Stay Outta My Shit, White Woman

My fitness pals will tell you there is something about spandex shorts, sports bras, and competition bikinis that have a tendency to send the female brain – and mouth – straight back to middle school. But I am here to tell you, nothing seems to turn some women into high nose mean girls like politics.

19th-amendmentI am beyond over it.

Evidently, according to Andrea Grimes and Jenny Kutner (whom I do not know so I can only presume they don’t know me. As an aside, no one I have talked to knows them either so I am assuming they don’t know them either. Therefore, I can only imagine that out of the roughly 160 million women living in the US, combined, they don’t know most of them either) because their choice in politician didn’t get elected, I am, once again, a failure as a woman. Not just a woman, but a white woman. Are you serious right now?

Thanks ladies. Like I needed. One. More. Damn. Thing.

Look, I am not going to pretend I fully understand the the issues in Texas – I live in Georgia. But, if I may paint with a broad brush for just a moment; Ms. (I hope that is not offensive being it isn’t gender neutral and shit. But what the hell, I’m already an asshole to her so maybe I’ll take to calling her “honey” because hey, I’m hick from the sticks) Grimes asserts that a vote for her candidate meant

a vote for strong public school funding, for Texas Medicaid expansion, for affordable family planning care, for environmental reforms, for access to a full spectrum of reproductive health-care options

while

a vote for Greg Abbott meant a vote for the status quo, for empowering big industry and big political donors, for cutting public school funds and dismantling the Affordable Care Act, for overturning Roe v. Wade

Let me clue you in on something. Based on what I see here, I would have voted for Greg Abbott too.

Here are some things that I know

  1. Politics has become little more than marketing and public relations
  2. If a person has a dog in the hunt, you can usually take the good they say about their side and the bad they say about the other side and cut both levels in half and you are probably now closer to the truth

Taking that into consideration I am going to bet Greg Abbott doesn’t sit in a secret lair throwing little children into a cauldron laughing at sucky schools passing out cigars to his high dollar friends. Maybe he does the latter. I dunno. Know what else, I don’t have a problem with the latter.

If you tell me no other information other than a candidate is pro capitalism, Affordable Care Act opposed, and abortion opposed, I will deduce that their general philosophy on most things are inline with mine. Am I always right? Obviously not. But let me clue these ladies in on something

It is my vote and you do not get to determine whether or not I  fucked it up.

RallyJust because we share common anatomical traits does not mean, nor has ever meant, that we hold the same set of ideas or priorities. When people use terms like “the women vote” and “women issues” my face turns redder than Texas. I mean seriously, what the hell? My vagina makes me compelled to function like a Toy Story LGM? And the most interesting thing about this concept is those women most compelling it forward are the SAME women who will claim they are empowering women.

No ladies, you are not attempting to empower women – you are attempting to empower Women. Like. You.

I’d like to direct your attention to The Constitution. I am beginning to realize how neglected it is. So let’s take a little look see at it – in particular the 19th Amendment which says

 The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

RaidBecause I can’t help myself, I’m going to also add that the vote for this gem in the Senate back in 1919 had been a long fought battle for the Republicans in a Democratic controlled House…right up until the moment President Wilson took us into World War I, a break of a big campaign promise, and the  Democrats took a whalloping in the 1918 midterm.

Now, with Republican control, the 19th Amendment finally made it through the House,  304 to 89.

Don’t worry ladies. The GOP isn’t looking for a thank you card. You’re welcome anyway.

In the Senate the vote was 56 to 25 broken down as

Yay – 36 (R) 20(D)
Nay – 8 (R) 17 (D)

This little piece of work granted each woman her OWN vote. Not the vote of her husband, not the vote of her boss, the vote of her children, her parents, her girlfriends – a vote of her very own. You’ll be interested to know that the 15th Amendment, also a piece of Republican legislation, was ratified earlier in 1870 and protected the right to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Which means that even as a white woman, my vote is still mine.

Which is awesome, because I can guarantee you don’t want me voting in your place any more than I want you voting in mine.

