Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I like Barack Obama, I think he has a lot to offer. I don't support his view on the right to choose - I think we should make that decision before we lay down, not after. However, I'm frustrated when conservatives indicate that we are riding the Obama band wagon because he's Black. I don't care what the issue is, we some how find a way to indicate that Black voters aren't really smart because we:
1. Don't Vote
2. Don't Care
3. Are Sold Out to the Democrats
4. Don't Read
5. Don't Research
The list could be endless. I try to do my part - and I reach and touch everyone who will listen, so that they can engage too. The reality for me, is that I want to hear Barack's voice at the table. I want him to have the resources and the platform to make everyone at the table work harder for their votes. I want to see him in the race because I believe he can win and I believe he has much to offer. The reality is - I don't get my information from one source. ( I have been accused of listening to NPR as my only source of information.) I read, I research, I investigate, and I pray that others will to. This isn't about the perfect solution, it is about the dialogue and the tenacity to win. I fundamentally believe Barack has nothing to lose.
When people try to aimlessly place me in a box it is equal parts frustrating and funny. I am clear what I believe but I don't find it necessary to defend. I don't vote the democratic ticket or the republican ticket because I find both parties painfully inept. I do, however, vote for people who are more closely connected to the issues that matter to me and my family. I care about the environment, but it isn't a deal breaker. The fate of our nation while at war in a time where leadership is desperately needed - that is a deal breaker for me.
I care about public education alternatives - even though my children are in private school. I don't know how long we'll continue to make that choice, but every child in our nation has a right to a quality education. Right now, in neighborhoods all across America, education is failing our children. I have an aunt who is a principal and she puts on God's armor everyday to address the many parents, unions, budget constraints, learning disabilities, apathetic stakeholders, etc. that exist. She is dynamic, caring, articulate and committed to our children. There is no one solution - but I know that we can not continue on this road.
I care about the future of Social Security and universal health care. During a time when our family was at financial turmoil to the 9th power - we had to pay Cobra for a family of 5 for several months. There is no such thing as working class, middle class, or professional class. You are either part of the haves or have nots, and the middle area is very, very small and subjective. There is probably only one thing I agree with Tavis Smiley on - the term working poor should be erased from our language. If you work every day of your life, you should not be poor. I digress.
Barack gets his share of attention for many, many reasons. Watching people explain why he isn't really Black is just a real case and point about where we are in 2007. He is indeed a Black male running for the highest office in our nation. However, like Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith -- I hope his future is decided by his character, his ability and his decision to play the game differently. For whatever the reasons are that make him "have the it Hollywood quality" - what we can most assuredly do is donate to his campaign, expand the dialogue and communicate with his campaign in a way that matters. Hillary should not assume that she has the Black vote, any more than Barack should. However, if I was a betting woman - my next 100 emails will not be to encourage my friends and peers to send her a thin dime. She has a platform, she has a following, she has the belief of mainstream Dems that she might be able to do it. I, quite frankly, want to make sure that Barack has that same chance.
Experience and track record in this dialogue is overrated. I believe not in his stance on every issue - I believe that Barack deserves a national platform to express his ideas and his vision for the future. What Barack does does with his chance will then be up to him.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. A good friend had a inspirational moment and asked if she could drop by a few days later. Both budget challenged, this has been the first series of holidays that we weren't really able to celebrate in our traditional fashion. She showed up unexpectedly, with a big bag, hot pink tissue paper was exploding everywhere. She said, "this was a God idea." I couldn't imagine what she had decided.
Traditionally, she has a habit of filling some crafty basket with female items that we never purchase for ourselves. She will typically do some gourmet food, bath and body stuff, some odd ball thing only she would think of, a book, and wrap it with a creative twang of her own. Not this time. It was actually a bit odd.
I sat down at the table to open the bag....and wahla....a LMax Leapster, complete with the Cars cartridge and batteries. A gift that only a mother could love. My friend doesn't have kids and has become a surrogate mother for my three upon occassion. She is the "loving auntie" that has all of the goodie bags, craft distractions and popular toys - just because. We spend our days joking about her eggs and the need to use them quickly, so that I get to be the "cool auntie" for her kids. Meanwhile, what she did for my birthday was not about kids at all. Her gesture was about knowing a mothers heart.
Early this month 2 of my 3 children were having a field day with their Leapsters. One child has been the resident cool gift holder for years, and we purchased the second for my middle child for Christmas. I debated the idea of buying three, and opted for a less costly electronic laptop. I think we've used it twice. The cool gift is the Leapster.
