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Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Winter is Winding Down

My daughter, Jordyn, shoveling snow

My daughter, Jordyn, shoveling snow

This has been the view outside our window all too often this winter. I’ve lived in Indiana all of my life and have never experienced anything like this season. Normally we get one or two large blasts of winter storms and then call it an end. This year we have had those winter storm blasts almost on a weekly occurrence. We have broken weather records in total snow accumulation, frigid air temperatures, and wind strengths that have stood for close to or over a hundred years. Just a few days ago, I was driving home in blinding blowing snow and watched the sky light up numerous times with lightening. I’ve heard of “thunder snow” before, but it is awesome to experience the ferocity of nature.

To put it mildly, we are all weary of the weather and ready for Spring, which, according to the calendar, is only a few days away. But as I look back over everything we experienced, I can’t help but feel proud and blessed because we conquered every challenge nature threw at us. Our home remained warm and cozy. Our vehicles, though we did get stuck a few times, always got us to our destination, safely, one way or another. I don’t mean to sound ridiculous, but lets face it, the Great Lakes area has faced a colder winter than Alaska thanks to the arctic circle pushing down over our area. This is definitely a winter we will remember for the rest of our lives.

Now, as the warm air pushes through and the snow quickly melts, leaving the ground and roadways wet and muddy, we look forward to seeing the world awaken from its winter slumber like a present slowly unwrapping. I can’t wait for the warm evenings when I can sit under the stars and watch the moon slowly meander across the sky. I want to open my windows, put the top down on my car, and soak up the clean fresh air. Normally, half way through March, Spring has already begun for us. It will take a little longer before the remnants of the cold air finally push through this year, but it’s coming and we are all eagerly waiting for it. This will be the first year I can remember where we can paint the snow green for “St. Patricks Day”!

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The State of Our World

Angel StatueI was sitting with my, soon to be, eleven year-old daughter last night watching the “So You Think You Can Dance” finale. She and I both love watching these amazingly creative and outstandingly talented people pour their hearts out in every movement they make simply for the pure joy of entertaining and touching our hearts. Then came the interruption of the program as President Obama made his address to the United States concerning the horrific events taking place in Syria and our possible military involvement. It reminded me of when I was sitting at my grandmother’s watching something on television and the first President Bush interrupted the program declaring war in the Persian Gulf. I wasn’t much older than my daughter at the time. I remember the fear that settled in as he spoke those words and the multitudes of questions I barraged my grandmother with. My greatest fear was whether or not our own family members were going to be called to war. At that time, we didn’t have any family active in the military. But we have a long line of men that have served and witnessed the horrors. My fathers’ father was an ambulance driver in World War II. My mother’s father served in the army during the Korean war. Neither of which I was ever aware of until my late teens. I knew they were in the military, but the wars were never spoken of. I grew up sheltered from the horrors of war. All I knew of was what we had studied in school and the images from movies of past wars.

My parents grew up during the Vietnam war. In fact, every generation before me knew the impact of war that I never understood. Thank God the Gulf War did not last long and we moved forward to living in relative peace. I moved forward to adulthood, marriage, and motherhood. September 11, 2001 began as every other day. My husband and I worked at the same little factory.  We dropped our son off at daycare.  He was three at the time and the light of my life. I’ll never forget sitting in my office, half listening to the radio as I worked when the announcement came on saying that a plane had crashed into the side of one of the World Trade Center buildings. I’ve never been to New York, I had no idea what buildings they were talking about. I remember thinking it was a horrible accident and I said a prayer for the victims.  Never once thinking it was anything beyond an accident. Then it was followed by the second plane and the real horror began to set in. I rushed out of my office to tell my husband and, like me, he didn’t realize the full impact of the situation. As the fear coursed through our nation with known hijacked planes still in the air, all I thought of was my son and getting to him as quickly as I possibly could.

We forced ourselves to continue on in our daily lives while the people of New York, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon endured a nightmare only those that witnessed first hand will ever fully comprehend. Then came the next President Bush declaring war once again.  Only this time, there was no program interrupted because we were all glued to the news coverage with hopes and prayers of some good news of survivors being pulled from the rubble. The declaration of war was still frightful, but it was overwhelmed by the sense of retribution and anger towards those that could do something so senseless and horrific. Our children poured into the military recruiters offices with this rage coursing through their blood. For the first time, my generation fully understood the meaning of sacrifice.

