Appreciate quirks. You have ’em too.

I will admit to being almost 37 years young and liking SpongeBob.

It is absolutely brainless, but that is why I like it. Sometimes I want to see something that will make me forget about the news that I’ve just watched or read, news that tends to focus on the more dismal side of the world. Sometimes I just need to get the heavy stuff out of my headspace. There is no better way than to watch something that exists solely for entertainment purposes.

One of my favorite SpongeBob episodes is one where Squidward convinces happy-go-lucky, super-positive and overly optimistic SpongeBob that there is something wrong with him…that he is not “normal”. In his quest to become normal, SpongeBob loses everything about himself that makes him…well, HIM. In exchange for normalcy he becomes dull, boring and bland in personality.

spongebob

My job has made me contemplate the entire idea of what is “normal”. My conclusion is that no such thing exists. It is subjective. It cannot be defined concretely. And we need to teach our children that, that even if someone seems odd to them, doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with that person. I feel some type of way when I see kids who others find to be “different” being singled out and picked on. This world would be such a better place if we learned to respect and appreciate differences instead of opposing them. I often ask the kids if they really want a world where everybody is exactly like them. Variety is the spice of life. We aren’t all meant to be the same, and I don’t understand why people, especially those who profess to be Christians, do not accept people for who they are.

I know I have quirks that might annoy people. I own them. But maybe that’s what makes me appreciate that in others. I think of quirks as being as unique as birthmarks. I’ve always liked offbeat people, people who weren’t afraid NOT to follow the crowd, because that to me seems to signal better self-esteem. So in addition to teaching our children to respect differences, we also have to teach them to acknowledge and appreciate their quirks.

And the people you don’t understand, so you throw labels on them like you’re better than they are? The geeks, the nerds, the weirdos, the kids with the learning disabilities or behavioral problems, those on the autism spectrum, those with Down’s Syndrome that you don’t talk to? You are missing out, not them. Some of the sweetest, kindest and smartest people I’ve ever met have been those who have been told they weren’t “normal”.

Love is an action word. It is something you do. How are you showing love to the world? Are you oppressing others? Are you exploiting the less fortunate or ignoring their plight? Are you labeling others in order to elevate yourself? If so, blow the dust off your Bible and read I Corinthians 13 and try harder. Nowhere in the Bible does it say “love others except…”

And then, teach your children.

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In DESPARATE need of prayer…

…as I embark on a new journey.

I am bigfat and I’m not about to accept it.

Soleil is 4 months old now and an absolute joy (she’d be even more of a joy if she slept all night but at least she’s extra super cute and sweet and cuddly). Seeing as though it took 9 months to gain the baby weight I am giving myself 5 months to have made noticeable changes in my weight.

More disturbing than my weight is my shape… Or lack thereof, I should say. I have zero definition and my clothes fit poorly. Also, I am convinced that my weight is responsible for at least some of the aches and pains I have been having.

I have been doing walk videos on YouTube. If you’re interested in doing a virtual walk with some good scenery, let me suggest Wind Walk Travel on YouTube.

I don’t eat a lot of calories… When I cook. As we all know we eat more calories when we eat out, especially at fast-food restaurants. Thing is I love cooking; I just have to get into the habit of meal-planning and getting to the grocery store to get my ingredients ahead of time.

So my plan is…

1. A walk video a day.

2. More water.

3. Grocery shopping and meal planning on the weekend, no matter how busy we are.

4. Fight the power… I mean the urge to eat my kids’ Halloween candy 😢

5. And, Lean Shakes. I just started drinking two a day, one for breakfast and one for lunch. I add in a banana and peanut butter with the vanilla and a drop of Hershey’s chocolate syrup in the chocolate one with peanut butter. Throughout the day I snack on fresh fruit or veggie crackers and I’m good until dinnertime.