 

An Open Letter to the Recently Elected

Dear recently elected,

I feel the need to be clear. I did not vote for you because I thought you were the most qualified person for the job – I voted for you because you were the most qualified of those who could be elected for the job in that little booth.

While I am only one person, I feel pretty comfortable asserting that you were not voted into office for your stance on any party platform. While the topics concerning gay marriage, weed, guns, abortion, immigration, etc. are all very, very important, I would wager that many in every sexual, religious, racial, financial, stoned demographic are just ready for government to do its damn job. If you need a point of reference for what that is, I direct you to a little thing known as The Constitution. In the name of all that is holy I pray you have heard of it. You’re welcome.

In the days to come you will be tempted to think yourself more than you ought. Don’t. The majority of the population is just waiting, dare I say expecting, for you to eff this up.

You know what pisses you off about people – dishonesty, passing the buck, blatant distraction, assbackward leadership, conniving trickery, stubbornness, weakness, bloated condescension, dishonesty (yes, I know I said it twice) – well, it pisses the rest of us off too – just in case you were wondering how that kind of stuff would go over.

However, I love this country and so I appreciate you. I think this is a new day and you, in light of your newly elected position, deserve a chance to do what you said you were going to do. I will make a choice to have faith in you (as asinine as some might believe that to be).

Congratulations. Don’t eff this up,
~ Me

North Carolina is Not Alone

First, let me acknowledge that this is a difficult post to write. The issues are so amazingly intertwined, personal and varied, The written word can be so difficult to convey accurate meaning. But, I think there has been a point that may have been overlooked and I would like to talk about it.

Second, let me say I think I might have voted “no” in North Carolina. I am not certain that I would have, but I think the inclusion of civil unions was an over reach. I also think that if the goal is to “defend marriage” then we should probably vote on some new divorce laws. The ones we have are far more destructive to the sanctity of marriage. You can read my full thoughts here (and I would highly suggest you do so if you plan on trolling or flaming the comments – thanks).

Third, yep, I am Catholic. I hear a whole bunch of folks just dismiss my whole opinion. And therein lies a big part of the problem (and my point). But, I will get to that. Instead, I would like to reiterate my thoughts on laws and religion for those of you who did not read the above linked post.

The more often we come to the coffee shop, the more often you will hear that idea – my particular religious beliefs cannot be the sole argument for legislative decision-making. I have spent an awful lot of time on an awful lot of subjects applying that code.

When I woke up yesterday, North Carolina was getting slammed for the vote which resulted in the 61%-39% passage of their marriage law defining the union, to include civil unions, as an institution reserved for a man and a woman. They are the 30th state to do so. Not the first. Not the minority. I find that curious.

They are then blasted along the interwebs for hating homosexuals, inciting domestic violence, being southern, religious nutjobs, and a variety of other things. And my thoughts ponder more.

The President comes out and gives a beautiful speech where he discusses the issue. He eloquently states support for gay marriage and indicates that this newly held position is a result of his “evolution”.

And the record scratches.

There lies the crux of the problem, in my opinion. I would wager that society at large (the majority in a majority of states), could care less about limiting the rights of homosexuals or anybody else for that matter. But quite frankly, Christian (78% of the US population in 2009) conservatives (40% versus 35% moderate, 21% liberal in 2009) are a bit freaked out. Note: I included the percentages because my freaked out self is tired of hearing how in the minority I am and how my fringe beliefs are ridiculous

I would bet that if you sat down most folks that voted “yes” on Tuesday and asked them if gay couples should be able to buy a home together, visit each other in the hospital, serve as each others beneficiary and decision maker, be together until the day they die, raise children, and all the other characteristics that make folks “married”, they would say “sure”.

So why have the majority of people in the majority of states decided to vote against it? Because we don’t trust it.

And by “it” I am NOT talking about gay marriage. I am talking about respect to religious liberty. And we don’t trust it because we have already been taken to the races and we know which dog wins – and it ain’t ours.

I appreciate freedom of religion. (Side note: “of” and “from” are two different words – I understand the difference). I respect religious tolerance. However, society at some point has decided that “tolerance” means that I have to agree, support, and acquiesce to all other religious beliefs and can expect to be berated as a hateful beast when I hope for the same treatment.

