Today is International Peace Day. A day to spread peace and love speak and actions with everyone you meet. To show this world that we can and will not only conquer the rough stuff of life with love and smiles but that TOGETHER as a people we are better. Think about it, all of the beautifully amazing different things we all bring to the table. Thoughts, ways to worship, food, clothing, music, it’s amazing and beautiful.
And I don’t know why people are so scared of the things they don’t understand.
Embracing the things I don’t understand is just part of our world. Or rather has been for the past 5.5 years. There were things I didn’t understand before but I’d either learn about them or scootch around them, I was in control of what I slammed face first into. And then Joel came into my world. He was new and I didn’t totally understand him and then we got married and I still didn’t have him totally figured out but I was much more comfortable with him. And then came Leo and the same, and then Max and holy Lord.
And just when I thought I was starting to understand Leo, bam- he regressed and was diagnosed with Autism. Same thing with Max. God has not let me live in comfort with these kids yet, and guess what…
I AM OKAY.
woah, wait a minute what. Yeah. Even in the moments, days, weeks, of uncertainty and confusion I am okay. Go figure that one. Even when I am not sure how to handle a behavior, how to make words come, how to keep health insurance, how to make a living, how to get from one place to the next in the correct time, I am okay. Why? Because I have faith. (Yes I have faith in God but He’s not who I am specifically talking about right now)
I have faith in the people around me. Family, friends, teachers, strangers. I have faith that there will be listening and love and understanding. That there will be hugs and tears and smiles and celebrations. Because that faith is what keeps the love moving from one person to the next. It’s what keeps me waking up every morning and wanting to push forward and through to that next hurdle. Because I know that there will always be someone with a kind or helpful word that will help get us over it. Because loving is learning.
So lets keep moving the love forward, even in the simplest of ways to one another. Have faith in your fellow man even when you might not understand his or her lifestyle choice, religion, choice of shoes. Because those things aren’t as important as being better together, and being together as people trying to live and love.
Tomorrow is your first day of Kindergarten. What a big dude you’ve become. This past year you have learned so much. We have watched you grow leaps and bounds in the words you say, the foods you try, the friends you’ve made and the confidence you’ve built. On the eve of your first day of Kindergarten I have a few things I want to tell you.
Above all else, continue to love others the way you do now. You have one of the most amazing souls I have ever been privileged to meet. Keep that love always, it’s precious and very rare.
Take a deep breath when you get overwhelmed or frustrated. Make sure to use your words in a nice tone and I have no doubt the help you need is the help you will get.
Make sure it’s “shoot” not “shit” (please, pretty pretty please)
Know that some things are going to be hard and that’s okay because they won’t be hard forever.
Always say please and thank you. To your teachers, the cafeteria lady, the crossing guards and the janitors. They all work very hard to help you succeed and we need to make sure we know how special they are to us.
The days are going to be longer, there will be more structure and more sit down and listen but there are going to be some familiar things too. You’re down the same hall you were last year, the food is pretty much the same and you already have a friend in the class. How lucky that you get to see Jaxn every day.
You are one very very lucky guy. You have so many friends rooting you on this year. So many teachers and tutors that are so excited for you. You have a support system that is literally as big as the sky, full of more love than could fit in the Pacific ocean and more excitement that I have seen in my time so far on Earth.
You are all ready my love. Sweet dreams, sleep tight. And tomorrow we start a whole new journey. I love you. I am so proud of you. You make my world so very good.
Muslims, Gays, Jews, Transgendered persons, handicapped, immigrants, non followers of Jesus, the Government.
The fear against these groups of people are rampant and seem to be more and more in the forefront of news articles and peoples talk. All of this irrational fear. For what? So you can justify your racist words and actions? So you can build your arsenal of weapons and segregate yourself from the world? So your paranoia about people and things have a justified place? Interesting.
Yesterday I was told that the borders to the US need to be shut off because we are over populated. That “they” take our jobs away, that “they” are a drain. These words came from someone who has been retired for over 30 years. This persons reality comes from watching Fox News and believing its the gospel according to man. How small a mind is this? I was told that in “my day” we worked the fields. I asked to be introduced to one spoiled white American that would be willing to pick lettuce. One. They might do it for their own family but they surely aren’t going to do it as a profession.
I have been told that the government is trying to control our every move. They want to take our rights as citizens away. They want to limit what we are able to do, by a person that believes being a homosexual is a choice that comes from some sort of trauma. That believes the LGBTQ community shouldn’t be able to call their marriages just that. To someone who opposes the right for a woman to control what happens to her own body, who believes that pot shouldn’t be legal but we should be drilling to make gas cheaper. So, control is only okay when it aligns with my personal beliefs? Oh okay.
