Friday, October 12, 2018

Anxiety


There is a bubble inside me
It lives just below my chest cavity in a place called the pit of my stomach
I always know it’s there, but I don’t always know what it wants
It wants a piece of me
It wants to devour me whole

Sometimes it rises up and wraps its carefully manicured claws around my ribs and rattles my bones in an attempt to escape its cage
It clings just behind my sternum and hums menacingly next to my heart and in between my lungs

Heart racing
Rapid breathing
I can hear the blood, FEEL the blood, throbbing in my neck! Singing in my ears!
Can’t you hear it, too?
I mean, if I can hear it – it’s deafening – how can you not?

But you look so even!
So calm!
You’ve got it all together.

No! I’ve got ants crawling up and down my body just underneath my skin and thoughts ricocheting off the inside of my skull like projectiles meant to harm and subdue with force but not to kill. Never to kill.

They’re killing me slowly.

And wouldn’t you know that all of this is directly tied to my tear ducts?

Why are you crying?

Why am I crying?

You seriously want to ask that question?
Because I’m not sure you seriously want an answer.

No! Because nothing I can tell you will make you understand when I don’t even understand myself!

I’m fighting phantoms. Real but unseen. Unreal but felt.
Felt so intensely sometimes I can’t walk.

Or breathe.

(They call it asthma. What a joke.)

And when this bubble rises up, it can divide into a thousand tiny shards of glass, splitting me open from the inside.

Can’t you see me bleeding?
I’m screaming!
Writhing in pain and anguish.

But I’m a lake. Smooth and unruffled by breezes.
I’m a smiling, productive, loving, caring, church-going, wife and mother fighting every day of my life for just one single moment of true calm.

I don't even know what that means.

Is that what you see?
My thorough togetherness?
It’s a lie.

No! I’m living in a literal nightmare within my own body. Within my own house. And the chaos is going to sweep me away.

Pray for me. Light a candle for me. Dance skyclad under the dark of the moon for me. Remember that when I tell you I’m fine I’m not. But DO NOT tell me to calm down and that everything will be OK because you don’t know. You cannot know.

I never know.

I’m fragile.
I’m strong.
Seriously?

That seemingly fragile bubble is made of titanium spiked with shards of glass held together by the glue of the waters of time and the blood of my own brittleness.

Take me seriously.
Feel sorry for me.
Or don’t.
I don’t care.
But don’t expect me to be someone I’m not.

By the way, the name of my bubble is Anxiety.

(by me, written October 12, 2018)

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Long Weekends: Blessing or Curse?

It's amazing how much a long weekend can disrupt an otherwise mostly-well-oiled routine. I mean, it's just one measly extra day, right?

For example: This weekend was a long weekend. We got an extra day because of the Labor Day holiday, so both kids were off school, and both hubby and I were off work. On this day, we were also invited to spend time with some dear friends of ours who recently got a small watercraft. Yes, I shall even call it a boat, as it is one. With some planning, we met said friends at the local boat ramp and, after a few false starts, managed to be on the water by about 11:00 a.m.

We enjoyed a lovely four solid hours buzzing around on the lake, towing the kiddos behind on a floaty-thing and reveling in their smiles and shrieks of laughter, and generally enjoying the day. Eventually, the aboard-boat snacks couldn't hold back the hunger, so we returned to the boat ramp, replaced the small craft upon its trailer, and headed to a restaurant where we proceeded to eat. A lot.

Fast forward to the next morning.

Kids slow to rise and get moving, so the proverbial Cattle Prods were removed from their safe spot and used liberally. (You do understand, we don't own cattle prods, right?) We left the house about 10 minutes later than usual only to find out that Boy-child had left his lunch box at school on Friday. When I asked him where his lunch was, he said, "In my backpack." I don't even want to know what he did, or did not, pack for lunch. I asked him where his trumpet was (he has band every day!), to which he responded, "Uh....I really don't know." REALLY!? Come on, kid! We called hubby, who said he'd bring it to the school later.

Girl-child, too, forgot her instrument (a viola) and called hubby to beg him to bring it to her.

Both kiddos forgot to brush their teeth, so we made them both go back inside and do that before they left the house. Which, I realize, added to our lateness, but tooth care is important!

Both kids were lethargic and quiet.

Both kids made mention of needing at least six more hours of sleep.

Both kids are going to have to deal with it and get through their respective days.

Welcome to adulthood, boys and girls.