Prayer at any event, nativities in the park, Ten Commandment replicas, public declarations of faith, “Merry Christmas” at a retail outlet, school children reciting the pledge or learning God Bless America – ridiculed, litigated, and trashed.

Admonishments of  “stay out of my bedroom, it’s none of your business!” heralded far and wide. Until it is time to pay for abortions, birth control, day care, welfare, or medical care. Guess where the tax payers and the church are expected to be then?

“Keep your religion to yourself!” Until a priest denies someone communion, a pastor admonishes the behavior of a parishioner, or clergy within a church decides who can fill what roles in their organization. Then that church become fair game to everyone else. The practices and opinions of the church are expected to bend and form to public opinion – the same public that denounces its right to interact with it…huh?

So, while I will stop short of aligning with the vote, I will say I can understand why. We don’t want to be in the public bedroom, but we are consistently dragged into it. And, quite frankly, this, like so many other things, is none of my business. And many will agree. But, like so many other things before, it will be made our business. We will once agree to live and let live and later find that action, yet again, unreciprocated.

Makes me think that’s what happens when folks continue to live in the extreme and think that to be the norm. This ain’t Jersey Shore and not everything is a picket line. I have long been done allowing the media to convince me of that. The rights of all people will be better served when being a politician ceases to be a six or seven-figure income, when extremist on both sides are seen for what they are – extremist who have their own agenda, when rational people talk in rational ways and refuse to allow differences to negate respect and love.

But hey, who I am? I need to go evolve…

Another View (Or “I Wish I Owned That Outfit”)

Sarah Manley doesn’t know that I think I dig her. She also doesn’t know I think I was meant to find her (I discovered her due to my Lenten Facebook fast). She and I have also never actually met (“Hi Sarah, I am April.”)

But I knew I would spend more than five minutes on her blog “The Nerdy Apple” because of this outfit. And she likes Bloody Mary’s (I am not sure if that is in the morning, but I am betting I could talk her into it). And this is her comment policy:

If you can say it respectfully, it will stay. If you get mean, personal, insulting, I will remove it. I have no problem with differing opinions. I have a big problem with rudeness and bullying. So please, play nicely.

Yep – that is some cool stuff.

Sarah wrote a post, and I almost left a comment. But I didn’t because it turned into this post. (Sarah, if you are here, please don’t stop at #1 – I do agree mostly with most of it :))

1. The semantics of Abortion get all tangled. If it is a discussion on the topic, then the sides would be pro- and anti-. There are issues with all other monikers outside of pro- and anti- abortion.

  • Pro-life – not necessarily true of all anti-abortion thought holders. How do I know? Because I am currently struggling with my own views on the death penalty (a topic for another time). I would bet that there other anti-aborts out there that either also struggle or comfortably support the death penalty. That is not a pro-life stance. Therefore, the issue is not pro-life, it is anti-abort.
  • Pro-choice – I believe myself to pro-choice. I believe that folks choose to have sex. (*Note – I have numerous times said that I appreciate the struggle over extenuating circumstances. These account for less than 5% of the abortions performed in the United States. The exception should not dictate the rule and I am content to discuss the other 95%.) I believe folks choose to contracept. I believe babies are not choices – they are consequences to already made choices.

Legal doesn’t make right. Slavery is the first thing that comes to mind. Hitler’s reign is another. I am NOT comparing the acts or the people. Simply questioning the defense of the “legal”. And I wouldn’t think that digging a baby out of a womb is the same thing as digging a cavity out of a tooth. And unless Sarah tells me otherwise, I am going to assume she didn’t mean that either. As a person who also draws analogies that are sometimes misunderstood, I am assuming she was not comparing the medical practices simply the access to medical services.

2. Agreed. While I would prefer something different to be used other than “marriage,” we kinda gave that right up a long time ago. The religious assertion is that marriage is sacred – and I believe that it is. However, there wasn’t too much of a stink raised when the ceremony moved out of the church and into the courthouse. We didn’t ask that it be called a “civil union” then. And we fussed a bit, but not too much, as divorce went from a serious decision to $99 and a court date. You want to talk about an assault on the dignity and sanctity of marriage? It should have started there. We didn’t.

