Monthly Archives: February 2013

Raindrops and Rainbows

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rainclouds1

We had a rough afternoon. It was a meltdown day. Living with a child with impulse issues can be very challenging at times. We had one of those times.  It’s a little like having a toddler…in the body of a teenager.  He is a clever boy, but like most kids his age, he’s not nearly as clever as he thinks.

There may have been misunderstanding.  I may have been close to meltdown myself.  But I stood my ground.  And I hold on to that.  I back down or question myself way too often.

half_full

But it was hard.  Last week was a crazy, and this left me feeling alone and confused.  I’m not always like that.  I’m much more a glass half full kind of person.  Always looking for the silver lining.  A regular Pollyanna.  But occasionally the dark clouds of anger, frustration, and fear blot out my sunshine.  Today was one of those days.  And when I looked outside, real clouds were blotting out the sunshine which had me pulling out the sandals this morning.  Big raindrops splatting on my deck.  And I prayed.  “God, if there was ever a day I needed a rainbow, today is the day.”  I needed to be reminded of His promises.  I needed to be reminded He is still in control, even when my life seems to be falling apart.

I looked to the sky and guess what I saw there?

rainbow

I smiled with tears in my eyes and said “Thank you.”

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Us, Them, We

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heart

Thursday morning, I wore my power-do. All swept up, twisted and clipped, the ability to rock the delicate balance between messy and elegant gives me confidence…I can do anything. And I needed that courage. Thursday, Valentine’s Day, was Have a Heart Day in the state capitol. A day for advocates to speak to lawmakers. Me. A poor girl. An advocate.  Speaking to representatives and senators.

Some of these people haven’t got a clue. They’ve never had to choose between paying for utilities or food. Never “floated” a check because the kids were hungry. Never use glue or duct tape to fix shoes. Never stood in line at the food pantry, the unemployment line, or the welfare office. Never had to use the emergency room for something that should have been taken care of at a routine visit. Never had to eat with pain in the mouth. And really, that’s okay. It’s difficult to understand what one has not experienced first hand.  Living in poverty is rather uncomfortable, and I would not wish it upon anyone.  There are levels of poverty I have never experienced first hand, and I am thankful.  And this is where education steps in.  If one does not understand poverty, it is a challenge to grasp the effect of policies and practices on those living there.

Not having enough to provide for the basic necessities is oppressing, isolating, frustrating!  And there I was, power-do and all, siting facts and figures, sharing my story and others, to those in government.  Giving a voice to others like me.  An awesome responsibility.  I was both exhilarated and terrified.  What an adrenaline rush!

Yet I struggle with the way I see these issues.  So many have an “us versus them” mentality.  “We are the 99%.”  “We are working class, or middle class, this level or that level.”  How in the world will this get us anywhere.  In my experience, this sort of thinking only causes problems.  “Are they whispering about me?”  “What does that look mean?”  Profiling, anyone?  It’s not us.  It’s not them.  It’s we.  We are people.  And if any one is in crisis, then we are all in crisis.  It is time to stand up and say “I will not let my neighbor go hungry.  I will not let my neighbor be ill without care.  I will not let my neighbor live without warmth, without shelter.”

I realize there will still be some who will say “it’s not my problem”.  Some will still say “us” and “them”.  That’s fine.  But watch out, because “we” are diverse and plentiful, and “we” are not backing down!

Ain’t ain’t a word.

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The other day, Boy #3 responded to a request of mine with “I can’t make no promises.” To which I returned with “You cannot make ANY promises? Oh, I think you can, and you will.” (and he did).

"Ain't ain't a word!"

“Ain’t ain’t a word!”

These double negatives have become frequent visitors to our home lately, particularly from this child. My assumption is that it is “cool” and a little “rebellious”, and, well, just plain fun to drive Mama (and Grandma) a little crazy. I believe this because “there ain’t no talking like that” in this house. DaddyFoster does not use double negatives. MamaFoster does not use double negatives, and if I ever hear the word “ain’t” I immediately remember my 3rd grade teacher saying “ain’t ain’t a word”. I’ve also been known to call friends on adding a ‘t’ to across. I can only trust he will listen to us, and over time, he will return to proper grammar.