Fingers crossed, prayers up. This weight loss garbage SUCKS and I flipping hate it. I don’t mind getting older, but why can’t we keep the same body and metabolism that we have in our teens and twenties????

Le sigh.

 

Parents… Get it together. Seriously.

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I have been off the grid, and it has been for one reason only… I am EXHAUSTED.

I was blessed with the first job I have had since 2015, when my declining health and the stress of the job I was working at that time (overworked, underpaid, underappreciated) exacerbated the declining health and led me to leave my medical receptionist position. Although there has never been a resolution to those issues–as a matter of fact, they have began to come back in the recent weeks with a vengeance after having gone away almost completely during my pregnancy–a perfect opportunity came along and I went for it.

For awhile now I have been reconsidering my career field of choice. I went back and forth with going into the health care field or going into education. I ultimately picked health care because I figured I’d make more money there. Now I realize I made a mistake and I should have been a teacher.

My current position is not a teacher. In order to avoid any possibility of violating the privacy rights that guide the field (FERPA, as opposed to health care’s HIPAA), I won’t talk much about the specifics of my job. I will say that I work at the school that my two oldest kids attend. I’ll also say that some of these parents ought to be ashamed.

I understand parenting is hard so I typically reserve heaping negativity on other parents, but what I see everyday in that school is absolutely unacceptable. It is getting cold, yet small children come to school and go out to recess without coats or hats. Explain to me how a kid can learn consistently if she is missing days of school because she has a cold from being improperly dressed outside?

Office staff, teachers, and other support staff are armed with arsenals of snacks because parents are too busy to make sure their kids eat breakfast before they come to school or fail to send a snack for snacktime. Explain to me how a kid is supposed to be able to concentrate on his math work when he is starving?

But what is most appalling, most concerning, most shameful is the behavior, the disrespect these kids aim at the adults who are doing nothing more than trying to help prepare them for an uncertain future. I would NEVER have had the stones to sass my teacher, walk out of my classroom when I got good and ready, play around in the bathroom, deface school property, run through the hallways, or slack on my schoolwork because Steve and/or Brenda Smith would have smoked my behind when they found out. Mind you, there are children there with documented behavioral issues. I am not referring to them. Who I am referring to are the kids who obviously do not face consequences for bad behavior when they are at home. Those are the kids who pout, throw tantrums, and back talk their teacher when they are admonished for disrupting the class by talking out of turn.

I am referring to the perfect princes and princesses whose Mommy and Daddy love them so much they can’t bear to tell them “No”, who have done their child an ASTRONOMICAL disservice by ingraining in their brain that the world revolves around them, setting them up for a majorly rude awakening when they get older and figure out that, no, in college you CANNOT turn assignments in whenever you want and get mad when you don’t get full credit; that in college and beyond a due date is FIXED and not your decision; and when you get a job, you depending on what that job is, you will NOT get to just come and go as you please.

I am referring to the children who are used to being parked in front of the television or on the couch or their bedroom unsupervised with a phone or tablet to watch videos or play games to their little hearts’ desire and now cannot focus on their classwork for two seconds without getting distracted because they are used to constant visual stimulation.

I am referring to those parents who obviously don’t know a thing about their kid because when they receive a report of bad behavior from the teacher, they will back up their child, thus reinforcing not only the bad behavior but undermining the teacher.

I have to ask…

Parents…

WHAT.ARE.YOU.DOING????????????????

WHY are you setting your kids up to FAIL? Do you think the best way to show your kids love is to spoil them enough to where they believe the world will slant according to their wants and whims? Why are you not teaching them to respect authority? Why aren’t you teaching them to keep their hands to themselves? Do you seriously allow your kid to mouth off to adults, and if so… why? Why aren’t you modeling appropriate behavior? Why aren’t you telling them it is unacceptable for them to disrespect their teachers? Why are you not teaching them to be kind? Why aren’t you setting high expectations for your kids, and implementing appropriate consequences for bad behavior or low academic achievement? Why aren’t you making sure your kids are clothed and FED???? Whose responsibility do you think that is???? If you need help why don’t you swallow your pride for the sake of your children and ASK FOR IT?? Do you really think teachers enjoy having to call you in the middle of your work day to tell you your kid is being disruptive? If that’s what you think, you obviously haven’t taken ANY time to get to know your child’s teacher…FAIL.