3. Agreed. However, I would caution that just because something is found or held to in religion does not, in itself, make that thing off-limits in the political arena. Murder is the best illustration of this point. It is against a Biblical ordered commandment. But that doesn’t negate it from being addressed by the state. Murder is illegal, not because it is found in a religious text, but because it deprives the rights of another person against their will.

There are, and always will be, topics that commingle. The requirement should be, if you can discuss that topic in your religious body and justify it according to the governing powers for your religious order, then hold it religiously. If you can discuss that topic in your public square and justify it according to the governing powers of your civil order, then hold it civilly. If these two discussions can successfully occur on the same topic, I am not mixing church and state – the topic is just appropriate to be accountable to each.

4. Yep.

5. The system is broken and needs to be fixed, I agree. However, I would suggest that state mandate and socialization is not the way. Medical innovation and practice is expensive. Research and Development takes facilities, equipment, supplies, and some seriously talented labor. Medical practice takes the same. All of this equals a business that simply must make money. The investment is too great on the front end and the need for incentive must be available to fuel the ability to make it to the goal.

So do I think that health care should be a “get what you can pay for” service? No. But I also think that a “free for most, paid by some” system is detrimental as well. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know the problem is exacerbated by both extreme views. The answer is somewhere else but the powers that be keep focusing on the fringes.

6. What is “fair share”? I am a Fair Tax girl. That is my definition of fair share. And there is an overwhelming population of people who pay no taxes at all. Shouldn’t there be something? Even if it is a super small something.

Further, I don’t think taxes are truly the issue. Most folks, I think, would not bitch so much about taxes if they believed the spending was appropriate. Kinda like my house. My husband and I don’t argue about spending. We don’t argue about income. We do butt heads over the eighth running outfit or the suped up, see to the moon flashlight.

7. There is a “behind/under” to clean? Damnit…

So, here is to a post that, I hope, will be found to honor Sarah’s comment policy. We disagree on some things (I have never met a Pale Ale that I liked) but I think our hearts beat the same (I would climb over you to order an Irish Ale). So the conversations cannot stay the same. We cannot keep beating each other over the heads with empty Smithwick’s bottles. But I think when folks like Sarah and I respect, question, and engage, progress is made – and a Bloody Mary wouldn’t hurt.

I Want to Be Friends…

I am feeling differently about my social media. I am very careful the way I word that. I do not mean that I have outgrown, matured past, moved to a different level, grown tired, gotten better, become worse or any other judgemental idea. I have always believed, and continue to believe, that social media behavior is a lot like parenting – there are some things that are obviously tacky, others that are wrong, some that are downright criminal, but outside of that, we all raise our kids our own way since we know them best.

In my area, I was a very early adopter of social media. I enjoy it and it suits me. Professionally it is a fantastic tool and personally it is a great outlet. I am fairly open and relational. I met a lot of people. A lot of great people. I have a bunch of folks from my local community, childhood in my circles. I have over 2000 emails in my personal email cache, over 2100 Facebook friends, and over 700 Facebook followers.

I do not want to do this anymore.

Now before Todd Carpenter gets all excited that he has won, let me explain. I do not think I have been handling my social media incorrectly. If there are those who still choose to deal in high volume, that is wonderful. I understand the stance. I support it. I think it can be very effective when appropriate.

I no longer feel appropriate.

We are losing our battle with all that is personal and real about our business. Every day I can look at a list of phone calls only partially returned. Driving home, I think of what was not accomplished, instead of what was accomplished. The gnawing feeling continues. That families are sitting waiting for a call from us, waiting to hear the word on a contract, or a General Manager’s thoughts on an upcoming season. We are pushing numbers around, doing our best, but is there any real satisfaction in success without pride? Is there any real satisfaction in a success that exists only when we push the messiness of real human contact from our lives and minds? When we learn not to care enough about the very guy we promised the world to, just to get him to sign. Or to let it bother us that a hockey player’s son is worried about his dad getting that fifth concussion. – Jerry Maguire

So today during a particularly introspective time of prayer and contemplation, it occurred to me that deep sixing the social media profiles was a good idea. Nix it all – Facebook, linked in, (choke) twitter (choke). Keep the email, blogs, phone and text. Why? Those things foster real relationship, real community.