For my part, I went to bed early-ish, got up as usual, got through my routine as usual, didn't forget anything, and, aside from being a bit later in arriving to work than I might prefer, I was still on time. This, friends and neighbors, comes from years and years of experience.

And...telling myself to "Do it anyway."

Even when I don't wanna.

TTFN
JMS

PS: I wish the kids would buy into my mantra!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

I am not worthy

I don't even know where to start.  Usually, a good rule of thumb would be to start at the beginning, but in this case, I'm not sure where the beginning, well...begins.

I guess it begins with a visit from my dad. He lives in Massachusetts with my younger (though significantly taller) brother and his family. This is his third visit in the last 2 years and we absolutely LOVE having him. Boy-child and Girl-child think Grandpa is THE BOMB and Uncle J., quite literally, hung the moon. For my part, I am encouraging all of this. I LOVE that my kiddos love their grandfather and uncle, and I love that my father and brother love my kiddos. If spoiling happens when they're around, well...who am I to argue? They get enough structure from hubby and me.

But that's really not why I'm writing this post.

You see, when I knew dad was coming to visit, I remembered what a horrendous mess my house was the last time he came, and how he quietly and sweetly chastised me for my awful housewifery. He never criticized or yelled, but I felt terrible about bad things were. So...I resolved NOT to let my busy life get in the way of making the place habitable and hospitable for his visit this time around.

I especially focused on the kitchen. Not only because the kitchen is usually the hub of any home, but because, in my opinion, it needed the most TLC. Once I started, I had a tough time stopping. I usually HATE cleaning and look upon it as the drudgery it is. But this time, I found some peace in it.

I began by taking everything off the tops of the cabinets. Everything had been up there for uncountable years and was covered in a thick, disgusting mix of dust and air-borne kitchen muck. I washed everything, cleaned off the tops of the cabinets, and put everything back. 

Then everything came out of each cabinet. I culled what was not needed or had expired, donated stuff to charity, washed everything, cleaned each shelf, and put everything back.

Then the counters. Everything off, counters scrubbed to within an inch of their lives, everything wiped down or washed off, and put back.

You see where I'm going. Literally every surface was cleaned. Every item was washed. Everything was rearranged and organized.

Hubby did the fridge (Bless him. I could not do it. I was to scared. I'm pretty sure something was alive in there.). Hubby scrubbed the floor. (I came home to the scent of Lavender Pine Sol. My fav!)

When the kitchen was done, I felt almost...free. Like this awful weight had been lifted and I wanted to make more good things happen in my house. So, I bought a bunch of air-tight glass containers and began "decanting" things into them. Dry beans and coffee, brown and white rice, flour, sugar, salt... I added hand-written labels. 

The rest of the house got a good cleaning, too, but the kitchen...well, that was my prize. Since then, I've been making sure the sink is gleaming at me every night. I've been setting the dishwasher to run overnight. And just knowing this small task is done makes me feel so much calmer in my soul. 

But, it is quite possible this has turned into a bit of an obsession. Good or bad, I don't know.

Let me explain.

I began finding these videos on YouTube: Extreme Cleaning, Clean with Me, Ultimate Deep Clean... They're fascinating. I'm not entirely sure why I would find watching some random woman cleaning her home (which, quite frankly, is already far cleaner when she starts than mine is when I'm done), but I do. 

Here's why I believe I am not (and never will be) worthy.

These women...these people who post videos of themselves cleaning their homes...are amazing. I chuckle a little bit (but not in any serious way) that they dress in casual clothing, or even yoga pants and a tank top, for these videos, but they've done their make-up (full face on), hair up in a pony tail or messy bun, and manage to look more vogue they I could ever be even after a full day prepping for a formal event. (Ha! That'll never happen!) They've got beautiful, bright, open homes, and, even at their messiest, are cleaner than mine.

I think...no one would ever want to watch ME do an Ultimate Deep Clean of my little 1000 sq. ft. Oak Ridge, Tennessee home.  Not that I want to video myself cleaning.

And, though I am kind of obsessed with these videos, they are also kind of disheartening. I will never have a home like one of those. I will never have pretty granite counter-tops, a crystal chandelier over my dining room table, or anything close to resembling a stainless steel, tri-cool refrigerator.

I wonder how I can get so much enjoyment from cleaning my home, and be so fascinated by these videos, and yet still feel so awful, and so much like a failure? It's weird to feel so torn in two like this. Happy about how it feels when I walk into my very small, but clean kitchen vs. how I feel when I begin wishing for things I know I cannot have.