Why should I put so much effort into teaching MY kids to be kind if you’re cool with yours being total jerks?

If you’re this lax with your kids’ bad behavior and poor academics NOW, what do you expect they will be like in five years? Ten? Do you care? Or do you plan to take care of them for the rest of whatever life you have left? If so… MAJOR FAIL. My primary responsibility as a parent is to make sure that my kids will be able to launch into adulthood because I might not be here as long as I think!

My solution is this.

It pains me to see the kids in the classes who want to learn, whose education is impeded by the ones who treat school like a social club. It pains me to see teachers, who spend so much time preparing lessons only to only make it through fifteen minutes worth of material because of the disruptions, looking exhausted halfway through the school day.  So here is my proposal.

If you’re going to be a crappy parent, homeschool your kid.

Don’t make everybody suffer because you suck at parenting.

That may have come off strong, and so be it. It needed to be said. Spare the rod, spoil the child. God help us.

#whyIdidntreport

scorned woman

 

Donald J. Trump has given me reason number 738402836454929874625368490 to be happy that it never occurred to me to vote for him to be the president of this country. He issued yet another tone-deaf tweet today in reference to the allegations made against Brett Kavanaugh, in short, questioning why the assault wasn’t reported by Ms. Christine Blasey Ford immediately following.

I’m not going to get into the nuances of the allegations– you can read that on your own if you are not aware already. I fully admit to being biased to where I typically believe the purported victim, as I can see NO benefits of going forward with such a claim–do people really understand the damage that comes to your life when you do come forward?

If you have even one free moment this evening or anytime this weekend or in the near future, please visit this hashtag, whether you have Twitter (I don’t) or not.

https://twitter.com/hashtag/whyididntreport?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Ehashtag

This is one of the times where I feel social media is truly fulfilling what ought to be its ultimate purpose–unifying people around common themes and experiences, good and bad. There are some survivors on that thread who never told anyone about their ordeal.

My experience is not as relevant to the hashtag because as I’ve said on this very blog before, I DID report. And every excuse that could be made to dismiss what my assailant did was presented. To this day, and it has been fifteen years, I am still not confident that I made the right decision to say anything. Why?

  1. Being shamed after being victimized is like being violated all over again. What were you wearing? (The idea being, of course, that suggestive dress makes it difficult for poor assailants to exhibit the self-control that everyone else in a decent society BUT them is supposed to use).

For the record, I was wearing a long-sleeved black shirt, black pants and black boots. Okay, so the pants were pretty tight. I felt pretty good about myself when I put on the outfit that night. I haven’t seen it since it was confiscated before I had my rape kit examination performed, and I don’t care to.

2.  Being blamed for being victimized is just beyond cruel. Well, you had been drinking.

Yep. Extra reason to call it what it was. If someone is passed out drunk most decent people would leave them alone, right? Not a rapist who operates on power and control. But the fact that I was passed out, something S.L. admitted to (those are his initials), only served to show the looseness of MY character. Why do we do this to victims of sexual crimes? Do we tell people who have been robbed or had their homes burglarized that it was their fault? Why with sexual crimes are we so quick to try to dismiss it or deflect from the actual crime? Is it because the perpetrators are overwhelmingly male? Is it because in a lot of cases, evidenced by the stories on the hashtag, that this abuse is taking place in families and we don’t want our dirty family laundry aired? Is it because people truly believe that people in esteemed positions can never be predators? Whatever it is, it is a TRASH mentality and needs to be DUMPED.