Terrorists are automatically thought to be Muslim, because if there is an eccentric minority in a people group of course they represent all of that people group. So all Christians are like Westboro Baptist church right? And the KKK, and the Evangelical mega churches that preach hate and fear? Its okay if I spout my truth and push my beliefs in your face, even if it includes violence and ugly words, hatred of a people group as long as I state its what MY God has put into my heart.
Hate and fear have become acceptable emotions, justifiable with the reaction to said emotion, how wrong is that? Teaching hate spreads the horror that is currently active in the World. Preaching fear takes power from people to strive to make positive decisions. Why does it seem more than ever that people believe EVERYTHING they are told? When did people stop questioning why something is what it is or how it is? Maybe it’s always been this way and I’ve been fortunate to not encounter it.
I was taught as a child to have respect for others but to ask questions. Asking questions is not a disrespectful act, its how we learn. So I always have. And I think and think and think and research and I form my own opinion. Sometimes it falls in line with others and sometimes it doesn’t. I attend church, I love the way they teach the Bible, like an ongoing history lesson. They talk about what was happening at the time a certain book was written, but I have never been told what to believe or how I am suppose to believe in or worship God. I disagree with a giant portion of the people in this world and my faith on certain issue. My beliefs don’t make me any less spiritually linked to God than the person next to me. My heart works in a different way than many.
This past week was heavy. War, death, friendships, hate speak, propositions to remove rights of citizens, talk of deporting all persons that believe different than the Evangelical Christians, having to fight for services for my son- again. My heart is hurting. Hurting so much that it’s put me into a very sad place that I am having a very hard time pulling out of. I don’t understand any of this. I can’t wrap my head around thinking some are less than because they are different. I don’t understand how shouting hate at people is acceptable. I don’t understand any of it. I want to change it and I’m not sure how to impact the world around me right now. That is probably the hardest. Knowing I need to stand tall and strong in my words and beliefs and feeling so tiny compared to the nasty. Feeling like I am an ant in a world of T-Rex dinosaurs who use their aggression and giant teeth to either make you join or take you out.
Life is hard enough with adding hate and irrational fear to your shopping list. Don’t pick that shit up, it’s over priced and goes bad way before it’s expiration date. I’m putting on my shit kickers and going to boot that negative crap out. It has no place in my world. Jesus has placed love in my heart and that’s what I plan on sharing with the world.
Coming off of a heated discussion last night on facebook where a debate was started over something I posted, that was not intended for debate and then being told if I don’t want people to express their opinions on my facebook page I should censor myself I thought I’d share with the world who I am, what I’m about and why you can take a hike if you’re just here to cause problems.
I believe in God. I strive to live like Jesus. To teach and to lead and to love without judgement, because it’s not my place. My place is to show love, be love and to be thankful. To be faithful in learning Gods word, in being a walking image of his word and of practicing what I preach to EVERY person I meet. I believe we are all amazingly broken people that are really good underneath what we fight every day. We all sin. Period.
I’m liberal, socially I am very very liberal. I believe in taking care of one another. I believe that sometimes people need help and to help them rise they need a boost both emotionally and financially. Hatred is not something I choose to practice in my world. I choose to lead with love, I choose to listen. I choose to show the world that you don’t have to be angry and loud and full of hatred to make a point. But if you push me too far I’m a cannon, especially with things I’m passionate about. I do not start debates or drama on other peoples social media pages or sites. If someone asks a question of others I may choose to answer but I do not troll or poke just to troll or poke. It’s rude.
I believe in manners, please and thank you. I believe in spankings and soap in the mouth and giant bear hugs and snuggles. I believe in loving until it hurts and crying until you can’t see. I have faith in Doctors and medicine and vaccines and holistic approaches. I believe in growing your own food and supporting all stores, because local isn’t just the store it’s the people who work in it. I believe in recycling- things and water. I believe in the public school system, my ability to navigate it and that our teachers need to be shown more respect and love- they are helping to shape the men and women that will take care of this country when I’m old. What a job.
I married for love and I’m more in love with my husband every time we push together through a rough patch. I believe that my children are amazing and will change the world, they already have. I believe that music can fix just about anything and a smile can be the best medicine for almost any situation. I don’t mind getting dirty or learning how to build. I love working on cars and learning about science.
