did the parents fail? who taught them that this was acceptable behavior?? what makes them think that talking/typing this way is okay?

when i was in first grade, we would say a prayer as a class before going to lunch. "God is great, God is good...etc" i loved that. i still remember this prayer, word for word. i taught it to my daughter. she says it before all her meals.

thanks to our church and our families God is a part of my children's lives. public school? not so much. Perry elementary (when Lily attended there) was okay with any and all talk about God- which i thought was awesome, but not necessary.

why isnt it necessary? because a love of God should be formed in a child's heart, cultured, and nurtured by those who love her to prepare her for the outside world. you cannot force others to love will...freedom of choice...however sad it may be, some folks simply choose to walk away from the truth. and we're teaching Lily that (as we will Amelia and Cain).

so should they take the picture of Jesus down? if you ask me, no...i dont think so. i'm old-school and i dont like change. change bugs me...but that's one of my quirks.
but would i be just as okay with a picture of allah hanging in a school? honestly, i dont know. i know that Lily wouldnt care and i wouldnt "worry" about a photo convincing Lily to leave God. she's smarter than that.

i think some people just really need attention and have no idea how to get positive essence, they never outgrew their terrible twos phase. and so, you end up with these super angry comments from these folks who will literally haunt a post awaiting your reply so they can get more irate and belligerent.

i guess you need to go back to the old adage that our mothers and grandmothers taught us: if you dont have something nice to say, then dont say anything at all. and if your mother didnt teach you that, take it under advisement now. it's a wise choice.

Friday, January 4, 2013

moments when i should be sleeping...

some days i still catch myself getting lost in grief.
i'll see a picture of Lily smiling in july 2010. it's a crazy, open, laughing smile. a smile that doesnt know real sadness. a smile that knows no loss. i can date most pictures by looking at them. our faces have changed. everything has changed.
just a picture pre-august 2010 can still send me reeling. it will place me right back in the er, staring helplessly back and forth at arnie and at Lily who was standing near the end of my bed.

but that's not why i'm writing this.

i'm writing this because every day, i find something new to be thankful for. Amelia wouldnt be here if i hadnt went through that storm of grief. i simply wouldnt have her.
i truly believe that Amelia was sent directly from heaven above to me. she is my clown. she makes me laugh nonstop. it doesnt matter what kind of day i have, she can put a smile on my lips and laughter in my lungs. i dont think she even tries, she's just naturally a total character. she's made funny faces since the day she was born. now she poses, dances, yells, talks, and sings to me.
when i get upset and raise my voice, Amelia is the first one to make me laugh before i can get mad. she'll follow me around and mimic everything i do, making me laugh and realize- i'm ridiculous when i'm mad...and by the way, dont we all feel better when we laugh?
she's a total ball of energy that can wear you down quickly, but i tell you, however relieved i am that she's taking a nap, minutes into it, i find myself missing her and watching a clock for the time for her to wake up.
she's started walking much more now. she loves walking towards me and at the very last minute spinning around and walking away- chuckling at my fake dismay. she'll smile knowingly when she knows she's about to make me laugh. for a 18 month old, she's wise beyond her year(s).
and little man. he is so very special. Cain has hugged me and clung to me since day one. even as he sleeps, he reaches for my finger, my hand, my arm..something to hold. he will often raise his eyebrows at me, as if even at his young age, he cannot believe what a total sap his mommy is. he giggles when i kiss his cheeks. he steals my heart daily. i find myself marveling at the man he will become. i whisper to him to never change his sweetness, and if he must, to simply become sweeter.
and if you know me, you might be wondering where Lily is in all this. well, Lily put this all back in perspective for me one day when i was feeling sad. it was as if she had read my mind. she was playing with Amelia and just said- out of the blue- that while losing the baby made her sad, she was thankful because now we have Amelia..and we wouldnt have her at all if we hadnt gone through that.