I really WANT to be happy with what I've got. And mostly, I am. But there are days when I wish I could afford to remodel not only my bathroom (because it is in desperate need) but my kitchen, too. And, while I'm at it, I might as well go for gold and wish to have the kitchen look right out onto the living area in a pretty, open-concept floor plan.

Ah...if money were no option and the only thing holding me back was my imagination.

TTFN
JMS

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

One-sided conversation with my brain

So, speaking of anxiety and things I can't control...

Last night, I was sitting in the living room late at night with Boy-child. Neither one of us could sleep and so we sat and just talked. We discussed his new fish, and what he did on his mission trip, and then came around to high school, which he begins this fall.

It was really only about 30 minutes, but it was a nice thing. Hanging out. Just the two of us quietly chatting.

And then we went to our own beds and I lay down to try to sleep.

BRAIN: Hey! Guess what? Your son is starting high school! Do remember high school? Do you remember how much it sucked for you? What if it sucks for him, too? What are you going to do then, huh? Do you remember that you were only a little older than he is now when your mom died? Do you? Huh? Huh? It was the last day of your freshman year, so you were fifteen. Way to start your summer break. Geez. I mean, seriously, your body is probably already riddled with cancer and you're dying right now and you're going to leave your kids and hubby alone just like your mom did. What would their life be like? Cycle back to the beginning and start over. Let's beat this dead horse to a bloody pulp, shall we? I mean, you don't really need sleep, right? It's not like you have to get up in the morning. Oh, wait, yes you do! Ha! Hey, let's sing "She's a maniac!" She's a maniac! Maniac on the floor! And she's dancing like she's never danced before. Tra La La.

Yeah - this is my brain. And it's no wonder I'm tired all the time. Leave it to my brain to give me something else to stress about that I have no control over. One thing is for sure, I'm going to get every cancer screening I can think of. Hateful disease. Stupid anxiety.

TTFN
JMS

Friday, July 13, 2018

Me vs. My Traitorous Mind

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Please watch this video BEFORE reading the post below.


Watching this video, I realized yet again, that I am not the only one who has this problem. BUT, for every person who has anxiety issues, there are just as many people who don’t, cannot, or refuse to, understand the anxious person. I’m no doctor, but neither can I explain WHY I feel or think the things I do.

Granted, a lot of the things I think or feel might not be true, at least as far as the non-anxious person is concerned, but the things ARE true to me.

I DO feel fat and ugly and useless and good for nothing and…(I won’t go on)…even while at the same time I know those things aren’t really true.  Yes, I may be overweight and average-looking (who really cares, right?) but I am not useless and good for nothing. And see…even as I type that my brain is working against me: But what about all those days you come home from work and do nothing except crawl into bed, huh? What about those times? What about when you just want to be left alone and don’t want to talk to anyone, even your family, when all they want is your time and attention?

Well, I can’t explain it. I’m tired. Really, actually, truthfully tired. And it’s not just a physical exhaustion, it’s a mental one – which is even harder to explain. I’ve spent all day “people-ing” and I just don’t have it in me to “people” any more. And every time I hear my name I cringe inside. And stuffing my ears with an audiobook doesn’t help, because I get interrupted anyway. I cannot ever tune out 100% as I want to.

And yes, dammit, it’s freaking selfish. I know it’s selfish. But it’s also self-preservation. And – if I’m being honest – I’m preserving others, too. The 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Harm Self or Others. That’s an institutionalizing offense!

So, when I express aloud that I feel a certain way, and it’s irrational and confusing to you, by the love of all that is holy, please, let it go. (No, I won’t sing.) Just assume it’s my anxiety talking and go with it. Trying to question me, or make me see things a different way, only makes me more anxious and then I yell. Or cry. Or some snotty, tearful combination of both. Suffice it to say, it gets ugly.

Every day I tell myself how awful I look because I FEEL AWFUL!

Every day I wake up and want to immediately put my head right back down on the pillow and IGNORE MY RESPONSIBILITIES in lieu of sleep. Sleep is good. But then I have insomnia, too. So, I have trouble sleeping - both getting there and staying there. And my legs are restless which is SO ANNOYING.

Every day I have to force a smile when I speak to most people. I have to qualify that: MOST people. Not ALL people. There are some people who do not make me anxious, but they’re very few. And people as a general whole, en masse? Nope. Sorry. I’ll stay in bed, thanks.