As I fantasized about this child’s eventual perfect grasp of the English language, I wondered in what other areas this may apply, and a verse came to mind.

Proverbs 22: 6 says: Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it (New American Standard).

Watch and learn

Watch and learn

How do we do this? I believe this verse is talking about modeling. This is not a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of verse. This is a “watch and learn” sort of verse. Anyone who knows how well a toddler can mimic their parents, the good and the bad, has seen this at work. If we want our children to eat well, we sit at the table and eat well with them. If we want our children to be active and not sit in front of screens all day, we must be active with them. If we want our children to be accepting to the differences we see in others, we must do likewise. We are the best examples our children have for what a person should be. Maybe we should try being the people we would like to see our children become.

Super Grammar!  Saving the English language from double negatives!

Super Grammar! Saving the English language from double negatives!

Mine? I want mine to be grammatical superheroes.

I choose…

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Meetings

This morning I had a meeting. I have the awesome privilege to work with others in my area to advocate for the needs of the underserved populations in our county. So bright and early, I drop Boys 3, 4, and 5 off at the day care and head off to the meeting.
On the way home this afternoon I had a conversation with Boy #5.
“How was your meeting?” he asked. Isn’t it cute when they talk like grown-ups?
“It was great. It was a really good meeting.”
“What did they do to you?” Apparently he doesn’t have a clue what a meeting is.
“Sweetie, a meeting is when people meet, to talk about things. We talked about helping people. People who are poor, or sick, or disabled, or homeless, or maybe they fought in a war, people that need help.”
At this point he tells me they have a helper chart in their class. “We talk about helping too, Mom!”

helper chart
“We also talked about saying ‘thank you’ to helpers” I hope he takes this one to heart.
Next week I may have the opportunity to speak with state legislators, to educate them about issues. To share how their decisions affect the these people I choose to represent. What a great opportunity, but also a little scary! I’ll leave you with this quote, currently one of my favorites, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
“I choose to identify with the underprivileged,” King said. “I choose to identify with the poor. I choose to give my life for the hungry. I choose to give my life for those who have been left out of the sunlight of opportunity. I choose to live for those who find themselves seeing life as a long and desolate corridor with no exit sign. This is the way I’m going. If it means suffering a little bit, I’m going that way. If it means sacrificing, I’m going that way. If it means dying for them, I’m going that way, because I heard a voice saying, `Do something for others.'”

Martin-Luther-King-Jr

 

In February, I resolve to…

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New-Years-ResolutionsFebruary is here already! I cannot believe it! Where did January go? Is it really that time again? Time to make my next Resolution for 2013? Truly it’s my 4th. Here they are so far:

#1: Make one resolution per month. I figured this would make it easier to stick to it, make a habit, follow through.

blogging

#2. The actual resolution for January. Start and maintain a blog. 27 posts in one month? I’d say this one is going fairly well. Now if I can just get more readers…

food

#3. The extra resolution. Change the way I eat, to be healthier and happier. This one was going to wait until this month, but medial issues made it necessary to move it up. Loving the gluten free, dairy free, sugar free (almost), Paleo, Mediterranean thing we have going here. It was SO much easier to cut out dairy when the entire household has gone dairy free. My tummy is so much happier, and so is the rest of the people who have to live with me.

#4. Resolution for February! Hmm. What could that be? I’m sure plenty of ideas swimming in my brain on December 31st. But it seems they have been filed away somewhere, and I know not where.  Let’s review…commit to making changes, share my life with others, eat healthier.  Aha!  I found it.  Exercise.

exercise

Ugh.  Really? I’m really more of an exercise your brain kind of girl.  Word games, number games, reading.  I do enjoy surfing!  Okay.  The internet.  I don’t even swim.  Yes, learning to swim is a great resolution, but maybe we’ll wait until the Spring session?  So here we go…

…I resolve to exercise 4 days per week.

Yes, Biggest Loser on the Kinect counts.  And the Zumba game.  And Just Dance 4, though I really just play this one to drive my teenage sons to roll their eyes at the boy band music.

dancing mom

The weight set and the medicine ball, having push up contests with the boys (they’re getting better), and power walking around town with my Aunt.  And, of course, I know what DaddyFoster will say.  Yes, Honey, that too.

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