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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Finding my voice.

I never claimed to be perfect.
I never said I wouldn't make mistakes. 
I'm trying to claim my words in this imperfect world.

This world where being something different than the norm is set just slightly, ever so unnoticeable, to the side of what is supposed to be right. 


What is right? 

Who are you to decide what is right?

I have lots of things swimming around in this slightly different brain of mine. It seems I've found the voice I never had as the younger version of me. The one who craved people's approval more than the vast and complex ideas that were present even then. 


I want to avenge this girl and the lost dreams she had. The ones that were swallowed up by others so she could feel accepted. Wanted. Loved. 


If only we could feel in our teen years what life has given us in our forties. The knowledge, the confidence, and the ideas that want to burst into light. The knowing that no one's approval is needed or even asked for. That you don't have to have someone talk to you to be noticed. 


That all we need is ourself to forge the path. The path that beckons. 




We look back and think "if only" and our blood runs cold at how it could have been. Should have been. But the past is gone and we have the now. The courageous now that we have been deemed fit to live in. The past is gone. Let it go. Pick up the thread that binds you to the past and cut it. 

Tie a knot to the NOW and move forward.


There are several issues that have been pulling me in their direction. These are issues that are dear to my heart for many reasons, and the most being how they have touched me personally. I have found that when trying to explain a stance I have in person, the words fail me. When I write about them, the words flow. Therefore I've decided I've been called to put controversial words into the social media stratosphere that may provoke and even anger some. 


But there again, who are you to say you are the only one who is right? If God is calling me to write then write I must. Dusty ideas and old values have no place in the now. 


I am not what I wear.

I am not defined by my weight.
I am not my skin color.
I am not defined by my friends.
I am different.
I am loved.

I'm big on reading articles, so I've compiled a list of things that are gnawing at the back of my neck. If you follow me at all on Twitter (twitter.com/junkbabe68) then you might know where my leanings are. 


I will not be silent because you squirm.

I will struggle with my own shortcomings.
I will persevere.
I will get on my knees and pray for my direction from HIM.

Links: 


http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/crosspost-what-rape-culture-and-modesty-culture-have-in-common/ (LANGUAGE)

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nakedpastor/2013/08/the-modesty-purity-movement-and-our-sacrificial-virgins/ (LANGUAGE)

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/current-events/op-ed-blog/26523-is-modest-really-hottest

http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/07/no-rape-victim-male-or-female-deserves-to-be-blamed/277598/


THIS must change. It happens everyday.
http://www.upworthy.com/one-easy-thing-all-white-people-could-do-that-would-make-the-world-a-better-place-5?g=2

http://www.theologicalgraffiti.com/Guns-Dont-Stop-Killers-People-Stop-Killers-Love-Shared-Stories-and-the-Power-of-the-Holy-Spirit

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/07/the-great-wall-of-texas-how-the-us-is-repeating-one-of-historys-great-blunders/277617/

Stop the hate. 
http://melissakayherrera.blogspot.com/2013/07/stop-victim-blaming.html

http://melissakayherrera.blogspot.com/2013/07/hate-is-virus.html

http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2013/07/what-i-want-you-to-know-about-being.html?spref=tw

http://accidentaldevotional.com/2012/03/22/trayvon-martin-and-identifying-my-own-racist-thoughts/

http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2013/07/why-im-encouraged-after-trayvon-martin.html?spref=tw

http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/literalist-gluttony







Monday, August 19, 2013

Time is slipping away...

Time is slipping away as back to school approaches

My son says that when August hits summer is over. It’s soccer practice, school shopping, and the countdown to the classroom starts. As I write this it’s two weeks until high school starts and 3 1/2 until we take Selena to college in Indiana. I’m trying to let that sink into my bones for a minute and just rest there. One more child gone from the nest and one remains for me to dote on: one more season of soccer to scream at, one more set of senior pictures to take and one more homecoming dance and prom. One. 

As the kids have gotten older, school shopping has gotten easier. I remember the days of complicated lists full of binders, a certain style of paper, protractors, pencil boxes and loads of tissues. Glue had to be just the right kind as did the pencil style. What happened to Goldenrod tablets and thick, black pencils with the huge erasers? We made it through and now all we need is the 10 cent Walmart notebooks and a few pens and pencils. Easy as pie and less wearing on the purse strings.

I do look forward to school shopping. As I’ve written before, I always made it a special day by taking the kids out separately. The girls I took together and we would shop from morning until evening, carefully searching out the best finds and deals. Hunter’s day was another time. We would scour the clearance racks at the mall and take advantage of back to school coupons. It’s much easier now to find coupons online and stay informed of upcoming sales at your favorite stores than it was when my first child went to kindergarten. The Internet is a world of wonder as far as gleaning information for school shopping. It is an invaluable tool for mapping out your school shopping day. I’m sure some people do it over a certain amount of days, but not us – we hit it all in one day. I let them pick a restaurant they want to eat at, and if there’s time, we see a movie as well. 