On a visit to Auntie Cool's house, my son said..."I'm praying to God for Andrew to get a Leapster of his own." He prayed for a few brief moments and sincerely asked God to bless his brother. I said to my friend, if I had my choice, I think I would just purchase a leapster for my baby and consider that birthday completion. Our budget was more than tight after the holidays and we have so many competing interests that toys aren't the top priority they are a strategic choice. I didn't think much about it after that - in fact, it was probably surfacing around my March list of things to do. If I modified my Starbucks habit and had a bad day, the Leapster would soon be his.
Instead, on my dreaded birthday - the day I often avoid because depression looms - I got surprised. It is hard to surprise me. I opened that bag and saw straight through to the heart of someone who understands me. Sure, pamper me time is important for any mother. I work hard at my first priority and they are a treasure - most of the time. But during this seasons - when the glass was looking half empty vs. half full, I was reminded about the blessings of friendship. Having people who truly understand you is a gift.
My youngest son squealed, as he assumed rightly so that my birthday gift was his blessing. I get to see the 3 year old manuever his hotly saught gadget after months of patiently being last in line. He was and is thrilled about his leapster. My middle son says, "it's mommy's leapster not yours." What my friend understood was that the desires of our heart are most often expressed genuinely by our desires for others. It wasn't what I expected at all - but it was an amazing gift. A gift that makes you thankful for the people who really get you and don't apologize for understanding exactly who you are. Happy Birthday to me - with a sincere smile on my face.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I almost didn't start this blog because I thought, my angels in heaven are going to have their work cut out. I upon occassion can string together words that are better left unused by the Christian wife and mother of three that I aspire to be. Then I decided - who am I protecting? Am I protecting those dear to me that I will probably write about, myself - because my imperfections may be gleaming brigther than the morning sky, or whom... I decided I would rather just write.
There are times when I have shared with a very good friend that her book (Godly in nature) and my book (yet unwritten) will probably never compete against each other. Hers will be a Christian audience and mine may cater more closely to the heathens in the world. The reality is - we both have a necessary cross-over audience. Then this past Sunday, our church was talking about all the heathens that God used. I was soo proud to be in good company.
The next time you feel like GOD can't use you, just remember...
Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Isaiah preached naked, Jonah ran from God, Naomi was a widow, Job went bankrupt, John the Baptist ate bugs, Peter denied Christ, The Disciples fell asleep while praying, Martha worried about everything, The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once Zaccheus was too small, Paul was too religious, Timothy had an ulcer...AND Lazarus was dead!
No more excuses now. God can use you to your full potential.
Besides you aren't the message, you are just the messenger!
Posting on the group firstname.lastname@example.org (group is now closed)
- God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
- Dear God, I have a problem, it's me.
- Growing old is inevitable. Growing UP is optional.
- There is no key to happiness. The door is always open.
- Silence is often misinterpreted but never misquoted.
- Do the math. count your blessings.
- Faith is the ability to not panic.
- Laugh every day, it's like inner jogging.
- If you worry, you didn't pray. If you pray, don't worry.
- As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home everyday.
- Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.
- The most important things in your house are the people.
- When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.
- A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.
- He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
If you are interested in learning more about my book - pray with me. I'm still wondering what God is going to use me for - but I know its going to be something big.
I used to believe in the power of Birthday's....but now I believe in the power of every day. ~ A. A. Laramore
There was a season in life where I believed that birthday's were powerful. I thought they should be celebrated, embraced and everyone around you could influence the power of that magic day. A day to embrace all that is uniquely you. I believe that for other people nowadays, not so much for myself.
I send birthday cards - often late, I let people know they are special, I search for pictures or personal items that will make them think about our connection, or sometimes, I just search for that perfect card that says it all. I can spend endless hours in Hallmark (sometimes even Walmart or Krogers) trying to find the perfect sentiment. In my reflective moods I write letters, make cards and do some scrapbook something or another. I just think that getting older I've decided - one day a year means very little in the overall scheme of things.
People should know that you care about them all throughout the year - not just one day. I have at times had a very strained relationship with my father - and he is maybe the most prompt person regarding cards for my birthday. I get cards just about every year, as an adult, and during his "feeling more connected" seasons - he'd send a book, a check or something along those lines. I rarely used the money for myself but I do note the money goes away when he's not feeling particularly happy with something I said or did. It goes that way this year. He wrote on the card additional language and inscriptions that weren't there - and I smiled a bit when I got it. I don't believe it, but I still smiled. I also get a card from his sister, my aunt, and it arrives on time too. Funny how some things which should make you smile with glee can do the opposite. Sometimes what happens on one day a year is a reminder of what may not happen 364 days a year. No statistics needed here.
