Saturday, July 4, 2015

The freedom to shut up.

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year--the 4th of July!  I love getting together with family and friends to watch the fireworks.  I love the patriotism of this day--a day in which we all pause and remember the many men and women (and their families) who have sacrificed their time and lives to maintain independence in our beloved United States.  I love standing to hear the National Anthem played by a military ensemble.  I love the hush on the crowd when the flags are taken down at the end of the day--there is something so moving about the decorum during Retreat on the military bases.  

Civilized behavior at its finest. 

Unfortunately, it seems to me that these past few weeks we have had a national fallout.  People have picked opposing sides on a lot of political and social issues and have taken to social media to shout out their opinions and sides.  People have tweeted ridiculous things, people have shared ignorant and rude memes, and I've seen perfectly sane individuals lose their absolute minds over things.


It is ri. dic. u. lous   

So, for this one day, I'd like to encourage a "pause" on the social media bashing.  Instead of posting another story about how much you hate/love President Obama or another meme about gay marriage, the General Lee, and/or SCOTUS--why don't you take a minute and thank the men and women who are working tirelessly all over the world ensuring that you have the right to your opinions and your ability to post them.  There are men and women who are fighting to protect your opinions concerning the colors and/or design of the different flags you choose to fly.  There are men and women working nonstop to protect our freedom to act like big ol' bullies on social media as you post yet another story or tweet slamming a particular group of people.

You and I may not agree on everything--I'm a Southern and Conservative woman.  I go to church, I believe the words of the Bible to be true, and I love Jesus.  I do my best to adhere to Christian values and beliefs when making decisions.  I'm not perfect by any means, I make mistakes and sin each and every day, but I'm incredibly thankful for Grace.

If you don't know me personally, please do not take this as an opportunity to blast my opinions and beliefs, because you have no right to assume anything about me if you don't know my heart.  Because even though on the surface I would appear to be someone close-minded and stupid by the folks on social media, I need you to know that I am more than the labels that some would like to put on me because of my religious beliefs and my southern roots.

For starters, I am surrounded by many family and friends who believe differently from me, and I don't believe that we have ever fought over our differences of opinion.  I have LGBT family and friends.  I love people who do not love Jesus.  I grew up in a town that celebrates all races of people, and yet I'm discovering more and more every day that racism is still alive and well in all 50 states.  I do not love every elected official or agree with every ruling, but that doesn't mean that we can't agree to disagree on social and political matters.  I believe in the Bible, and I know a lot of people within the church say that the rules of living are written in black and white (and in red when Jesus speaks), but that doesn't mean that I haven't spent time wrestling with the Truth and trying to wrap my head around situations that aren't so black and white in my experience.  And it also doesn't mean that I don't get frustrated with the way the world operates inside and outside of the church.  

You may want to jump on the bandwagon and talk so ugly about the church, and you have the American right to do so--but I'd appreciate it if you would take a moment and remember there are people just like me within the church who have never done anything to you personally.  Assuming that all people within the church are bigots and close-minded is similar to the belief that all gay people are molesters.

It's simply not true.  

And Church?  For this one day, can you please just shut up?  Just stop posting your ignorant statements and articles.  Stop firing up social media with your blanket statements of outrage and indignant remarks.  If you wouldn't stand up in the middle of a crowded stadium and shout your social media statements--then please, for the Love, stop posting them online.  Yes, you may feel strongly about how you're feeling.  Yes, you may absolutely believe the words that you type.  But, I hope the Bible (and/or your mama) has taught you that Love is patient, kind, and keeps no record of wrongs and all the other things we've read.  We need to ask ourselves if how we are acting is showing Love--because many of you are acting like those street corner preachers with bullhorns spreading hate-filled messages.  Enough is enough--start acting like the Church and not like a bunch of bullies.  

Let today be reminder to us all that our country was based on the foundation of freedom.  We are not always going to agree and we are free to disagree.  What a wonderful way to live--no one telling us that we have to go to a certain church, dress a certain way, or vote for one particular political party.  We celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  We celebrate democracy.  We celebrate that all men are created equal in our country.  We celebrate with our families and friends.  We cookout, we hangout, and we ooh and ahh over the fireworks.  

Let's remember today the men and women fighting to protect our opinions, beliefs, and freedom. 

And let's celebrate our freedom to shut up.  

Happy Birthday, America!
xoxxo



And one last thing--although the men and women are fighting for independence, you are not free from becoming shark bait.  If you go into the NC waters and a shark comes up next to you on your boogie board looking all like a tasty turtle, he/she may bite you.  Why are we shocked and surprised by this?  However, because the sharks have completely lost their minds this season, let it be known to the masses that my toes are staying firmly planted on the sand. . . or on the concrete beside the pool. 