Since that moment, our country and our allies have been pouring our youth into two separate wars. We have witnessed regime changes with the assistance of our country and allies. And for what? Egypt is now a lawless region full of murderers killing people simply because they don’t share the same religion. Pillagers are destroying museums filled with priceless artifacts found during excavations funded by people and organizations from all over the world. The region is supposedly the cradle of humanity. Now it is nothing more than a cradle of insanity and murderous rage. The horrifying regimes we overthrew are now replaced with an even worse horror.

Now we face another horror in Syria. Images of men, women, and children lying dead fill our screens once again. As a country that thrives on the passion for freedom and peace to all mankind, we feel the responsibility to do something to stop these unimaginable horrors. But we take caution because every step we have taken has not resulted in anything remotely close to peace or freedom for anyone. It simply feels as if we are tightening the noose that threatens our own. We now face a reality where there is no right or wrong answer. Do nothing and the horrors will continue.  Attack and face the repercussions of possibly releasing the holds on something even more frightening.

As a Christian, I look to my bible for comfort and answers. I pray when I cannot find the answers I need. I struggle with patience and faith. Anyone that has studied the Holy Bible knows that times such as these have been prophesied. Everything that was once mocked in the bible and deemed impossible is now possible. Human kind possesses weapons that can destroy our precious world. The more the anger and hate is fueled around this world, the closer we come to those realities. It is not my intention to preach. There are similar prophesies shared in almost every religion around the world. We live in a day and age where the importance of the material and physical world far exceeds that of the spiritual world. People openly mock the idea of our possessing spirits in the first place, let alone the concept of there being a supreme being. This idealism is fueled by the fact that it is people using their manipulated version of religion as their reason for continuing these acts of malicious hatred.

There is one truth that stands above all when it comes to fighting any war. You simply cannot win a war unless you possess a strength that is equal or greater than your enemies. We are fighting enemies that use tactics that no weapon can prevent. We are dealing with people that find no value in human life, not even their very own. They look beyond this world to an afterlife filled with treasure equated to the sacrifices they make in this life. This form of faith leaves no room for sympathies in which can be used for diplomacy. There is no sympathy, there is no fear. If there is no fear there is reason to bow down to another.

If we are to succeed against this enemy, we must fight with the same drive that feeds the drive of our enemies. You cannot fight evil with evil. It only perpetuates the evil. These people will continue to fight whether they have a weapon in their hand or not. They kill indiscriminately.  This is not a war to gain material or worldly benefits. Our government has insisted this is not a war of religion. But to our enemies it is. They have had no qualms when it comes to making that more than clear to the entire world. If we are to succeed in the war that continues to grow, we must strengthen ourselves with the weapons that truly matter. It is the spirit of our enemies that drive them. We cannot fight this if our spirits are weak and purposeless. We cannot fight simply because one man or group of people order us to fight. There must be a drive within each and everyone one of us to fight for something much greater than ourselves. Unlike our enemies, we must fight for life and the freedom to live life to the fullest. Regardless of what faith you follow, life is a blessing that must never be taken for granted. The whole world was reminded of that on September 11, 2001.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Random Thoughts

 

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What If?

worldThis is perhaps my most favorite question in the world. There is nothing that can inspire a story more than the two simple words, “what if”. Just imagine what all has come to be in this world, simply because someone had the curiosity to ask themselves, “what if?” They are the spark that sets the flame of imagination aglow, that sends your mind into new worlds, new lives, new discoveries, or possibly even solutions that could solve age old dilemmas. For some of us, it is that initial turn of the gear that sets our mind to spinning and turns into an obsession until we find our answer to that seemingly unambiguous question. It is most often from meager beginnings that great and wondrous things first take flight.

What would this world be like if we all had the courage to follow through with our “what if” curiosities? How many of us would find our true passions come to life? Just imagine; that “what if” question could be the nudge from God that you have been praying for. God could be speaking to you right now, attempting to guide you in the direction of the purpose you were born for. All too often, our doubts, insecurities, and fears prevent us from pursuing the very thing that would bring us true satisfaction in life. Following our true passion requires nothing more than complete, unadulterated, honesty and transparency to ourselves. One must be able to break down all the barriers that prevent them from finding the courage to take each step and overcome every barrier that is to come.Yet, you will find, that when you are following your passion, each and every minute success feels greater, so much more fulfilling, than any other achievement you have ever accomplished. Everything that drives you each and every day is no longer based upon satisfying someone else’s needs or desires. You are fulfilling your heart’s desire.