3. Having to tell my parents was absolutely awful, even though I knew they would believe me. Imagine not being sure if you would be believed? It was hard enough to face my family knowing they would have my back. A lot of people don’t have that luxury. My parents were devastated. My Dad wanted to kill S.L. and had to be restrained from going to Grand Valley’s campus to do so. I’d left my small town with so much promise and was coming back with a trail of shame and humiliation following. I had failed everybody. As tough and as smart as I thought I was… obviously I had overestimated myself and my abilities or else I wouldn’t have gotten raped, right?

4. I ended up having to leave Grand Valley as a senior and start all over at EMU, pushing me into massive student loan debt. Why? Because Grand Valley would rather have a popular football player there, one who had helped them achieve their first title in years, than little old me, the one who wasn’t a sexual predator but only presided over a volunteer organization for senior citizens, sang in the gospel choir and participated in multiple other volunteer initiatives. After he left willingly to escape the heat (which I’m not convinced wasn’t their plan–to make it look like they were doing something just so things would die down), I was told I’d be informed if he tried to re-enroll. The same day my classes were mysteriously dropped for the first time in four years, I ran into him coming out of the bookstore with a bag of books. I hope you are doing better by your students now, Grand Valley  State University, because you CRAPPED on me, and I LOVED it there. I would have represented you well as an alumna.

I can continue, but I’d rather you go and read the hashtag. The stories are not the same, but the feelings that compel silence are. Shame. Guilt. Knowing nothing will be done. Fear of losing status, career, or other components of their livelihood. Having a mother, for the love of GOD, who chose to believe her boyfriend over her child. (Those stories made my blood BOIL). Or the most heartbreaking of the stories, the ones from individuals who were children and didn’t have a complete understanding that they were even being victimized and that it wasn’t their fault.

Think of six women you know. Picture them in your head. Imagine their smiling faces.

Realize that one of them has probably been victim of some form of sexual assault in her lifetime.

Aren’t you angry? Don’t you want her to have a voice? Would you believe her if she told?

After you have visited the hashtag, please consider supporting RAINN and/or signing up for their newsletter. I volunteer for this very worthy organization.

https://www.rainn.org/

 

 

 

You were elected without even campaigning!

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As I believe I have said before, I had a hard time determining a career path because I wanted to do..everything. I wanted to be a teacher, then a doctor, then a nurse, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a nursing home administrator, a hospice program administrator… Good Lord.

All of my many career interests have one thing in common. I definitely wanted a job that involved helping people. Politics, although less direct a helping field than those listed above, could apply if politicians acted accordingly. They have the opportunity to develop and enact policies that could help tons of people. As I get older and see the inequality in America and the corruption and partisanship that unfortunately defines American politics, I often wonder if I could have possibly gone into politics myself and served people and my country as a whole in that manner.

Not only is the current state of American politics problematic, the concept behind even getting elected here is an issue. Why? Because campaigning requires money. The more money a candidate has access to, the more television, print and radio ads they can air. Billboards cost money. Fliers, signs, buttons, etc cost money. Imagine spending thousands of dollars on a campaign and losing. Some of us just can’t make that type of investment but could be completely qualified and ETHICAL.

All thanks to God the Father for electing me to an even higher, more important status, one that required no money, campaigning, or winning over a divided electorate. In the Bible we find that there are people that God CHOSE, or elected, to be saved, even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). God knew that some of us would, in our free will, choose to accept His Son–this is referred to the foreknowledge view of election. And just like an elected politician, what should those of us who are chosen by God to be saved to do? Serve and help God’s people. As often as we can.

Before I conclude for the night–all of my kids are asleep and I am enjoying the quiet, but I need to sleep while I can–I do ask that any of you that read this and are so compelled to do so to commit to praying DAILY for our children. Every day without fail I ask that God cover our kids, be a protective fence around them, while they are at school. I pray for a year completely free of school shootings and ask you to join me.