Every day I tell myself how others feel negatively toward me, no matter what they might say aloud to the contrary. I’m convinced I’m not worth anyone’s real love, attention, or respect.

BUT I STILL TRY. I still try to DO IT ANYWAY. I’ve said this before. I try to get up anyway. Go to work anyway. Talk to people anyway. Smile and be friendly anyway.

And today isn’t any different.

I cannot say doing it all anyway is strength or courage. It isn’t. It’s a survival mechanism.

And you don't want to hear all this crap anyway.

TTFN
JMS

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Little Insight into the Brain of Yours Truly

Today, I have a headache. And I think about how miserable I feel and wish for something stronger than Tylenol. But then all the rational and less selfish thoughts hit me and I think: Other people I know and love have worse and more frequent headaches than I do so I need to quit complaining and then I think about how I'm grateful I'm allergic to most pain medicines so I don't need to worry about addictions and am careful with the one medicine I can take, though it doesn't do much, and then I think, having a headache like this forces me to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, which makes me think about the church camp in Indiana at which I, and the H.I.S. Puppeteers ministry team, just spent the better part of a week where we pushed the hydrate, hydrate, hydrate mantra because it was so blasted hot and remember how great of an experience that was. And yes, that was all one thought. Go me!

I'll be alright, though. I know this is temporary. I do have to say that when I was in Indiana with the puppeteers, I felt physically more well than I have in a very long time. My allergies hardly bothered me at all, my head didn't hurt, and my asthma was practically non-existent. It sort of made me half-consider moving there just for the health benefits. But then my brain took over and I went though the whole thought process again: What would I do for work and what about hubby? Would he be able to start his business up again there and be successful? And I'd really hate to drag the kids out of a community and a school-system they are familiar with. And what about Sandy-mom? I couldn't leave her here! She'd be all alone and that wouldn't be right. And where would we live? And then again, where would I work? And so what if my allergies are kind of terrible in Tennessee? That's why there's a wonderful thing called allergy medicine, right? Right?

Why does the cycle of my brain continually turn thoughts over and over and over?

I don't know. It's constant, though. Every minute of every single day and sometimes lots of minutes at night when I should be sleeping. Just this running commentary/inner monologue of stuff... Some people call it worry, and that could be the truth. I just don't know. Maybe it's anxiety? I do seem to worry a lot more than other people, but I just haven't been able to master the whole "I don't care" or "Let it go" thing other folks seem to have mastered. Well...not that they don't care, but seem to be far less concerned about EVERYTHING than I am.

I worry about how people perceive me, and then I start with: But who really cares how someone perceives you? I mean,  you're you, right? You're not them. You only need to worry about what you are doing and that you don't intentionally hurt anyone, right? I mean, you're basically a pretty good person so what are you worrying about? Perception is useless, isn't it? Though I guess perception and impressions are nearly one and the same.

And truthfully, it's probably the ADD I've had my whole life. I have learned to live with it and work around it and find things to do that benefit from my active and virtually directionless brain. So all these thoughts - all this stuff that's constantly racing around, pinging off the insides of my skull, screaming for my attention all the time - is just....me. Part of who I am. Whether you love me or hate me is irrelevant. Whether I drive you crazy or not is irrelevant. I cannot help who I am and you cannot fix me. It's taken me a long time to get to this conclusion. And yet...

Yes, I'm sure there is someone out there who CAN fix me with medications. And I'm not opposed to therapy, but have been unlucky in my search for a therapist who meets my needs. And then I also am not pleased with the cost of therapy for mental illness - because the ADD coupled with the anxiety and depression IS a mental illness but it IS NOT something to bash me for or be afraid of - so I just...don't. I don't go to therapy, though I probably should. I don't take medicines for it, though again, it might not hurt.

I was taking an antidepressant for a while, and I'm not really sure why I stopped except that I just never refilled the prescription. I was taking an anti-anxiety medicine for a while, and I know exactly why I stopped that. Oh - THAT'S a story for another post, though. It's a doozy. I had to get beyond it before I could even consider writing about it.

Yeah - you see this? Re-read this post! I'm all over the place today.

FOCUS, JEN! FOCUS! Be Peanut!


TTFN
JMS

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Holy cannoli! I did it!