It is so easy to lose yourself in this world, beneath all of responsibilities that seem to mount up by the minute. We all need that something special, that is so important to us, none of that garbage can weigh us down. That is what writing does for me. Writing forces me to recognize that I am so much more than what all the negativity in this world would have me believe. For every book that I write, the platform in which my feet are solidly placed, rises higher and higher, out of the filth of this earth’s bowels.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Random Thoughts

 

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What Are We Teaching?

This week has been a difficult week for me work wise. In fact I think I have finally found my Kryptonite for writing.  I’ve had this horrible cold that simply will not go away. It is finally wearing off enough for my brain to function, thankfully. So I apologize for not submitting the new post for the IWTBAW Series. Instead I’m going to take a step away and post something else that has been weighing on my mind for the past couple of days.

My kids came home from school on Wednesday and both of them were obviously upset about something. My daughter immediately threw down her book bag and proceeded to tell me about this child that was sitting behind her on the bus, hitting her repeatedly on the head because my daughter refused to show her something. I had to take a few moments and let the temperature of my blood cool down from its immediate spike to boiling. It was obvious my daughter wasn’t wounded or bruised physically. So I proceeded to calmly ask what she did about it. She did nothing. I was immediately flabbergasted. This was not my daughter that lives to get her brother in trouble in any way she possibly can. She’s the youngest, in fourth grade, and my son is a freshman in high school. So I immediately turned to him and asked why he didn’t do anything about it? His response was that he didn’t know it was going on. Once again, I had to allow my blood to cool down.

As angry as I was with that child that was bullying my daughter, I was angry with both of my children for allowing it to happen and doing nothing to about it. I can understand my son was sitting too far away to know anything. But this is an obvious sign of problems that need to be addressed. We have always told our children to stand up for themselves and never allow someone else to physically or verbally harm them. Right, wrong, or indifferent to today’s society view, I would much rather my children get in trouble for the right reasons than get hurt for the wrong. I will proudly stand next to my children knowing they were standing against those that believe they have a right to abuse someone.

Now you are probably wondering why I am ranting about this to you. It’s a common problem that kids deal with. But it’s obvious it has become an epidemic that is creating such emotional turmoil in our children’s lives that kids simply do not know how to deal with these issues anymore. Most people want to immediately jump on the blame bandwagon and blame the bus driver, the teachers, the school administration, etc. But think about this; if we teach our children that they have the right to stand up for their own rights, then would bullying be such an issue? Most bullies only do what they do for attention. They are often victims themselves and the only way they know how to deal with their emotions is to take them out on someone else they see as an easy target.

We have all heard the phrase spoken by Jesus in the bible that says we should turn the other cheek. But what most people do not understand is that Jesus was not talking about allowing other people to abuse you, he was talking about not giving power to someone that is only looking for a reaction from you in which they can feed from. Jesus was not passive. He did not allow wrongs to continue and back down as a slave. He stood up and declared what was right even when he knew he would be punished for it. That is what we should be teaching our children. Whether you are a Christian or not.  It doesn’t matter  If we are all born equal as we want to believe then we must be willing to stand up to the things that take equality away from us. That is a concept that is only considered revolutionary when it is perceived by those under oppression.

Now I’m not saying that we need to teach our children that fighting is the answer, but I’m not saying that it is not a solution either. There are ways to prevent a physical fight and those need to be used to their fullest extent but if they do not work then that does not mean our children need to bow down and allow someone to beat them to a bloody pulp either. We need to stop teaching our children that they need to rely on someone else for their safety. Telling a teacher or authority figure about an issue you are having is the most favorable solution but what happens when there is no one around to tell in order to stop the situation from getting out of control?

The simple fact of the matter is, a bully will not act out on someone they cannot control. We teach our children, or at least we should teach them that they must accept the consequences for their actions. Allowing someone else to hold power over you is a consequence of an action. There is a vast difference between respect and giving one’s power to another. I want my children to respect their teachers, adults, elders, classmates, friends, and family. But that does not mean they have the right to abuse my children. If my children are afraid of a child that they have no right to be afraid of, then how much worse will it be if it is an adult attempting to abuse them?

