Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Laugh when you should cry

Sometimes you laugh when it's not funny. Sometimes that's all you can do because if you don't, you can't help but be swallowed up by what is really going on.  Because what's really going on is so overwhelming at that moment, and if you don't laugj,you're liable to cry and you don't know if you will be able to stop.  
  We are in the middle of a job change. Let me tell you something: it's scary.  I know that God has us. I know that we will be ok.  But change is scary, and sometimes fear and doubt creep in where they don't belong.  Tonight I am awake when I should be asleep.  My stomach is irritated. My mind racing.  Yet I know that this physical reaction to an emotional distress will prove to be fruitless. If not for the now lack of desire for that coveted ice cream. See? Already a light. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Erasing History

    I do not watch or listen to the news much, but sometimes it is hard to avoid the headlines.  In the past year/s there have been an increase in news reports of police brutality, specifically towards "black" people.  Most recently, an attack on a predominately "black" church.  Along with this is a influx of people (political leaders) saying we need to deal with racism: delete specific words or phrases from our speech, be more inclusive, do away with stereotypes, etc.  Ban the Confederate flag.  Demolish the Confederate memorial carving from Stone Mountain.  

    Before I get to my point, let me preface by saying that racism is bad and just plain moronic.  Slavery was bad and should have never happened.  (Though historians will neglect to teach that Africans were initially enslaved by their own people, a trend that was later picked up by Europeans.)  I do not, nor have I ever, thought that any human should be judged based on the color of their skin.  The same applies for gender.  

    Now, horrible and tragic things have happened in human history.  As Americans, our country has seen and continues to have less than stellar moments.  Those moments in time that we look back and wish that we could try again to do it right, to correct those mistakes.  We cannot though.  What we can do is teach our history to our children and grandchildren.  We can show them how humans went wrong, and how to live better.  In order to do that, we have to keep that history fresh in our memories.  Hiding from it isn't going to help.  Pretending it didn't happen will not change anything.  How are we supposed to learn?  

   There are a couple of petitions out right now trying to order the ban of Confederate flags and removal of the Confederate memorial carving.  Why?  Because it's offensive.  I say, that in doing this, you become the ostrich with it's head stuck in the sand.  Pretend it didn't happen.  Well guess what?  It did.  And it was horrible.  Now some people see the monument and say this war happened and we lost.  A lot of people died fighting for something that they believed in.  Whether it was right or wrong, they fought for it.  Never forget.  Others look at that same monument and say "this is a battle we won.  We fought for freedom for all and won.  Never forget."

    Consider the 9/11 memorial in New York.  Where two towering buildings once stood, is now a memorial hole in the ground, with a reflection pool.  Some might say, "look here:  Something horrible happened here and a lot of people lost their lives.  We, as Americans, came together in a dark time of our history and stood in solidarity against those who would see our country crumble.  We must never forget".   Yet, someone else might look at that memorial and say "this is when we struck.  This is when we fought to take down America, for all their 'freedoms' ".  Does anyone look at that memorial and say "This offends me.  Take it down."  

    Yes, I just compared the two events as being on the same level.  Just let that roll around in your head for a moment.  We cannot erase these moments from our history.  They are there.  Taking down a monument or memorial is not going to help us move forward.  The hate will still be there.  Only, when a few generations have passed, nobody will remember why they were taught to be angry in the first place.  They will hate for hate's sake.  It's like, why do women shave their legs?  I don't know.  Because our mothers shaved their legs.  Because our grandmothers shaved theirs.  But why?  Who said we should shave our legs?  What is the purpose?  Where and when did it begin?  I'd be willing to bet that this was not taught at home or school.  Just a social norm that you blindly accepted and went along with.  Never questioning it.  And so it goes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Knitting is like...