Monday, June 15, 2015

Welcome, sweet Summer.

Today is the first "official" day of summer vacation.  Camp has started, we're going to VBS, and I'm trying to remember what a clean house looks like.  I have a dentist appointment this afternoon (which reminds me that I also need to make a couple of well-child appointments).  I'm going to see my parents for a few days, and my car has started acting all wonky.  I have more laundry than I know what to do with--and I have been attacking that mountain steadily since last week.

I swear my laundry baskets have been enchanted by an evil troll.  

I am moving slowly this morning.  I'm seriously considering putting a sign on my door this morning that says "Don't knock, don't ring, don't bother." My mind and body are having a hard time switching "off" after a few weeks of literal insanity at this house.  Chris and I have worked long hours with overlapping schedules for far too many days resulting in a lack of sleep, nutrition, routine, and self-care.  Last night around midnight my body reminded me that I'm human and that I've got to stop before I completely burnout.  The introvert in me has been seriously overstimulated and I'm in desperate need of shutting the world out for a few days.

But, since that can't happen in real life with little kids, I'll settle for daily naps.   

So, this morning I'm starting my vacation with my favorite reset activity:  at my seat at the table with my journal, coffee, and Words of encouragement.  I'm going back through my journal to see all of the ways the Lord has moved in my life these past few weeks--when I was too busy to notice, when I felt like everything was going all wrong, when I couldn't do much more than put one foot in front of the other.  He has been so present and steady--even when requesting help regarding the most trivial things. 

The Lord answered this prayer about the pool before noon that day.  
Even though we started the pool process way ahead of schedule this year, we have had weeks of rain and crazy delays, wrong parts, and scheduling issues.  It was looking like it wasn't going to be ready by Sunday night when our campers came.  But, the pool inspector happened to call that very morning and had it all ready to go by lunch time.  On the day she had said she wouldn't be available--she happened to check her voicemail and decided to stop by the camp anyway.  

So as I greet this day, I'm writing in this space and allowing myself to move ever so slowly.  I'm going to savor another cup, spend time with the girls, and get myself back in order.  The house is quiet except for the sounds of the washing machine and dryer, and I've still got all of the curtains drawn to keep things still for a few more hours.  

This is the very moment I've been waiting for.  
   

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Closing Time.

So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits.  
I hope you have found a friend. 
Closing time. 
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. 
This song has been dancing around in my head the past few days (ps--it's not even about the closing of a bar)(Seriously, it's not).  We've been celebrating a lot of endings these past few weeks as our school year draws to a close.  The days seem so incredibly long at times, but another school year has come and gone.  I'm looking forward to opening my arms wide and embracing summer vacation like never before.

The end of this year brings about a lot of mixed emotions.  My sweet, sweet Mo is leaving her elementary days behind and is heading to 6th grade next year.  A part of me is sad that she's growing up so quickly, but mostly I'm excited about what's ahead for her.  



I have high hopes for next year, but Molly's just hoping for more Starbucks.  



And then there's sweet and sassy, Lillian: 



She doesn't know it, but her teacher is currently going through a tough battle with breast cancer.  She has had a delightful year in second grade and will miss school and her buddies over the summer.  



However, she will be just fine with pjs and cartoons tomorrow morning. 



And then there's Little O:


 She and I are getting ready to share a lot of quality and potty time.  We're going to spend a lot of our days learning how to wear underwear like a big girl because this mama needs a pay raise.  We're going to play in her cat-pool (Lily's way of being on trend when she's referring to those cute little "kitty" pools), eat lots of vanilla wafers, and hang out with Elmo and Abby on the S. Street.  

And. I. can't. wait!


And this next year is bringing about some changes for me as well.  Today marks the close of a chapter at my current school.  After a lot of praying and conversations with the Lord and with those who know and love me, I'm transferring to a different school in my town.  Music jobs are so few and far between, so when this position opened up I felt in my gut that this was the professional direction I needed to take.  I'm sad to leave behind my friends at JSS--there are some mighty fine staff members at that school.  I have had some great moments in that building, and I have taught some precious, precious children.  Those crazy 4th and 5th graders have reminded me why I love my job each and every day.  They never failed to give me sweet smile or encouragement when I needed it the most.

But I'm very much looking forward to teaching cute little 2nd and 3rd graders.  They have always been my most favorite age to teach--they still love school and their teachers, they aren't afraid to sing and act silly, they still use their imaginations, and I just like them.  I'm already planning things for the coming school year, and I'm very excited about this move.

And lucky for me, I've already got an almost 3rd grader who's going to show me the ropes in her school. 

  


Happiest of summer vacations, sweet folks!  
xoxxo


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