This idea has been floating around. Clint, Mike and the like will tell you – twitter follow suggestions should come with a reason. Connections should come with a purpose. Relationships should be, well, relational.

So, I don’t leave without warning. That isn’t the purpose. I am trying to enrich relation – not destroy it. An amazing thing happened – there was connection. And there was confirmation. I had someone say it was sad to reconnect after 20 years and then I am gone – when the truth is we had not “connected” – we had simply “friended.” Would I like to connect with her – you bet your britches. She was a wonderful person then and I am certain she is wonderful now.

In closing, I have been vetoed. I will not lie – the coax to stay will boast my ego for at least the next five minutes. I am not unreasonable. I understand that I may be behaving over zealously (It wouldn’t be the first time). So, I will adjust my thoughts.

I am taking a play from Todd’s book. Sometimes in that there are mistakes made. I was momentarily worried about that. But then I realized…my friends, should they fall victim to my minor mistake of social media faux pas, will forgive me 🙂

Debt Ceiling, Budget Woes, and General Stupid

Alrighty, so I am not college educated. And I am “the American People.” So I am assuming the loud mouths from the President on down are referring to me when they talk about those who “don’t understand,” don’t “realize the complexity,” or “have too much ‘normal stuff’ going on to pay attention.”

However, allow me to insist that college obviously don’t make smart and my momma didn’t raise no dummy.

Seems to me folks in power like to make their job seem way more complicated than it really is. That way when they jack it up, it’s mostly because you just don’t understand. And the harder it seems to be, the less we want it and the fewer intrusions they will get because really, who wants to be bothered?

I am calling bullshit. I have run government supply, a household budget and a small business. While the federal government may be larger, it is not that different.

Let’s take my household as compared to the government. We both have revenue – I have a job the government has taxes. We both have expenses:

  • groceries (public assistance)
  • mortgage (housing assistance)
  • Health insurance (healthcare)
  • Books, lunch, supplies, child care (education)
  • Auto expenses (transportation)
  • electric bill (energy department)
  • Dog and ammo (defense and justice department)
  • cable, phone, internet (communications)
  • Beer and liquor (state department)

So, you see, it really isn’t that different. I have a certain amount of money coming in and I haven’t done really well at living within my revenue.

I have gone for mani/pedis and called it for the good of public welfare. I bought too much car because it was cool and tucked in the transportation budget. My kids really wanted those designer clothes – slip into the education money. And these purchases, along with many others, are paid for with my credit card because, as I stated, I did not require that my budget balance.

Well now, all my credit cards are maxed out. And the payments are due. And I really don’t deserve the last pay raise I got so I really can’t have another. And there are no second jobs for me out there because the job market it in a crunch.

So, I go to the credit card peeps and say “I need you to increase my limit, ‘k?”  And everybody thinks this is a good idea right?

NO! Everybody knows this is the worst idea in the world. I will just max that out and then what? I can’t pay the bills I have now. Why in the world would this credit card company increase my limit?

Because they know that if my limit doesn’t get raised that I will not only have problems paying my bills, but them too. So they need to raise my limit, but they also need to save me from myself.

So, they will raise my limit under some conditions. The money I have coming in is what I have to work with – that’s it! Those who are not responsible with what they have do not deserve more. I am already getting more than I have earned. I have to go through my expenses.

No more spa visits, designer clothes, trips to the doctor so I can have a sick note for work, steak and lobster, HD cable TV with Pay Per View MMA, drive thru, take out, latte, full service ANYTHING! And if your name is not on the occupancy list – you have to go live where it is. I love you all, but my budget says we got to buckle down.

Hey, another option is I can drive into the rich neighborhood tonight, break into a house, take their stuff and use that as revenue. Oh wait, can’t do that because it is ILLEGAL as it is known as STEALING!