It becomes harder as they get older to find days to go – practices, work and mom-back-at-work mean we have to narrow down the days until we find one that suits. It’s a fun day that I realize is too soon coming to an end.

College shopping is on the agenda for this season and it’s a bit different than regular school shopping. Sheets, comforters, mini-fridges and lots of laundry soap are on the list this year and I will keep my tears in check until we leave her in her dorm and drive down the road. She is ready to fly and I am ready to let her, but the house will be two people short now. The girl’s room will be empty and my loss of their presence will be the world’s gain. I’ve sent two fabulous souls out there to gain their knowledge and find their place because that is the way of this life. 

I take comfort in knowing I have one left, though he won’t know what to do without his closest ally in his sister. What I think will happen is that he will find the leader in himself for the soccer season, he might like having the whole upstairs to himself, and that whatever food I make will be geared toward his likes. Being the only kid at home DOES have its merits. But as for me in this bittersweet season, I look ahead to what is to be and ever so gently, I look back. You only get one time with your children, so spend it wisely. When you’re overloaded and the house is in chaos, grab a book and read to them. When a great song comes on the radio, you must dance with them. When you can’t take the screaming anymore, throw them in the car and take them swimming. You will look at their dirty, sleeping, ice cream-covered faces on the way home and the love you have for them will be sufficient to go on. 

Take the time. Mark special days on the calendar for time spent with your children. Don’t be so wrapped up in work and money that they grow up and you never realized it. Nothing is more important than raising your children because too soon they are gone and you are left with whatever it is you put first. Struggling with bills and money seem distant and non-important to the times I had at home with my kids. I would do it all again – clipping coupons, shopping clearance racks, and taking the time to find a store with the best deals. I owned cars that weren’t top notch and had windows in the home that needed replaced. But, I would do it again because it meant staying home with my kids. I would do it all again.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Sweet Summer Oblivion

Looking for small successes in the sweet summer oblivion

This summer won’t hold many savings for me. Small successes, sure, but big ones? I’m trying but I can’t seem to locate them. This summer season I came screeching to a grinding halt – prom, college graduation trip, birthday party for 70, then another graduation with a party for many. June came along and I breathed a sigh of relief. Too short-lived, it was, because July is in full swing with two soccer tournament weekends under our belts – and next week is August. Already.

My youngest son will be a senior this year and I told myself I would attend every summer event. Attend I did and I have no regrets, though my wallet seems a bit slimmer these days. Thank God for sharing a hotel room with a friend and splitting things up. These days will be gone in a glimmer so I take them all in, spend what I need to and have fun in the process. 

My middle daughter is heading for college at the end of August. I’m avoiding my feelings for the time being so I don’t have to deal with them. I will say that the second one sent off is a bit easier than the first one. She is focused and ready. She has been working as a waitress and just last night handed me the money for a new smartphone. My kids don’t get smartphones until they can pay for them and pay for the monthly data, so although she’s on her third phone or so, this will be her first smartphone. Again, I feel it makes them appreciate it more if they have to earn it themselves. My son has been saving up as well and may hand me his money soon. I count these as small but fruitful successes.

It’s enough to know that we can pay our bills, live in our own house and put food on the table. Living beyond your means puts everyone in the home in a foul mood because it trickles down from the parents. I read a Facebook status the other day that posed this question: “Should we tell our kids when they want something that we can’t afford it? Or should we tell them we can’t purchase it now and help them to find a way to save and get it?” There were mixed responses and it really did surprise me. Most people said kids should know when there is not enough money for something. It puts them in the real world and lets them know there isn’t instant gratification. The dissenters said that we shouldn’t put kids in a “poverty mind-set” by telling them we can’t afford something. We should help them find creative ways to save and scratch to get said item. 

I have always told my kids when we couldn’t afford something. Granted, not everything they “want” is something they should get. If we’re telling them that they can do this, this and this to get what they want, then we’re not ever telling them that they don’t need something - and believe me they don’t need everything they want. Tell them the truth because it will serve them well in the future. 

I head into August hanging onto July’s coattails. It was a wet, hot month that saw me having small successes financially and also personally. I stayed attentive to my garden for the first time in years and it is still beautiful to look at. My planted pots are lush and full and my garden is semi-weed free. The kids are keeping up with the lawn by weed eating and mowing and are doing a wonderful job. Financially, I’m setting my sights on a few small goals that are exciting and attainable. Things are coming to fruition. I’m hoping to do some front porch sitting before the month drains away because when August comes it’s that back to school rush and it’s all over. I’m going to hold on to these languid months for as long as I can.