Monday, December 17, 2012

Gun Problem or Love Problem?

For the past few days, the nation has been reeling from the tragedy in Newtown.
Those faces... those names... play over and over in my mind.
I find myself weeping when I think of the lonely holiday ahead for their families.
And hugging my little ones just a tad bit tighter.

When I drove my girls to school this morning and got out, there were sheriff's deputies in the hallways.  They walked up and down, looking in the classrooms where the littlest scholars sat at their desks.  Parents shared nervous half-smiles as they passed on the sidewalks, and a few moms wiped tears discreetly on their way out the door.  As I was walking to my car, I looked up at the flag flying half-mast, a visual reminder of the horror that took place last Friday morning.

What a scary world we live in.  I'm so glad it is not my home.

I sat Savannah down over the weekend to discuss the tragedy with her.  I explained what had happened in a brief factual manner.  I wanted to be certain that she didn't hear the news from another child on the bus.  I also wanted her to know that I would be honest with her, and she can trust me.  After I explained, she then had the opportunity to ask questions.  Her first question was the same as mine.
"Why would someone hurt little children?"

In some ways, I wish I knew the answer.  In other ways, I hope I never understand.

I've heard much debate about where God was in this situation.  How could a loving God sit back and allow 20 young children to be viciously murdered?  What kind of God is that?  You know, the thing about God is that He isn't a babysitter.  He isn't responsible to sit back and prevent bad things from happening.  That would be nice, of course.  But that isn't how things work.  I believe that God allows free choice.  He doesn't create robots to do His bidding.  And sometimes we as humans make very poor choices.  At that point, I don't believe it is God's job to step in and prevent us from making those decisions.  He allows us to suffer the consequences.  And in giving us free choice, sometimes others get hurt.  Sometimes tragedy occurs.

Savannah then suggested, "Mom, if the man was mad, why didn't he just talk to someone?"

She raised a very good point.  And one that I think is important to address.
Have you ever known someone with mental health issues?
They are typically shunned.  Even more so than those with physical issues.  They are isolated from society... because we do not understand them.  Their inability to function just as we do makes us uncomfortable.  So we steer clear of them, and with our cool popular normal friends we snicker about their strange behavior.  
Which is totally unfair because they are already so uncomfortable and frustrated...and then isolated as well.
Do you know how difficult it is to get medical help for those with mental health issues?
It is like trying to find a redneck who doesn't like sweet tea.

So we basically set up the perfect storm.  A child who is frustrated and overwhelmed with no one to talk to... and deny them most treatment... you know... because mental illness isn't "real."
Now I'm going to say something really provacative.
It really shouldn't surprise us when we have school shootings.

The answer to this issue isn't gun control.  
It isn't about blaming God for turning His back that day.
It isn't about adding metal detectors or homeschooling our kids.

I think it is a love issue.
When Christ came, he didn't come and hang out with the cool kids.
He came for the broken.  The abnormal.  The outcasts.
He came to show them love.
And those who bear the name "Christian" are supposed to be imitators of Christ.
I don't really think that means we hang out with the people who are just like us and politely back away from those who are different or uncomfortable.
I think it means we love unconditionally.  We offer the hope we have within.  
We are the listening ear... even when the ramblings make no sense.
We are the ones who say to society... hey... different is okay.
Its a love issue. 

As a parent, I want to raise a child who befriends the friendless.
But to be that parent, I have to first be that person.

I wonder... when someone like Adam Lanza decides to shoot innocent children... is that decision made in a moment?  Or is it a lifetime of isolation, frustration, and loneliness that culminates in an unforgettable tragedy?  I wonder how many Christ-followers ignored Adam?  How many made fun of him?  How many doctors refused to see the issues?  How many insurance companies denied treatment?

Mental health treatment is a multidimensional issue.  And we can't fix the problems overnight.  But here is what I can do in my own home.  I can create an environment where differences are welcome.  I can encourage my children to be friends to those who aren't friendly.  We can embrace unique qualities in others.  I can be a friend... and teach my children to listen to others.  We can pray for those our family comes into contact with.  We can try to see the world as Jesus did. 
We can start today...
...and I can think of about 20 reasons why we should.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Different Wings

Dream, child, as childhood wants to do.
Dream all this night will allow.