IRRATIONAL FLOWERS, A Coloring Book

I'm certain this will fail. Why is it such a fun, exciting thing has me such a miserable wreck? I guess it's just scary to really put yourself out there. And I REALLY don't like failure. I mean, I know everyone fails, sometimes in Grand Fashion, but it makes me physically ill when I do.

So, now it's out there. This is a real thing. I'm thrilled and terrified at the same time. And they're only drawings, for crying out loud! Sheesh! You'd think I'd done something really cool like, written a novel or something.

Throw me a bone? Even if you hate it (and I know the image quality via electronic transfer to print is going to be a bit questionable) please pretend that you love it? Leave me happy feedback, not negative feedback. Because you're my friend and you love me and want me to succeed. And even if you don't want me to succeed, maybe you at least want me not to be sick, right?

TTFN
JMS

Friday, June 01, 2018

Response & Ability *or* Boy-Child & the Lenovo Laptop

I did a thing.

It's not like I've never done something like this before. I totally have.

It's a good thing, really. Although the current result of the thing is that I have a child who hates my guts. I guess I'd rather have him hate me for a little while than for him to grow up to be an irresponsible leech.

OK - I'm getting ahead of myself.

History: Years ago, when Boy-child was affectionately called "Kiddo" he broke his antique wooden bed frame, which had belonged to his grandmother, because he pitched a fit and destroyed it. When he said I needed to get him a new bed (remember, he was "Kiddo" then, so I'm thinking he might have been six years old) I said, "Oh no buddy...that's your job. You can sleep on a crooked bed until you can save the money to get a new bed frame."

GASP!
                                HORROR!
                                                                       
SCREAMING!
                                CRYING!

It was awful.

I explained to him him that he broke the bed. He was having a tantrum (during which, I did another unusual thing: I sat there quietly and let him scream) because Mommy was picking up the things which were completely covering his bedroom floor. He didn't take care of his stuff, didn't care enough about it to put it away somewhere, and when he expressed his displeasure in the form of screaming, crying, and having a breakdown, he broke his bed. HE broke his bed. Not me. Therefore, it was his responsibility to replace it.

If he broke someone else's toy while he was playing with it, I told him, I would expect him to replace it.

He wasn't happy with me, but again, I'd rather have him mad at me than to raise an ungrateful child who doesn't respect himself, others, or his things.

Fast Forward to this week: Last week of school. Now, in our school district (I can't say anything about other districts) they assign a device - a sweet little Lenovo laptop - to each child 5th grade and above. This is managed through the school. Each child has to essentially sign a contract saying they'll take care of it, make sure it doesn't get broken, and if it does get broken, it's a $50.00 fee. Period.

So, at the end of the year, they collect everyones' device, inspect it, and send a letter home with a picture of any damage found, requesting payment.

My almost high-schooler said, "I need $50 to pay for the laptop repairs."

I said, "Nope."

GASP!

HORROR!

(Less) Screaming.

(Little) Crying.

"WHAT? I need to pay for it!"

"Yes, you do," I respond.

"But school ends today!" says he.

"I know that," say I.

We follow this path down a rabbit hole. I finally explain to him - yet again - that the computer was his responsibility, not mine. That if he didn't have enough money, there is a list of chores on the board in the hallway and he could earn some money to pay for the repairs that way. I was not - repeat NOT - going to simply hand him $50.

I asked Boy-Child if anyone had EVER made him take responsibility for something he'd done before in his life. (Knowing the answer, of course.)  He said, "Yeah - when I broke the bed and you made me pay for it."

Uh huh.

"This is the same thing, bud," I tell him.

I was really hoping for a light-bulb of understanding to suddenly appear over his head, but no such luck.

I called Hubby. I explained the situation and said, "I really need you to back me up on this."

That was this morning. I don't know where Boy-Child is with this at the moment, but hopefully he's being proactive and finding chores to do which can earn him some money.

I am HAPPY to help him in this way. He's fourteen. He's old enough to earn his own money in a limited way. He's very proactive about earning money when he wants something, but when I want something, or there is a situation like this one with the slightly damaged computer that does not belong to any of us, he wants someone else to pay for it.

And I say, "Nope."

Does that make me a bad mother?

Nope.

Does it upset me that he's upset?

Yup.

Does that matter?

Nope.

I saw something the other day that resonated with me, and I'll share it here: Responsibility is made up or two words. Response and Ability. "Responsibility isn't something someone puts on  you. Responsibility isn't in your job description. Responsibility isn't a paper you sign. We all find ourselves looking at situations, and we all find ourselves with abilities. And what we have to ask is, given those abilities, what then will be my response to those abilities?"