I am more reserved than I used to be. Listening is much more interesting. I think about everything at least 5 million times before I make a decision. I like charts and check lists. I have anxiety and ocd issues that I fight every single day. I drink too much coffee. I was a medical biller for the better part of a decade and understand wayyyyyy more about health insurance, payers, doctors fees, contracted rates and fighting for money that you are owed than the majority of the general public.
But more than anything else I treat people with respect. I do not attack their beliefs, their physical appearance or their religious or political views. I don’t choose to make every situation a platform for what I believe in, but I share my heart. If these are things that offend you, you feel I need to be “schooled” on or you’d like to start a debate with me on something I’m pretty well versed in, just don’t. Because social media is not the place to have a word battle. You want to get coffee and talk, I can try to make that happen. But here, no.
I have always been an emotional person. It’s gotten worse with becoming a mom and now being able to help in Leo’s class and seeing these HUGE leaps these kiddos are making daily, weekly, monthly and getting to see and experience the love his teachers have for the kids and us mommies and daddies it’s gotten a notch worse.
Worse isn’t the right word. My emotions for my children have grown. The steps forward and the growth in both of them makes me cry, the set backs and rough patches make me cry. And the same happens for the friends in Leos class. Some of them had a really rough start with preschool and the growth in language and friend skills, in coloring and singing in counting and direction following is amazing. They start the school year as little guys and gals, set in their own home routines and have their worlds rocked but in the most beautiful way.
These kiddos come from all kinds of family situations some with siblings some without, some spend lots of time with grandparents and some split time with their own parents. Some parents both work some are blessed like I am to learn with their kids. The one commonality they all have is when they enter Room #1 and the love that the teachers share with each and every child.
These teachers have been staying so upbeat and excited for the holiday season through illness and the excitement of 19 3 and 4 year olds. They taught them songs and poems and got them ready to sing for a whole cafeteria full of family members. And today all of the hard work and love shined so very bright when these beautiful children made their way to the stage.
I had a breath holding moment of fear before the curtain opened when I looked around at the amount of people that were in the audience. They had practiced every day on the stage but to an empty cafeteria. Today was THE day. How is Leo going to do with all of this? A year ago he probably would have tried to run away. Too loud, too many people, to bright. Not today.
The curtains open and all we hear is “WOAH LOOKIT ALL THE PEOPLE! HI MOM HI DAD HI MAX!!!” theres my guy. And I cried. No, I balled my eyes out.
I cried because of how great they all were doing sitting and singing, like little pros. I cried because of how hard we’ve worked with Leo to have confidence in any setting. I cried because he wasn’t scared. I cried because he’s such a big guy. I cried because I’m his mom and I am so proud of him, excited for everything he gets to experience that is brand new and because he is such an amazing kid.
So I cried, giant rolling tears. And my heart is so full.
This week was a rough one. I totally understand. You weren’t feeling great, it’s cold, there was a holiday right smack in the middle of the week, one of your teachers was out sick most of the week. I get it buddy. But here’s the thing. Changes are going to happen. I know you have a hard time with them. I know that sometimes you get all scrambled up and can’t tell me that you’re not okay, but in those moments I need you to take a deep breath and try to find your words. Your nice words.
Walking you out of class today broke my heart. I know you wanted treasure box, but you know how important it is to earn it. And we earn it by having nice words and hands, by making good choices and by listening to all of the wonderful teachers we are so blessed to have guiding us at school. Mommy doesn’t like to have to worry about your actions. I know you know how to be a superawesomefantastic dude, because you are so much of the time. And I know that you know how to ask for a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed. So lets slow down for a minute and listen to our body.
Promise me you’ll try to choose nice words and hands next week. That if someone puts their hands on you on the playground that you’ll say “No I don’t like that” and tell a teacher instead of pushing back. That you’ll try your food and not put garbage in a friends food when they aren’t looking. That you’ll be kind. And that you know that no matter what your actions I love you so very much.
I’m proud of all of the progress you’re making, and the things you’re learning. And know that we all have bad days and rough days and days that we just don’t want to do what we need to do, but we still do them. Know that on those hard days I’ll be waiting to pick you up with a giant hug and some snuggle time when we get home. Talk to me. Talk to your teachers, we all want to see how wonderful you are.
I know you’re really upset about not getting treasure box this week but we will try again next week. Max and I will be there as much as we can to help you when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Take a big deep breath my love. We all get through the rough days.