But it doesn’t stop at just standing up for one’s self.  We must also teach our children the importance of standing up for those that are abused as well.  This is where “turning the other cheek” has been the most abused.  We have a responsibility as humans to care for each other.  Whether you like the person or not, allowing a wrong to continue is only giving power to the person performing the wrongful act. That is how evil dictators gain power. That is how democracy fails.

Think about this; the only true rights we have are the ones we are born with. All others are earned. We have the right to live and breathe as individuals. We have our own minds, our own voices, and we alone hold control of our own power. Everything else is something we must earn. To say that we have the right to be given anything is doing nothing but giving the person who issues it power over us. There is no such thing as entitlement. The only true rights we have are those in which only we can lose for ourselves. If you are afraid to stand up for yourself then you have no rights because you have passed them on to the one attempting to take them away from you. You are now a slave.

 

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Random Thoughts

 

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Without Pride – That’s A Good Thing

It is so easy to get caught up in all of the struggles in life and allow them to bear down upon you.  What isn’t easy, at least for me, is asking for help.  I don’t know why, but I have a tendency of accepting whatever life throws at me and I try to make the best of it.  I like to think that my husband and I can conquer whatever obstacles we face.  For some reason, asking for help has always been a matter of pride to me, as if it makes me weak and appear helpless.

Well, the past few months have been a struggle for us.  We’ve had a lot of things break down, things that are difficult to do without.  But we’ve made do the best we can.  My dryer broke down, no big deal.  It’s summer, we live out in the country, we can hang the clothes on the line outside.  That is until the humidity grows so high that nothing dries outside.  So we resorted to hanging the clothes up in the house during the nights, hoping the fans will dry them for the morning.  Am I sounding pathetic yet?

My husband has been nursing our lawn mower because the starter (or whatever it is) went out on it.  Well, we’ve lived most of the summer in a drought so there hasn’t been much need to mow, until now.  Now the thing refuses to start.  Is it pathetic yet?

The simple fact is, we have so many other things we have to spend our money on that when it comes to spending money on something that isn’t absolutely necessary, it makes you want to forget those problems even exist and pretend they’re no big deal.

Well, today my parents came to visit and brought with them gifts.  They  brought parts for our lawn mower, a dryer, and rotors for the brakes on my car (another problem we chose to ignore).  They didn’t tell us what they were doing because they knew I would argue with them.  They are struggling just like most the other people in this world are in this economy.  I went through such a range of emotions that I feel ashamed to even confess to them.  I was angry because I didn’t want to be in the position of needing the things.  I was angry because I knew my parents could have used the money they work so hard to earn to pay for other things.  I can’t tell you how relieved and thankful I am.  Most of all I am completely humbled by my parent’s ever present generosity.  When I tell them thank you for anything they do for me their first and only response is that they wish they could do more.  All along I’m the one wishing I could do more for them for everything they have done for me.

I’m going to get a little more pathetic here and bring up something that I wrote in Knightingale.  Sadly enough, my main character, Samantha, shares far too many of my own qualities, whether they be good or bad.  In one of the conversations she was having with David, the other main character, he told her, “If you cannot accept the small things, then you cannot accept the big things coming your way.”

I knew that was a powerful statement when I wrote it, but I didn’t realize how much it pertained to me.  Pride has prevented me from accepting a lot of good things in my life for what they really are.  I really wish I could accept a gift without immediately thinking what I “need” to do to repay the person(s).  It’s not that repaying the person is bad, it’s the way my mind processes the acceptance of gifts.  We’ve all heard the saying “it’s the thought behind the gift that counts”.  Well I can tell you that it’s the thought behind the acceptance that counts as well.

I am still completely blown away by what my parents did today.  They will never know how much I appreciate it.  Perhaps this is one of those “God Lessons”.  Either way, from this point forward I’m going to stop worrying about owing people, and simply focus on what I can do for people.  I don’t expect to be repaid for anything I do.  But I know that my attitude towards acceptance is one of those instances where actions speak louder than words.  If I accept a gift as a debt then everyone will assume that I expect them to accept my gifts as a debt to me.  If this is God speaking to me, then I want Him to know that I have understood the lesson, now I’m going to work on applying that lesson in my life.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Random Thoughts

 

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