I got a birthday card from a friend who has at times been my dearest confidante and upon occassion just a flake. I love her dearly. After a few episodes of miscommunication I thought our relationship might be forever lost. She mattered enough to try again, and I'm so glad I did. When her card arrived I didn't even read the card part - she had written a 2 page letter that made my heart sing. We have a lot in common - and many differences as well. The one thing that we have always shared is the love of snail mail. I was more excited to see her handwriting than anything else in my mail box, and her card was more about the possibility of relationships than the limits of one day a year. I was so glad I read it last.
Birthday's aren't completely lost on me. My children are my biggest joy in that arena. I have had rocket birthday's, ballet and princess fanfare, a ladybug luncheon, and a sports party that was out of this world. At every turn I was tickled by the squeals of glee - some were elaborate, others not more than a cake and time with family and friends. We've done superheroes, 1 buddy at the science center, but all of that means very little in the bigger scheme of life - it is one day. The true celebration of life is in the living of it each day. When I think about that, my children will always know the importance of celebrating each other - but it won't be tied to 1 anything. This smile could carry me for another year.
We celebrate the love of each other in the big and the small, in peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches, in big dates out, in Superbowl celebrations with a small screen t.v. I am blessed that my children won't define their relationship with me based on the nuiances of a card. They will a lifetime of memories, a boat load of hugs and kisses, fancy expressions and many casual days - to know that birthday's are more than cards. Birthday's are for the living, and marked by opportunity to remember, give thanks, and celebrate with those that truly love you - which sometimes means no real "celebration" at all. Unless dinner with the kids and the husband (I'm thinking turkey hotdogs), a good cup of coffee (Folger's Hazelnut sounds like it will hit the spot) and a lifetime of reflecting on those that truly love you is a celebration to anyone else. Happy Birthday to me, a whole day early.
Monday, January 22, 2007
I am much more of basketball fan. I love the Detroit Pistons. I only began following the Indianapolis Colts because of our relocation. I understand more about the game now, and I have a broad appreciation for what is happening on the field. Four chances to move the ball - I like those odds. I always thought 3 strikes - what if they had one more chance???? I also have come to a late understanding - football players are easy on the eyes. I, however, will most likely not be a die hard football fan. I still like the game of basketball better. What I have become is a coach fan - a fan of Tony Dungy.
His grace on and off the field is one for the real history books. It is obvious that he can coach, obvious he loves the game, and obvious that he will make history. However, at a time when everyone wanted to talk about being black and making history - he refocused the attention where it was due - the success of his entire team and the tremendous boost to the Indianapolis love fest for all fans - they have finally done it. Whether or not they win the big trophy they have demonstrated that they can win, they have what it takes for the big game - they are the best. Tony, meanwhile, seemed to be giving more of a sermon than a pep talk when players describe is half time feedback. Unwaivering, unchanging support and confidence that they had the skills to do what they needed to do - that is what every player said. He thanked God not by his postgame soundbites but by his daily life and example.
When you look at the 1/2 time odds, they weren't good. The team eventually had the biggest comeback in history. In a matter of 30 minutes I had gone from hoping my sons would divide my loyalties (1 football player and 1 basketball player) to believing they should both stick with the hoops. For someone who is dedicated to education, the pursuit of academic excellence and strong male leadership - the school aspect of our lives is a no brainer. We aren't really sports folks though - and I'm hoping, planning for that to change. I have come to believe that boys need an active outlet, a bonding experience, a succinct way to learn life lessons other than the traditional ways. I believe the same for my daughter but her needs are simply different. Boys need male role models and black boys need black men. Point closed as far as I'm concerned. It is a biological need. I thank God for my husband and his role in our lives because I believe God made it to be this way.
Coach Dungy displayed incredible poise at a difficult time - both personally and professionally. I couldn't imagine all that went through his mind during those first and last moments of the game - but my husband said it best, "I bet he would have done anything to have his son at that game." The thoughts about his public demeanor at a difficult personal time still give me hope. Yesterday wasn't about making history or about coaching - it was about dignity and leadership - displayed in unwaivering certainty over and over again. There are times when subtle grace makes me even more proud of my cultural heritage than I already am. Thank God for history in the making. More than football, more than coaching - I thank God for the example that has been set by the lives of these men across this nation. What a tremendous way to start this week - a true celebration of the heart.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
I only had to look right in front of me to see the inherent blessings in our life. I was finding way to many distractions to take me away from all that I have to be thankful for. Every time I see this flower I see the potential for life and for each new day. The potential for new beginnings is also why I decided that I would subscribe to the Barack Obama podcast and join his online community of supporters. I was initially intrigued by this easy on the eyes Democrat who had more to say than all that ails the Republican Party. I can't say he had me at hello - but the more I listen, the greater my interest and the greater my support.