Something I’ve noticed with the “quirks” of Leo’s autism, is that there is always a purpose behind his words or actions. If he has ugly words or slaps or screams- he’s (most of the time) on sensory overload. He’s answers to questions are thought out. If he doesn’t understands he repeats the question. His toy playing is always precise and focused. There isn’t any “tra-la-la” about him. (Max, that kid is a whole different ballgame 🙂 )
A couple of months ago I shifted my thoughts and actions to have purpose. To try to cut fanciful thoughts of this and that and to put things into action- in a very intentional way. Sounds pretty boring right? Well, I’m not a frills and glitz gal (anymore). I’m just trying to figure out how to make it through each day:
1. without flying off the handle
2. without feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders
3. without crying
4. without yelling
5. without understanding what our short term and long term goals are as people
It started with walking. I have now walked- with purpose (for exercise) at least a mile a day for 50 days straight (today will be 51). The purpose- making me healthy. The changes I’ve made in health have ridded me of blood pressure medication, migraine medication and mood elevators. I take a multi vitamin. That. is. it. I need to be physically healthy to run after my kids, to be able to process all of the information that is consistently being thrown my direction and to rid myself of anger. I am the healthiest- not just weight wise- I’ve pretty much ever been. And I love my new body.
My purpose with people has always been to love and accept, even when its hard, even when I’d rather walk away. Why? Because there isn’t enough “just because” love in this world. Some things don’t need a “because”. They just need love. I’ve always been of the frame of mind that you love, love until it hurts, love because it hurts, love when it hurts, love when its awesome, to make sure the people around you know that they are loved.
I was shown so very much love this past week by having an amazing woman go above and beyond for my family. She secured Leo’s spot in the school he needs to be in next year. She didn’t have to, but her heart and the way she loves is something so rare. Thank you isn’t a big enough pair of words, but it’s all I have for her. That and to continue to learn and to advocate for my children to ensure their success in life. And to love, to love my kids, their teachers, even the people that make decisions that might not be the best for our needs. I’m gonna love them all- until it hurts. Until they understand my heart and that I am not a quitter.
On the flip side I was shown some very ugly this past week too. Our family are W.I.C. recipients. It’s something I am so very grateful for, and again when I thank our case worker we see every 3 months those words don’t feel like they are big enough. It’s hard having to ask for help. It’s harder having to present coupons for food at a store. But I would do anything I needed to for my children. I was publically shamed by a cashier at Target Friday. She questioned if the coupons were actually mine- twice. I answered yes and then asked if she needed to see my drivers license. She huffed and puffed when I had coupons for my WIC items (which the WIC office supports, if couponing is your thing), she had a horrible attitude toward me the entire transaction. I kept my attitude in check. I was polite- I even offered her my pen when she didn’t have one to fill out the totals on my WIC checks. Why? Because she needs to know that that kind of behavior is unacceptable. Because if I show love, and live love hopefully it will catch on like wildfire.
So my purpose, good bad or otherwise will always be to love. Love people and changes, and situations. And to remember that I too am loved not only for my purpose but for who I am becoming.
I don’t often talk in public forum about political issues, but once in a while something tugs or punches at my heart and I feel like I need to write it out.
So here goes.
Negative labels of groups of people disgust me.
Denying a right to a person because of who they love infuriates me.
One of my best friends in the world has a fire for Jesus, a passion for the gospel and lots and lots of love in his heart. God made him. God guides him. And he is a homosexual.
He and I talked at length about civil rights, about legislative dealings in Indiana, about Jesus and about our hearts with it all. I told him that I have such a hard time with these things. I can’t imagine having hate in my heart for a group of people, first and second if I was part of that hated group, the last thing I would want is to force the hand of someone who hates my lifestyle to participate in something as special as a union with my partner.
His response to me: “I wouldn’t want to compromise someone’s beliefs with my lifestyle.”
Wow. WOW. He puts YOUR faith first. It made my heart both happy and sad. It made my heart happy that he is strong enough in who he is as a HUMAN to let roll the hatred that some preach and that his faith in God is strong enough to know that he is loved. It makes me so sad that some cannot see him as a God fearing man because of who he loves.
Lemme just leave this here for a minute….
and in case you’re confused by the words- lets simplify this even further:
So I go on a search to find out how many times the word “hate” is used in the Bible. And I stumble on this gem:
This post is amazing. And the answer is 85 times. And NOT ONCE in those 85 times is the word used in reference to people or a person. NOT ONCE. Why? Because God loves each and every one of us. He made us. He made each and every one of us. And He loves each and every one of us.
