Tag Archives: love

Group 12 – Reunion Group, raw.honest.loved.

This is one of my favorite blogs out there! I was part of her project with my Nana a few years ago. There are few things more powerful. There are links at the bottom to the earlier groups. If you haven’t been following this DO IT! (With tissues)…

“Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. Yes, we are totally exposed …

Source: Group 12 – Reunion Group, raw.honest.loved.

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SCOTUS decides the Hobby Lobby case: AKA #BoycottHobbyLobby

It’s days like this where the impulsive part of my brain says, “Grab the children & move to Canada! . . . NOW!!!”

Then I read the following statement from our UUA President, Rev. Peter Morales, & I remember something that I watched during one of our Sunday morning worship services at last weekend’s General Assembly (which I will paste at the end:

http://www.uua.org/news/pressroom/pressreleases/296165.shtml

For those who are just waking up…this morning the US Supreme Court ruled in favor (5 to 4) of Hobby Lobby. This Corporation now has the right, based on their “religious beliefs” to pick & choose which insurance benefits they offer their employees.
In this case, we’re talking birth control. The “Christian Right Conservatives” don’t want to pay for contraceptives, basically (although meds like Viagra are okay…don’t get me started…I’m just beginning to not see red anymore).

Many are viewing this as a women’s issue, but it’s a men’s issue, a family issue…an everybody issue!

Go with me for just a minute…I’m going to get personal.

In my family, my husband works his butt off working full time, overtime when he can, gets benefits for the family. I work part time, 1-2 half days a week in the office & the rest of the time I work from home, averaging 16-18 hours a week, our 3 yr old goes to a Pre-school/daycare when I’m in the office. We have 2 other kids who are in school full time. I get paid monthly & even though my hours are minimal, my hourly pay is good & my paychecks cover most of our rent (and are equal to close to half of my husband’s monthly net pay).

I have an IUD. According to the New York Times, “The cost of an IUD, one of the most effective forms of birth control, is considerable. It requires a visit to the doctor, and a procedure to have the device put in place. Medical exams, insertion, and follow-up visits can run upward of $1,000. Without insurance coverage, it’s likely that many women will be unable to use them.” Luckily, my husband’s insurance covered it, but if more companies start following suit who knows if my next one will be covered. (They need to be replaced every 5 years.) I will also say that this is the only reliable method of birth control that works for my husband & I. We don’t have to worry about forgetting, misusing, having reactions from my IUD. It just works.

Now lets say for a minute that my wonderful husband worked for Hobby Lobby. They could have refused to pay for our IUD. There would have been NO WAY we could have paid for it. I know that I can’t take birth control pills (as I react); without getting too personal diaphragms don’t work for me; condoms aren’t practical for many married couples & they can break or get holes & even when used correctly they’re only 98% effective…we would end up pregnant again, I wouldn’t be able to work, we’d be on food stamps after my income stopped paying most of our rent (which is a program we know that they’ve been speaking out against) then we definitely wouldn’t be able to afford to get my IUD, then more babies….endless poverty cycle.

I don’t know how “Christian” “Pro-Family” people can go out of their way to create hardship for families who are just trying to protect themselves against having children that they’re either not ready for or perhaps (like we are) done making their family, or like many, taking the medications for other things all together.

One other analogy I offer that I want you to think about before I wrap this up, only because I think it’s all too easy to say, “well, if they don’t want to cover a medication, what’s the big deal? It’s their company…” (Even though the employees cover a fair amount of their own premium costs…)

let’s flip the perspective for a minute. I posted this in response to someone’s facebook post this morning & it got some feedback so I’ll put it to you all as well: *you are christian & work for a lovely Muslim family-owned corporation. They decided that during Ramadan, since THEY fast from sun up to sun down as part of their Religious Beliefs, they would stop allowing food on the business properties from sun up to sun down, just during Ramadan. You are welcome to drive off site, eat something, & drive back during your 30 min lunch break but they won’t give you more time & this would only allow you a few minutes to eat & ends up costing you more $ in gas each week. You sue, but are surprised when you lose because you find out that your boss’s religious freedom is protected over you, just like the fore mentioned case.*

The average Rightwing Christian doesn’t usually like to be the minority & doesn’t like it when the religion-based law that they made a such a big deal over doesn’t only apply to them.