Dream, child.  Dream with an angel's view.
Out there safe in your clouds.

Wait for me now.  I will be there for you.
No matter what tomorrow may bring.

This I will vow.  I will be there for this child.
This child with different wings.

Dream, child.  Stars have been rumored to see dreams within newborn eyes.
And in their arms I believe they do keep safe until you arise.

Wait for me now.

I will be there for you.

No matter what tomorrow may bring.

This I will vow.

I will be there for this child with different wings.

Thank you to Floyd Ward School of Dance, Carie, Tara, and friends for another great season of dance for the Angels from Heaven!  Brookie loves being a ballerina!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Overheard at My House...

I have this hilarious kid.  She cracks. me. up. 

So I thought I'd share the laughter with you.  Because if your week was anything like mine, you need a little laughter. Or coffee.  Or laughter AND coffee.  Stat!

Overheard at my house...

"Mom, roll down the window.  I need to toot!"  

Me:  "Savannah, do you toot at school?"
Savannah:  "Well of course.  But nobody knows its me because when I toot, I just look around and say Who tooted?!  and they never know."  

"Sometimes when I don't see a relative for a long time, I think they died." 

Savannah:  "Mom, when you have another baby, it can sit in the middle."
Me:  "Who says I'm having another baby?  Do I need another one?"
Savannah:  "Only if you want one.  Duh."

Savannah:  "Mom!  Tell Santa that I need a gun for Christmas."
Me:  "Why do you need a gun?"
Savannah:  "To hunt.  And to scare off boys.  That's what my dad says they are for.  And if I don't get one, our yard might be full of deers and bears and boys."

Friday, December 7, 2012

You Won't Believe the Difference a Year Makes

You've heard the quotes about time.

"Time heals all wounds." 

"Time is the longest distance between two places." 

"There is no time like the present."

"You may delay, but time will not." 

"There is a time for everything."

Time is a curious thing.  Sometimes it passes agonizingly slow, and other times it seems to fly by before you have a chance to breathe.  There are times when it seems to stand still, and there are times that you wish you could freeze the moment.

I've been more acutely aware of time these past few weeks.  I'm not sure if I'm getting older and nostalgic, or if it is the holiday season, or just lovely hormones.  But there have been several occasions lately where time has seemed to be in the forefront of my mind.  And I've done some pondering.  And here is what I want to say.

You won't believe the difference a year makes.

At the end of the year, we tend to look back while also looking forward.  We think about the things that we have accomplished, and we set new goals for ourselves.  Sometimes we look back with a sigh of relief that a year is over.  Other times we wish that we could stop the clock, or go back to a specific moment.  And most of the time we feel a big combination of the two.

But no matter what, time brings change.

So to the high schooler wishing to grow up faster...
You won't believe the difference a year makes.
Right now you may dread the monotony of the same beige lockers every day, but next year when you stand alone at freshman orientation with your heart pounding in your ears, you'll long for that senior year again.  Go to every school event, cheer your heart out at the Friday night games, laugh with your friends over stupid senior pranks.  You only get to be young and free for a little while.  Enjoy it.  You won't believe the difference a year makes.

To the heartbroken girl...
You won't believe the difference a year makes.
Hurt is acute, but time really does heal.  I don't think it makes it go away, and part of your heart may always feel a pang at certain times, but the gut-tearing awful soul-crushing pain of heartbreak... that will go away.  Just get through a day at a time.  
You won't believe the difference a year makes. 

To the college student who feels like she never leaves the library...
You won't believe the difference a year makes.
You have professors with deadlines and you live off of coffee and spaghettios, and that's okay.  Work hard.  It will pay off.  Before you know it, you'll hear Pomp and Circumstance.  And all of those late nights and early mornings... they'll be worth it.  
You won't believe the difference a year makes.

To the newlywed who is trying to adjust and thinking that you are doing everything wrong...
You won't believe the difference a year makes.
Sure, you didn't know it would be so hard, and you are wondering if its okay.  Of course it is.  Everyone has trouble getting used to spending every second with someone and negotiating the rocky waters of finances and home ownership.  Hang in there.  You're doing fine.
You won't believe the difference a year makes.