Knitting is like a dear friend that even when you haven't seen each other in a while, when you meet again, you pick up where you left off, and nothing seems to have changed.  A really good book.  You know how it will end, (because you snuck a look at that last page) but you still enjoy the story.  Knitting is like a relationship.  You work on it and work on it, and it never seems to end.  Until one day it does, and even though you should have, you never saw it coming.  Just WHAM!  The end.  Knitting is like raising a child.  You start out with this tiny little thing, and you work on it every day.  Lovingly helping it to grow.  Each stitch is done with such care.  You make a mistake here and there, but you pick up that dropped stitch along the way, and hope that the finished result is something beautiful despite its inherent flaws.  You see them, but you love them anyway.  Sort of like a signature.  Then one day you get to the end of the pattern and you have to give it away, because it was never meant to be yours anyway; and you want to hold on just a little longer.  Maybe you even drug out the work a little longer than necessary just to spend a little more time with it.  But eventually you do, let it go; and you hope that whomever receives it, loves it as much as you loved making it.  There's a reason why knitters/crocheters are so passionate about their work.  What's your passion?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Corpus Christi or bust

The boys and I had a mostly great weekend.  We went on a trip with the Cub Scout Pack to Corpus Christi, Tx.  That is about a 8-9 hour drive.  Along the way, we stopped in Hearne, where we had lunch at Camp Hearne, a POW internment camp that housed German POWs during WWII.  From there we drove to Lake Corpus Christi State Park, where we set up camp for the night.  Did you know there is a Scout camp near it?  
I am going to be upfront and tell you that I am coming to grips with the realization that camping and I do not get along.  I don't think I will be doing it anymore for as long as I can avoid it.  Now, give me an RV or a cabin, and you have yourself a deal.  Otherwise, deal's off.  My boys did great though.  We got a little rain that Friday night.  Ok, early Saturday morning.  I slept maybe 2 hours.  On Saturday we headed the rest of the way to Corpus Christi and boarded the USS Lexington.  The Pack was signed up for the overnight program, and let me tell you that after not sleeping in a tent, sleeping in ship's quarters was a dream.  
The USS Lexington, CV-16, is a World War II-vintage Essex Class aircraft carrier.*  Our Pack got to tour the ship and sleep overnight on the ship, taking two meals in the ship's galley as well.  Now, this is a lot of ship to explore, and my boys were all over it.  Even the youngest was up and down stairs like nobody's business.  We had a blast.  Though the youngest is in no hurry to return to it because it is so big.  On Sunday, after we left the ship, the boys and I headed to the beach while the rest of the Pack went to the Texas State Aquarium right next to the Lexington.  The two younger boys hadn't been to a beach in nearly four years!  The boys all decided that when they grow up, they want to live near the beach.  I can't say that I blame them.  We discovered that the ocean water in the Gulf of Mexico is considerably warmer than that of the Pacific Ocean, i.e. California coast.  That will be something to research this year with the boys.  
Initially I had been dreading the long drive home.  I even began to feel a bit stressed during the first half of the drive, as I became very tired, very quickly.  But, a stop at the gas station and a Monster Coffee energy drink later, and I was good to go.  The boys and I had tons of fun coming up with different games to play as we drove.  We got home last evening and were very happy to be home.  Though there was some stress and hurt feelings in the beginning, the memories made with my children are priceless.  I am glad we had this opportunity.  What would I do different in the future?  Rent an RV or travel trailer, or even check into a hotel rather than attempt to sleep in a tent.  Me, exhaustion, not a good combo.  
(Today we are still in our pajamas, watching TV and getting caught up on laundry.)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Big decisions

Very recently, Everette and I decided that we will home school at least the two younger boys come the new school year.  At this time, our oldest is being given the choice.  I have done tons of research, we have talked about it, prayed about it and after much debate finally decided that this is the right move for our family. It feels like such a huge decision, like getting married or deciding to have another child or buy a house. This is our children's future. No longer will we blindly leave their education to virtual strangers or a government that does not know us.  This is not something we are taking lightly.  This didn't just pop into our minds to do. Rather, it is something we have been discussing for over two years.

This past week I have been researching learning and teaching methods, curriculum, everything.  Going into this, I had no idea how broad a statement "homeschooling" is.  I am rapidly learning that there is much to decide.  Do we want to invest hundreds of dollars for materials or utilize more of the free tools online?   Do we stick with just one program or pull from several resources?  I haven't even decided how tight a schedule we will keep.

I already feel that a portion of our home will become dedicated to learning.  I have a ton of rearranging to do.  Need to figure out what should stay in the house and what needs to either be sold or put in the shed. I know it will be a lot of trial and error until we figure even half of this all out.  I was afraid that we were going to get a lot of flack for making this decision, but so far most friend and family feedback has been very positive.  There has been only one so far that is against it.  If there is anyone else who disagrees with our decision, they have kept silent so far.