I consider myself and Independent. Before I got married, had a professional career or had children I was a Democrat. I think I voted straight party tickets for the first few elections of my life. However, maturity, age and education finally set in - and I began to wonder, what have the democrats done for me lately? Don't even go there - I asked the same question of the Republicans. (Rebutticans for my 4 year old son!) In fact, what I determined was that few politicians held my personal interests as their priorities - it was a buffet of dysfunctional choices. It was like eating at the Golden Coral - you wonder why you are doing it before you ever make the purchase, then you are surprised when you walk through the door - and you think you are making good choices that make you smarter than the other consumers of this largely nasty food selection. At least that is my personal experience. I decided both parties missed the boat for meet, and started combining my conservative social values with my more liberal other stuff for ongoing dissatisfaction at the polls. Enter Barack Obama.
He has my support not for his track record, his race, his education, his eloquent delivery or his appearance. Reality is - he offers a fresh start in my eyes, a new way forward for the Democratic party. I'm sick of the war and the political correctness of supporting our troops and not supporting the fight. I believe it has become rhetoric and I'm as guilty as the next person. I want to talk about domestic issues and the first thing that comes out of anyone's mouth these days - their isolated view of how to address the war. That mess will be a mess for years to come. I'm ready to hear a real solution - but I'd like to hear about education, health care, the disappearing middle class, social security and the continuing gulf between what people say they believe and how they conduct their personal lives. I'm looking for more of the entire package, someone who can see a problem, think through a solution and garner enough support to make it happen.
I don't know what America is ready for. If I read another article or interview with Hillary Clinton about her opinion of Barack I will literally write another check to the "anyone but her campaign." If Democrats can't figure out a way to mobilize their assets in a more comprehensive fashion, this will be the shortest shift of power known in my lifetime. Is he ready? Is he anointed by existing AA/Black leadership? Is he too this or too that? I have no idea. What I know is that he is a new beginning and a new opportunity for hope on the horizon. I too, have the audacity of hope.
Together my husband and I have made many interesting collaborations - he's bricks and mortar, I'm more touchy feely. He wants to see economic development, I tend to look at economic empowerment. He would probably thrive in an urban environment with the fast pace of life serving as an energy source - the lights, the movement, the potential the development. I enjoy suburban life. I like the accessibility of things that are a part of our life, I like the relationships that my children are building, I like watching them play in the cul de sac, I like our home - which although a work in progress is as my father-in-law gently put it, "a real house." There are so many differences, I imagine they will fill our posts and our political exchanges in the blog world. Yet, what I always say in our heated exchanges (intense fellowship opportunities) - don't sell touchy feely short. I have made choices that are not typical for many of my peers. My educational achievements and professional pursuits are edited through the lense of motherhood - my chosen investment for a lifetime. I'm proud of all of the things that make me who I am - independent, fiercely opinionated, artsy, analytical, and a writer at heart. Conservative and compassionate, real. REAL.
However, in a world that sums up life by what you have and what you own we don't quite have our "American Dream" summed up. What I know for sure is that when opposites attract, wonderful things are possible. In fact, wondeful people are possible. Our youngest child was a surprise...well as much as married people can be surprised by pregnancy. He is such an addition to our lives and the perfect compliment to our expanding family. He captures the best of us and is equally reflective and energy laden on any average day. Most of his days are far from average. Deciding to be the primary caregiver for our children was not without financial implications, career implications and professional angst. When I look at his face, when I see his eyes, when all else seems to fall hard on the shoulders of choices deferred - I am elated to be a mother first, and all else follows from that decision. The thinker in my life tends to eat pizza for breakfast if I allow and waits too long before going to the potty, the most recent complication to our morning love fest. Our alone time is the source of many of my most hopeful moments and most peaceful experiences. Today, snuggled in the wee hours of the morning before any person in the house was awake - I realized the full potential of any day. Being up early, moving before the world has its privileges.
I imagine that this blog will mostly be an opportunity for reflection for me - a place to put the ideas that rush through my mind and heart each day. I want to have more discipline about writing and this will surely be a start. The possibility of dedication, discipline and desire must be endless. I hope it is - because these pages are the start of something new - a place where motherhood, being a wife, being a friend, being an entrepreneur and being a woman of substance meet.