To the young mom-to-be who thinks she may not make it through another day if she pukes one more time... you won't believe the difference a year makes.  Sure, even the thought of your favorite food now makes you want to run for the bathroom, but you just wait.  In a year, you'll be holding a cooing infant.  You won't believe the difference a year makes.

To the ones going through crisis...
You won't believe the difference a year makes.
It is SO hard right now, with your finances or health or loved ones.
But time can heal.  And in a year you will look back and think... wow, I've come so far.
You won't believe the difference a year makes.

To the new mother who is panicking that she has no idea what she is doing...
You won't believe the difference a year makes.
A brand new person was placed in your arms and you are expected to know them.  And the long nights and fussy mornings are grueling.  You'll get through it.  You'll adjust.  And on top of all of that, you'll wish for these moments back.  Because they go so fast.  And that new-mom body that you hate?  It'll go away.  You won't believe the difference a year makes.

To the mother of toddlers who wonders if there is life beyond the dirty diapers and cheerios...
You won't believe the difference a year makes.
You'll think those days when you can't manage a shower without being interrupted will never end, and then you'll find yourself at home in a house that is completely silent while your kids are in school... just counting down the minutes until the school bus rounds the corner.
You won't believe the difference a year makes.

So you know what I think?

This year, I'm going to take naps.  I'm going to let the dishes sit, and snuggle when the little girl says, "Mommy watch the movie with me."  I'm not going to sweat the small stuff.  When the house is a wreck and the kids are fighting and I think my life may end... 
I'm going to try to hold tight to this truth...
You won't believe the difference a year makes.

I don't want to get through my life.  I want to live it.  I don't want to spend my days wishing for moments that have passed already.  I want to look back and think... that was great...and I rocked it.  Less stressing, and more smiling.
You won't believe the difference a year makes.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Confessions of a Thick Girl

I have a confession.

I really hate it when women constantly fuss about their weight.

Especially when they are skinny.

I find it kind of ridiculous to pass on the cake on a special occasion when you are a zero.  
For the sake of being skinny.  I'm just sayin'.

I find it downright offensive when said size zero goes on and on about her own weight or figure.  I mean you may as well just stick the fat sign on my forehead... because if you are worried about your size zero frame... I should hide in a tent.  Because I'd have to be dead to be a zero.  Literally. 

When did we get so obsessed that we couldn't kick back and enjoy ourselves every once in a while?
I'm sure a skinny person will argue with me... but has a little cake ever killed anyone?

Here is my thought, kill me if you want to.
But if you've been on a diet for the past year, maybe its time to get off.

All things in moderation.
I'm a fan of self-control.
But not obsession.
Because refusing to eat... ever... isn't moderation either.
There's another name for it... and its crazy.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not knocking exercise or water-drinking.
Those are good things.
But being so hung up on numbers on a scale that you can't enjoy a dinner out without counting calories... 
that is where the crazy comes into play.

While I think we have a responsibility to do our best, to keep our bodies in shape, to not sit on the couch and eat Krispy Kremes every night, I also think that the outside is a reflection of the inside.  And I don't really trust someone that is SO concerned with the outside that they can't have fun.  Or that they prevent others from having fun by constantly talking about weight and weight gain and weight loss and goooood grief!

Here's my philosophy, for what it is worth.  And I have a big booty, so you skinny people I'm sure will take it with a grain of salt.  Drink water, exercise, and eat nutritiously, most of the time.  But when there is fun to be had, skip a few hours of sleep.  Eat cake at parties.  Work hard on your swimsuit body, and then deal with the fact that you aren't a supermodel.  And nobody really expects you to be.  And that's okay.... and nobody wants to hear about it constantly.  Enjoy your only get one.  And I don't know too many old people who say, "Man, I'm so glad I skipped out on all of that cake to earn this body."  Seriously.

I read a quote today that summed up my thoughts pretty well.
"The scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity.  That's it.  It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love."

Perspective.  Its all about perspective.  And the perspective of this girl is that a little fun is okay.  And that size zero isn't everything.  In fact, it might be a whole lot of nothing.  ;)