It’s time for me to share with you what I promised I would earlier. I will share the words first then post the link for the service itself. (You will find this at approximately 49:41) It is the Meditation before the Sermon (which is also amazing!).

This is Revs. Shana and Melora Lynngood, Co-ministers First Unitarian Church of Victoria, BC~Sunday, June 29th, 2014 at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in Providence Rhode Island

“Please join us in a spirit of meditation and reflection… breathe in… breathe out… if you feel comfortable doing so, close your eyes… We have all done it— Especially those of us who like to think of ourselves as astute, intelligent, well-informed.
We criticize and judge—convinced that we know the right way.
And sometimes we ARE right—especially when our object of critique is an injustice, an unfair law or system.
We clench our fists—indignant, righteous. Take a moment to consider—In justice work—in life—what makes you clench your fists?… Sometimes, that response is justified; the clenched fists understandable, even appropriate.
But if we remain in that pose, our posture rigid, our approach set, convinced of our own superior view,
Then we miss the blessings…Steamroll right past the beatitudes.
To experience spiritual transformation—in justice-making and in life,
We have to un-clench our fists and open our hands.
Hands open, letting go of the need to be right, the urge to point the finger of critique
Hands open—signaling humility.
Hands open—receptive to the love that can guide us
Hands open—ready to serve.
Hands open to grasp hands of others, joining across differences, finding there meaningful connection
Hands open, like a toddler stumbling with arms akimbo, awkward, but poised to explore and experience new possibilities, new insights, new growth.
Take a moment to consider—if you were to open your hands, step into a more embracing stance than is usual for you, what blessings might you receive?
May our hands—open to the spirit—give life the shape of justice.”

http://www.uua.org/ga/virtual/2014/worship/295428.shtml
No matter how frustrated you may be, regardless of pride, nor anger–may you find your inner peace & wisdom & be able to lower your fist & open your hands & accept the gifts that come.

Learn from this day. Get out there & make a better day for our children.
Don’t be afraid to be loud when it matters.
Shalom friends.
~P

One very big reason why I’m a UU…Inclusivity

One very big reason why I’m a UU…Inclusivity

Even from over 1000 miles away, I’m included.

Right now, our Unitarian Universalist General Assembly 2014 is happening. I cannot be there this year (& I’m super bummed about). I was able to get an app on my phone where I can get the schedule of events, pics of everything happening, & posts from people there. I am subscribed to a few UU minister’s blog sites who are blogging about their time there; some are opinion pieces & some are updates on their experiences of what’s happening to update their congregants who couldn’t attend. Many UU churches & members are posting things from GA on facebook & twitter & other social networking sites as well!

Also, the UUA keeps the world all included via uua.org. You can watch a live feed of the worship services and select other events over the assembly week. When there isn’t a live feed you can watch awesome videos like this one or highlights from last year’s GA. I am bummed that I can’t be present, but they have done everything they can to make sure that we’re all included.

I’m so excited due to watching this week’s events (through all of this inclusion) that nothing could keep me from attending next year’s GA in Portland! Luckily, I plan a Seattle trip every summer to visit my family anyway & there’s a good chance that I could find a friend in Portland to stay with so my expenses would be much less then a Rhode Island trip…

Whatever happens next year…I am so lucky to have found the UU church. (Thank you Aigner!) There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

 

Perfect Beauty…

Perfect Beauty…

Please share this with your daughters, nieces, granddaughters, sisters, neighbors, friends, mothers, coworkers, oh hell…share it with everyone you know!

I have often felt that the problem with “the beauty industry” isn’t the products they sell, but the fact that they have been allowed (for decades) to brainwash the public into thinking that they NEEDED the products they sell to reach an acceptable level of “beauty.”