so the point isnt that we've gone through dark days, the point is we MADE it through together and we're stronger and so much more thankful for everything.
Baby smiles, baby giggles, and holding hands are things that i live for.

so hug your children. hug them until they tell you to stop. dont ever look back and wish you'd hugged more. be thankful for every moment and on bad days, make a list of things that make you smile.

there are some nights when i am beat down tired...the day has been hard, nothing went right, and i know sleep cant come soon enough...
but instead, i stand still, silent, and i listen to the sound of sleeping babies. Cain, who chuckles and belly laughs in his sleep and Amelia who snores like an old man, and sometimes talks. i stand and i marvel at the gifts God has blessed me with.
i cannot hold onto anger, sadness, or frustration from the day or from the past when i take in these moments for what they truly are:
gifts from God.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

we're not gonna take it...NO we're not gonna take it...we're not gonna take it anymore...

i've just read this article entitled "how to talk to little girls" and now i'm just angry with society.
the article talks about how we shouldnt start a conversation with a little girl by telling her how darn cute she is. apparently, telling her she's adorable will set her up for eating disorders, an overwhelming urge to get plastic surgery, and a general overall bad feeling about themselves....all because you noticed she was pretty.
the article also talks about how nearly 50% of 3-6 years old worry about being fat. mascara and lip stick are being worn on a regular basis before the age of 12.


see, i was under the impression that as a parent of little girls...i would set the standard for beauty.
i was also under the impression that since these kids aren't even teenagers, I would most certainly have a say so over when and where my girls can and will (if EVER, at these ages) wear make up.

i was unaware that telling my girls i think they're flipping adorable would cause harm and i'm basically killing their self worth with every compliment i give.

i really loath articles that tell me how i should talk to my children. it makes me angry when a writer tries to scare me with statistics and warnings of what my children will turn into if i dont heed their warnings right now.

my children are NOT statistics. you learn to not be a statistic when you're facing down illnesses (that statistically don't give you long to live) every day. dont base your future off numbers based off studies controlled by people who

i've taught my children that beauty is everywhere because everything and everyone is made by God. if God made it, it IS beautiful. i've taught them to never EVER make fun of someone for their looks. looks are unique and only a small part of what makes someone special.

lily learned a lesson in beauty a few years ago when i used an analogy of an old building (one that i fell in love with) in pt pleasant, wv...that was torn down. i showed her pictures of it when it was in its prime, i showed her pictures of it when i was in high school and i trespassed to get those pictures and marvel at its beauty...and finally i showed her the spot where it used to stand. she almost cried. we drive by there every now and then and she comments on how empty the place seems now. i have to agree.
not everyone saw that place as beautiful and it was torn down. i told her to NEVER let someone tear her down...because..well...look at what's left behind.

lastly, if I wear make up, it's mascara. if i wear more than that, it is seriously a special occasion. every now and then, i let Lily play with my makeup. to me, it's part of being a little girl. she also will wear my heels. we laugh, we take pictures, and we have a great time.
oh, and also, my 10 year old has caught glimpses of america's next top model and YES, she wants to be on it. you know why? to make sure ALL the girls know they're beautiful, and also, she wants to prove that a smart girl can win, too.
i tell my children they are gorgeous. ALL THE TIME.
i'm going to make sure when they get to that point where i'm no longer within ear shot, if some idiot says something hurtful about their looks, it will roll off them like it's NOTHING..because they'll know how beautiful they are.
because their mom told them so. because their family tells them so. because strangers tell them in grocery stores.
telling a kid they're cute is NOT harmful, lisa bloom, but telling parents to conform to society's expectations- yeah. i'd say that's tantamount to drinking the koolaid.
grow a pair of lady balls and think for yourself. define beauty for your children because if you dont, some dumb ass writer for the huffington post will gladly define it for them. who do you want your kids looking up to and believing in?
RAISE your own kids. dont bother me with your semantics.