Or, we could just continue on pretending like it is all to hard and to complicated and there really is nothing we can do short of, well, anything.

Or is this all too complicated to understand?

“The only thing that’s killing heterosexual marriage is heterosexual marriage.”

So, I am going to the coffee shop. If you don’t know what that means, please check it out now before reading any further. Thanks 🙂 Seriously.

For a long time I have wrestled with my thoughts on The Defense of Marriage Act. While I believe in sanctity of marriage as a divined covenant with God, I also understand that my particular religious beliefs cannot be the sole argument for legislative decision-making.

The more often we come to the coffee shop, the more often you will hear that idea – my particular religious beliefs cannot be the sole argument for legislative decision-making. I have spent an awful lot of time on an awful lot of subjects applying that code.

So I considered different societal implications – children, interactions in neighborhoods, etc. I considered economical implications – tax revenues, healthcare, employee benefit packages. I considered what the unforeseen implications might be and didn’t see any – which is probably why they are still unforeseen.

And all I came up with is – it is no different from allowing a legal avenue for any other two people to marry. Any degradation of same-sex marriage – jacked up kids, crappy finances, system abuses, messy divorces – can already be found in heterosexual marriages.

Do I agree marriage is sacred? Of course I do. But many heterosexuals do not. Current divorce rates show that marriage between men and women have become disposable in roughly 50% of the cases. The is no movement to outlaw marriage between a man and a woman on the basis of mentally disturbed children, causal relationships outside of the martial bed, disinterest in the sanctity of marriage. Therefore, it is unfair to use these as barometers of a group of adults who, just as their heterosexual counterparts, are as varied in their commitment to their potential spouses.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck did a wonderful job when she said

“…to protest someone’s day I find to be without taste…The only thing that’s killing [heterosexual marriage] is heterosexual marriage.”

Some of the other women on The View said other stuff too…but, meh, Elisabeth is the only one that gets singled out here.

I understand that with my religious, conservative background, this may not be the stance expected. But these are the beliefs I currently hold. In a world so full of turmoil and discord, is this really the thing we want to fight about? With so many people unloved and bitter, are we really targeting those who have found a way to love and be loved? Do I really want to be the one to say that a hospital or jail cell or any restricted place that, “I am sorry, you are not family,” to the life partner of another person? Do I really want to be the one to say who marriage is for or who it isn’t?

Nah. I don’t think so. Do you see it different?

Back to the Coffee Shop – Maybe…

In 2007, I wrote this Blog Post ~ Going into the Coffee Shop for Hillary Clinton. You can read the thing in its entirety if you would like – we will wait. There is a State of the Union Post as well. However, for convenience, here is the part of that post that I would like to revisit here for today.

When I first started blogging, I understood the difficulties in “in the box” communication. With online talks and discussions you have a few characteristics that make some conversation difficult different.

There is no body language, no tone of voice, no real-time response. A person can read one post and not get the whole story or know me as a person and get the wrong idea. The ability to be anonymous emboldens some folks to say things they wouldn’t normally say.

So, in the beginning, I decided that there were two kinds of topics – blog topics and coffee shop topics. Some topics were fairly safe to talk about on the web while still being interesting. Others could be too easily misconstrued and would therefore be held for times when I could get together with a real person, face to face.

However, I have since realized that there is a wealth of opinionated and knowledgeable ideas out there with folks I know and trust. So, it is time to go into the coffee shop.

I will be honest, I am treading these waters very carefully. This is meant for great discussion. I may have a little or a lot to say. We will have to see.

The fact that I am a conservative should not be a surprise to anyone – but if you didn’t know, I am outing myself now. I haven’t picked my nominee yet because I like a few of them for different reasons. Immigration policy, Iraqi plans, tax reform, sanctity of life…those kinds of reasons.

I am considering reopening the coffee shop. The rant on Twitter with Russell Crowe made me want to scream. And then I just wanted to talk about it. You see, to see, he seems illogical and asinine – but what if I am wrong? Ok, so I really don’t think I am wrong on that one (he was an ass) – however, I am certain there are situations where I am. And, if not wrong, at least would benefit from understanding better the viewpoint with which I do not agree. I do not strive to argue or debate (sometimes) however, I would like to know that my thoughts are diverse and I have listen to those who think differently than I. And I would like to know that I have done my part in ensuring that my voice is also among the counted…not just Russell Crowe.