So I have a challenge for the Christian community. Instead of focusing on hate. Instead of judging and pushing away those who are different, lets open our arms and love. Lets love so hard that every person wants to know Jesus the way we do. Lets teach the way Jesus taught and the way we are asked to. It is not our job to place judgment on others, but it is our job to show grace and love to those around us. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when this life is over you’re able to tell God that you loved. That your greatest accomplishment was love- to everyone in everyway. Even when they were different.
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” – Luke 6:35
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1Peter 4:8
“Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.” -Proverbs 10:12
Yup, you heard me. But I guess before I can expand on that statement I should make a few more- that one of my bestest buddies NEVER LETS ME LIVE DOWN SAYING…
I never wanted to get married or have children. I was always good to go with being Auntie Katie drinking her cocktail and smoking her cigarette and loving and spoiling kiddos.
Then I met Joel, and fell hard, then got to know him and realized this guy made me rethink the whole wanting to get married thing. Like I could actually see myself living with him forever- say what?!?! I missed him if we were apart, he didn’t disgust me when he brushed his teeth, he was (and still is) pretty easy going, and up for adventures. I was like yeah, this guy. I asked him to marry me, and a few days later he said yes LOL. I know I know.
So we were content, started a journey moved to Spokane and one day my body told me it was time to have babies. I was like- yo uterus, check yo self. I DONT WANT KIDS. But, I totally did. So we took a leap of faith and poof Leo. And then a couple of years and a miscarriage later, poof we ended up with Max.
When we moved back to California Leo was about 3 months old. We had to get settled in a house and get Joel back to work, and when he was 7 months old I went back to work part time. It was a nice mix- I got to hang out with my lil monkey guy and be productive in a grown up world. Then I changed jobs and went to work full time. I’m not going to lie, I was JAZZED about Leo getting to go to daycare. He’d have friends, and make crafts, he’d have holiday parties and learn songs. How exciting, and selfishly I was so excited to be bringing home a paycheck, having a reason to get schnazzed up every day and forming relationships with grown ups that I had very recently been mourning the loss of.
I lost that job about a month before Max came into the world- our company sold and I was tossed into being a full time mommy. We kept Leo in daycare for a while- he was doing so well….. and then his slide started and things changed. Max was about 3 months old when financially we had to pull Leo out of daycare. Shortly thereafter all of the testing started and we started on his journey to new ways of hearing and learning. It was a lot- a newborn and trying to shuffle him around. But I still had the desire to work. I always thought, we can get through the testing and get him into a class or school that will help him grow, I can find a job put Max in daycare and it’ll all be good.
I was dreaming.
I still dream.
I’m not going to lie. I’m 2 years into this stay at home mom job and I still don’t get it. I’m not sure if it’s different when you’re not shuttling your kids to therapies, and preparing the house daily for at home therapy, but I just don’t get it.
Don’t get me wrong- I have been BLESSED to see my kids take their first steps, say their first words, eat everything under the sun, put clothes on for the first time, blow bubbles in the bath for the first time. I am watching them grow and change. But I do feel like the world is passing me by. Like I have no way to connect to people who aren’t mommies.
I also can’t even seem to get a call back when applying for jobs. So I guess that’s a sign from God that I’m where I am suppose to be. But I still don’t totally get it.
This is not a job for the faint of heart, for the unsure, for the tenderhearted, for the tired, for the grumpy, for the perfectionist, for the holder of the O.C.D., for the foul mouthed, for the determined… or maybe it is.
It’s thankless, it is 24/7, it is all encompassing, it is repetitive, it drains everything you have in your reserves, and people choose it. CHOOSE IT. I still don’t get it. But it has chosen me. I do not believe “God never gives you more than you can handle” I believe he pushes your boundaries of comfort until you have no choice but to ask for his leadership. That struggle even in its darkest hours, when you want to throw your hands up and walk away a little something creeps in and softens that anger/hatred/mad you have at that moment. That not choosing this path but being placed on it is not happenstance, it’s not by mistake it’s because you have a gift you are not yet aware of. That you are going to meet people also on this path that are going to enrich your life, challenge your thinking, expand your heart and show you love and compassion you aren’t accustomed to being shown. It’s because it’s not about you, or me. It’s about a journey.
And while I’m on it, and I hear that women choose this I want to ask them why. Why with everything there is in this world to try to do, why would you choose this?!?!?!? And I look at my children and I know, because they are so very worth everything I could possibly offer to another human.
So I say a prayer and thank God that my heart changed when I met my now husband, that his love made me want to build a family with him and that our beautiful children need some extra time and hands and that their needs have put me in a place I will never be comfortable with, but I know I am fully needed.