Let me say, whoever you are:

You are perfect.

You are beautiful.

All that you need to do or acquire in order to achieve perfection or beauty, is to simply live.

Love yourself, Be kind to others, Be gentle to your soul, Don’t listen to those who make you feel bad about who you are.

group 7! – MEN!!! (nope, not women) men: raw. honest. loved.

I have been following this project since the beginning.
One of my best friends was part of the 1st group, I was asked to contribute. I have since become friends with the blogger/photographer. My friend’s daughter was part of the teen group, my Nana & I were in the 55+ group, now my friend’s gorgeous husband is in the MEN group!!
If you are not already following this blog, you should be! Go back & read them from the beginning. They are all amazing!
Read. Follow. Love. Share.

alana t photography

ashfinal allenfinal nickfinal ianfinal joshuafinal

Men.
My eyes have been opened.
As I was prepping to leave for this particular group, my boyfriend’s words to me were this: “The only advice I have for you tonight is, don’t be surprised.” I didn’t quite know how to respond to this, except to admit that I actually had no expectations. In all honesty, with each group that has taken place, I have learned to have no expectations. Things seem to go along the same, and things seem to go along different. I learn things with every group and I was MORE than ready to learn things with this one…and learn, I did.

When I started this project, it was with the primary intention that women discuss insecurities, stop with the trash-talking and tearing each other down, and instead, start building one another up.
Soon after the first group, I began to receive inquiries from both men and…

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Screaming, Flying, Monkeys…

Kids are great! *forced smile*

No really, kids are amazing. I have 3 of my own & many whom I proudly “momma bear” even though they are not of my womb.

My oldest, “R”, is nearly 16 years old. He is on the autism spectrum, a sophomore in high school, loves video games, Godzilla, zombies, rock ‘n’ roll, goofy youtube videos, & those silly inflatable dancing guys that the used car dealerships use.

Next in line, “JON”, is almost 13. He won a fight with lymphoma a couple of years ago. He loves comic books, The Walking Dead, Mine Craft, riding his bike, Smosh videos on youtube, listening to music on his iPod, & comedy. Here’s one of his favorite’s (keep in mind that he’s 13, don’t judge):

This brings us to number 3…my screaming, often flying monkey…”CC” will be 3 at the end of April. She is adorable and loud and opinionated and funny and sweet and today, very, very 2!

Image

I like to think that I am a patient person.

I like to think that I am a good mother, a funny mother, I generally enjoy my children. We have fun together. But I have to admit…the toddler years can be hard! There are days when these funny little sweeties go from angel to freak show 30 seconds. These are the days when this mommy needs a time out!

I think that there are things that experienced moms often fail to convey to expecting or new moms. This is one of the areas where we, as women, fail each other!

This morning while my sweet baby girl was transforming into a possessed howler monkey because I was working at my laptop for 10 minutes while she was enjoying her favorite show on Sprout & I didn’t notice that her show was over and she was ready for lunch. Then we got calmed down with a small snack (because I really had to finish what I was doing before I could make lunch), when Daddy came home on his lunch break, one of the perks of working 5 minutes from home. She, naturally, was excited to see him! She was not very excited that he couldn’t spend his whole lunch hour (about 40 here) holding her due to the fact that he did need to eat. So…the screaming resumed!

ALRIGHT!!! Lunch time it is!!! We heated up some soup, put it in a bowl, sat her at the table, next to her Daddy, & enjoyed 5-8 minutes of relative quiet before Daddy had to prepare to leave the house to go back to the office.

This pattern continued while I attempted to complete a few other tasks, including a phone call (that was enjoyable with her wrapping herself around my legs & trying to stuff her head up my shirt!).