There is an election coming up, our fighting men and women are in harm’s way, our economy remains fragile, our children remain undereducated, and the 24 hour news cycle ensures all of it and more remains whipped up in a speculative frenzy so that advertisers continue to spend money with them.

That’s the thing I like about a coffee shop…we can just talk.

Just thought I would take a minute and get your two cents…

**Housekeeping ~ I do have Rules of Engagement over at MLWFY. It is the same over here 🙂

**Photo Credit to Ruben Alexander

Remembering the Memorial Day Babies

Memorial Day is such as interesting holiday. It is that wondrous four-day weekend that rolls the summer in with beer, burgers and beach. Simultaneously, we all take time to remember those who keep those beaches free, who allow us the freedom to gather together, to indulge in our beverages without fear. We remember those fighting men and women because they deserve to be remembered.

I can tell you, as I have held rank in that proud class, that we appreciate it. We are thankful. And if, I can be so bold, I would like to push that remembrance a bit farther. On this Memorial Day, and truthfully everyday, I would like us to think about those military babies.

Anyone who has ever talked with me about this subject knows, I adore the military spouse. What a strong breed of devoted individuals. However, I think even they will tell you, they have the second hardest job in the military – their babies have the hardest.

I have never been a military child. But I am the mommy to a few. They are so young and asked to deal with so much. The moves, the loss of friends, new schools, new homes, deployments, the worry, the hope, the uncertainty – and for some, the memories. These brave little ones appreciate their uniformed parents, as we attempt to give them the skills they need to cope. They love us even though we leave. They trust us even though we are unsure. They welcome us back even though it has been so long. They do it all again even though they would rather it just be over.

There is no heart, courage, or strength, larger than that of a military child.

So, I borrow a child’s salute and offer it to the children – we love you, we thank you, we could not do it without you.

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**Photo credits to:

The Difference Between Fluff and Stuff

Yup! If you were here last week, you know that picture to the left means I am down 6 pounds this week. Pretty cool, huh? Not really. Think I worked out 4 hours a day or counted calories or practiced ancient mind tricks that laser melt body fat? Nope. Does that make me super cool? Nope – it is evidence that I was, in fact, “lazy and complacent.”

I will tell you that I made better choices. I ate 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. Good foods with some redeeming quality to them. Stuff with lots of color and little fat. Lots of protein little sugar – Outside aisle grocery shopping kind of foods. I did cut out sodas. I did not cut out beer. You choose your sacrifices, I’ll choose mine.

Most importantly, I focused on finding the root issues causing the symptoms, lazy and complacent, which was causing the weight gain. I was kind to myself. I was kind to others. I cut a lot of slack to anyone who needed it. I focused on my part and responsibility in any ill adventure or wondrous win – and I attempted to own them both.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that the 6 pounds I lost this week was made of the exact same crap my mental self talk is made up of – FLUFF. Non important, non real, non meaningful, non sustainable fluff. That’s why the weight fell off this week. It was the jump start and fluff is always the first thing to go. It has no substance, no real purpose. When you get ready for it to go, it just can’t hold on, it is just fluff.

This next week, I am certainly not expecting another 6 pound weight loss. I am also not expecting to make huge strides in the emotional well being department either. Most of the fluff is already gone. That which remains made up of STUFF. There is a big difference between fluff and stuff. All the things that fluff isn’t, stuff is. Long standing, meaningful, foundational, historical , rooted. Notice I didn’t say purposeful, truthful or useful – not all stuff is.

Some stuff is wonderfully positive. We have to remember to hold on to that. I would look ridiculous and, more importantly, I would be unhealthy, is all I focused on was losing as much weight as possible. I would be an emotional wreck if all I focused on were the places in which my brain and my heart are broken. It isn’t about the weight or the damaged – it is about the desire to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

But the fluff and the negative stuff are in for a whoopin’…