I want to say that I am not making this decision with the opinion that everyone should home school.  I just know that at this time in my life, I want to have more of a say in what and how my children learn.  I want the freedom to take the kids out and go explore.  Whether that takes place at the library, the park, zoo, museum or even the grocery store.  And I don't want to have to plan our lives around their school work.  I would rather plan their school work around our lives.  There have been some frustrations with the school system.  Without a doubt, the STAAR testing plays a big part in all of this.  That is a rant for another day though.  In the end it comes down to wanting more time with my children.  More involvement and say in what goes on in their days, and in their brains.

I know that there are going to be sacrifices.  I definitely cannot get a job outside the home now.  I can't just go out for coffee while the kids are in school.  The biggest one is I will be fully responsible for our children's education.  Everette works and will continue to work.  At times he will be attending college classes as well.  So this does fall solely on my shoulders.  I know there will be days I will want to pull my hair out or drop them off at the school and say "you take them".  But with God's strength and the support of friends and family and a fairly large homeschooling group, we can do this.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Finding purpose

For most of my life I felt that I had little to no value.  I felt that I was not important in this world and that I had no place.  What was my purpose?  What was I besides just another no-talent human?  I felt that way for a very long time, until the first time I became a mother.  Even the moment I found out I was pregnant, I suddenly had a purpose.  I was a Mother. It was now my job to love and take care of this unborn baby.
When my First was born, he needed me 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  I had purpose.  My arms were full.  He needed me for a couple years, and then not so much.  But by that point I had number two.  The pregnancy was fantastic. I had my purpose as long as he was inside of me.  After he as born, that purpose slipped for a while. He didn't need me as much as the First.  But I was still needed.
Finally, I had my Third.  I held on to him for as long as I could, because I knew he was my last.  But now he is in elementary school and my arms are empty.  What is my purpose?  Who am I now that there is no one who needs me like that anymore?  How do I redefine myself as a woman? Somehow, being Mother to three school age children seems smaller than Mother to an infant or toddler. My arms are empty and they don't know what to do.  I find myself wanting another child, but that can't happen now.
So what do I do?  I knit, crochet, scrapbook.  I clean house and cook meals.  I get involved with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.  I throw birthday parties and classroom parties, and for a while I have purpose.  I have a value.  Then there are these moments of inactivity and silence.  Moments when my arms are empty and my hands and mind are idle.  I begin to feel that old familiar melancholy of insignificance.
My mother tells me I do too much.  I am involved in too many activities.  That I need to slow down.  She has seven children and her arms were full for a very long time.  Though her arms have been empty for more than 20 years, she has reached that point in her life where she is ready and accepting of that silence and inactivity.  She is confident in who she is as a woman.  My mother no longer understands that by my involvement and attempt at constant activity, my mind does not have time to dwell on the emptiness of my arms.  When I am at my busiest I can forget that feeling of being unimportant.
I may have spent more than half my life feeling insignificant, but I found purpose in being a mom.  I know that at some point I will accept life as a mother of grown children and feel confident in who I will be.  For now, I must try each day to create my own purpose.  


Friday, January 31, 2014

Old wives' tales

It never ceases to amaze me when I see a post online about some archaic remedy still being suggested in modern times. Although I admit to having no professional medical training, I do pay attention and to my studying when necessary. I believe I can say with some certainty that leaving a sliced onion in the room of someone with the flu will in fact, not cure them of the flu. Germs will not magically float across the room to the onion like a magnet. Neither will binding an onion to the bottom of one's foot, cure them of whatever ails them.  Because chances are, that cold was well on its way out the door when you strapped that onion to your foot, and did not actually "draw the infection out". 
Feeding a cold and starving a fever is a falsity. Starving yourself while ill will only further weaken you. The term was stave, meaning to prevent. Though there are hundreds of other foolish and illogical "remedies" passed on for decades if not hundreds of years, let me just say that if it sounds odd, irrational, or just plain crazy, then it probably is. Use your common sense. Take your vitamins. Down that cough syrup and acetaminophen when needed. Talk to your doctor. Coincidence can be very deceiving at times, leading us to believe in ideas that are inaccurate. 
All this being said, I must say that the vinegar and mouthwash bath for callused feet does indeed work. Granted I acknowledge the possibility that soaking ones' feet in any liquid for 20-30 minutes is liable to make any amount of dead skin more eager to slough off. For all I know water and dish soap might be just as effective. I shall try it on my husband's ever peeling feet and see.