These are the things that we should be sharing with other women! (These & the scream I just heard from CC’s bedroom while typing! HA!) I don’t do the toddler years well, there I said it! It is H-A-R-D! While I’m being honest, let me talk about other things that we’re not supposed to say out loud…I am not good at potty training!! I have all of the tools & skills, I just suck at it! I am not patient! Once I know that a child KNOWS I lose my mind when they refuse to use the bathroom! Occasional accidents I can deal with, but let me give you a fun little example. CC is starting to recognize the feeling in her tummy pre-poop. She tells me that her tummy hurts, I ask her if she thinks she needs to go poop in the potty, she says yes. It’s a pretty good system! A couple of weeks ago, all signals were go…she’s sitting on the potty, I’m out in the hall, outside of the bathroom.

She says “Me all done!” She has only been in there a minute. I know she hasn’t gone yet. So I say, “I don’t think you’ve been in there long enough yet honey, why don’t you look at your book again?” She hops down, pulls up her leggings, hides behind the door & starts to close it.

I stop the door from closing, “What are you doing?”

“Me pooping!” I look at her pants behind her & sure enough, she has a lump in her pants!

“CC! You were already on the potty, honey! Why did you get down to poop?”

“Cuz that’s how big girls do it!”

“That is NOT how big girls do it!”

I lost my fricking mind! So, she went down for a nap…I had a cup of tea.

Ladies, you need to be able to lose your mind, put your child in a safe space (whether that’s a crib, swing, playpen, or gated safe room) & know that they will be fine more than 10 feet from you for as long as you need to find your mind again. And please find a friend that you can admit your imperfections to! None of us are perfect! The lady on the block whose home looks immaculate ALL OF THE TIME is hiding something crazy in a closet somewhere & probably needs someone to talk to too, I guarantee it!

People tell you all of the time to savor these precious years….they told me that with the boys too…I get it, I do…I savor the totally done with potty training, don’t need gates on the stair anymore years! I admit it! I hate touching bodily fluids, when that sweet baby girl can blow her own nose, I will not miss wiping it! I don’t miss wiping the boys’! There has never been a day when I’m wiping her snotty little (adorable) nose & thought “I miss when I had to pick boogers out of R’s nose”…NO! Thank God they grow out of certain stages! Potty training, 2’s, boogers, throwing unwanted food on my floor….get me past these years with whatever grace & dignity I have left, then I will savor the rest!

I don’t want to discourage any future mothers out there. Being a mother has honestly been the biggest joy of my life, & I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. I couldn’t imagine the person I would be if I hadn’t become a mother. But its okay to be honest about the days that we struggle. Its okay if everyday we don’t feel like we’re doing everything right. Its okay if some days you gotta put that screaming monkey in her (safe) cage (crib) & let her scream it out for a minute so that you don’t lose your mind. We’re all on the same team here.

Raising future adults is an important task. These are the people who will one day take care of us. If we don’t take care of ourselves while taking care of them, what does it teach them about valuing themselves. We learn by example.

I think CC’s finally asleep. I better eat some lunch before round 3 starts!

Have a wonderful day.

If you are out there reading this, & your day is anything like mine…stay strong, take a break, talk to who you can, & know that you are doing your best.

Shalom

She wasn’t being rude

This is one of those stories that make you feel good about where you are, where ever that is. You can look at yourself, at your life, and say, “yes. This is good. I can do good. For her…for him…for my church…for the food bank… for that man with the sign…for the local shelter…for a local family in need…” whatever the situation, someone needs something that you are capable of giving, even if its only a smile or a hug.
Please read and share.

dogtorbill

My receptionist Ericka was in tears. The caller had said some pretty mean things, and she’s sensitive to what people say to her. She thrust the phone towards me, and pleaded for me to deal with it, “She doesn’t understand we don’t have any appointments available and, anyway, we’ll be closed in 45 minutes.” Some lady’s dog hadn’t “eated” in 4 days, and so she thinks she’s really pretty sick, and what was I gonna do about it? On such a hectic afternoon, I was glad to take the load off the front desk, and proceeded with the best defense being a good offense. “So he hasn’t eaten in 4 days? Wow, you rushed right in! What makes you think it’s serious now” The colloquialism of her words and accents made it difficult to understand, even for a small town Missoura hick like myself, but I did make out something…

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