I have the responsibility to raise my children to be decent humans. Responsible humans. Humans that care about themselves, others, and their things. And so no, I really do not feel badly that I am making Boy-Child pay for his own computer. Even though about 90% of the other students are dealing with the same thing. Even though all these computers are about 3 years old and have had daily use. Even though he was careful and it "just happened." I don't care about all that. Your excuses mean nothing to me.... Not really. And, while I absolutely feel for you, sweet boy of mine, you and only you, are responsible for paying for those damages.

TTFN
JMS

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

OPINION: "They"

I am going to apologize ahead of time only for the randomness of this post. I've seen so many instances recently of hate, hate crimes, or general disgust for both individuals and for groups. I've had it. I am very much a proponent for the "Why can't we all just get along?" Movement - and if there isn't a Movement, there should be. I don't believe there shouldn't be conflict. Conflict with intent to resolve a situation in a humane way is part of who we are. But conflict for the sake of conflict? Argument for the sake of argument? Not really. I don't believe one person is intrinsically right or intrinsically wrong, but I do believe each person has the right to be heard. To be seen. I also believe we need to be careful with our words, because Edward Bulwer-Lytton was right. Let's replace "Pen" with "Word"....?  I think spoken words are quite mighty.

If one uses the word “They” when referencing an entire group, one should be cautious. To say “They” and then follow it up with an assumption could be, at the very least, unkind, but more likely detrimental. For example, referring to all LGBTQ individuals as “Those people” or “They” is simply rude. Or, when discussing maybe a style of dress or a propensity toward extravagance for the same community, saying, “They all…” would be like saying all persons of color are bad (they’re not), or all cats have fur (they don’t) or that water is wet (which is another conversation for another time). More accurately, and certainly less hurtful, would be if you were to say, “They are just trying to be the best they can be.” Even further, you’d be spot on if you were to say, “They are trying to make a life for themselves, with all the rights and privileges thereof.” Do you want to be referred to as “They?” Again, I use this as an example. We vaguely refer to “They” in a tongue-in-cheek manner, such as The Bureau of They or The Ubiquitous They to mean those unknowns who have decreed things (ideas, rules, etc.) to be a certain way. "I don’t know, I didn’t make the rules, ‘They’ did.” But to use “They” specifically…well, that could get you into trouble unless what you're stating or claiming is proven fact. That is unless you don’t care about the feelings and rights of others. I know that lack of caring is definitely driving this society right now; we're all far too selfish to think of others, unless one is asking how another can help you or what they can give you.

I preach acceptance to my kids. Acceptance! Acceptance!  Acceptance! I let them know that I expect them to treat everyone well, even if someone is not their favorite person. I know every time I pull out my soap box, one of them says, "Oh, no. Here she goes again." Add in a little smirk and maybe some eye rolling. But here's the thing: I KNOW THEY LISTEN! I know, because I've heard them talk about it, seen them show it. I'm not just referring to the LGBTQ community - though of course that has been part of the conversations. I'm referring to ANY situation where someone (human or animal) is treated as less than he or she should be. I've been on the receiving end of that stick too many times to count and I know how it feels to either be lumped in with a group of people who don't entirely meet my personal standards of living (they're unkind, thoughtless, selfish, rude...), or they simply have a mean streak a mile wide. I'm sure there are many other reasons why one would feel a certain way.

And I know, I can hear you all cringing. "You should let your kids think for themselves! You should not push your opinions on them! You should let them cultivate their own feelings about something." But again I remind you I'm not preaching acceptance toward, and love of, one single community; I'm using these things as EXAMPLES for my children and I try very hard to put what I say into a real-life situation for them so it will be clear for them.

In my house, we do not treat people with disrespect. And when we do, we're called out on it. My kids are as aware of that as I am. And further, we ALL fail. There are days where tempers are short, bodies are hurting or feeling unwell, emotions are on the surface, nerves are frayed. Oh yes, we fail. But we KNOW when we fail and we can beg forgiveness when and if it's necessary AND MEAN IT.

Maybe I'm not making sense.

Bottom line for me is this: That Golden Rule thing? That's not just a religious creed. We ALL want to be treated well. So, if you would be hurt or offended by something said or done to you, or one of your kids, or maybe even your animals, then please, for the love of love, don't pay that forward.

TTFN
JMS