Uncategorized

choose Love

Choose Love

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When you can look into a computer screen and type words of hate, you are a part of the problem.

When you can typecast an entire population by the acts of a few, you are a part of the problem.

When you can refuse to look at your own history, or that of your ancestors, you are a part of the problem.

When you can justify the genocide of a race, you are a part of the problem.

When you can only post news of corrupt officers, ignoring the many just and good, then you are a part of the problem.

When you can call a woman a murderer without attempt to understand a situation, you are a part of the problem.

When you can label another a sinner, with no regard to its underlying message of evil and unworthy, you are a part of the problem.

When you can tell another they are wrong in their beliefs and you are right, with zero acknowledgement that if there is one God and He loves all His children and maybe, just maybe, he gave them what they needed to believe, then you are a part of the problem.

When you can turn away from a story of a family risking everything, including each other, to flee from a place of torture and unmeasurable lows, to slam the door because you have enough of your own issues, you are a part of the problem.

When you can see love that is not your love, that may not subscribe to the same ideas you do and you can say it is less than, it is wrong, it is abnormal, you are a part of the problem.

When you stop listening and only hear, when your opinion is set before a person speaks, you are a part of the problem.

When you can see life in black and white and ignore the vibrant, loud, neon and sometimes dull colors and refuse to acknowledge that the blends can create a messy, complicated portrait, you are a part of the problem.

When you stay silent because it does not affect you, when you chose to not get involved, you are a part of the problem.

When you ignore the need for intervention and assume someone else will act, allowing your focus to be elsewhere on more pleasant sights, you are a part of the problem.

When you chose to not give to help fund programs to change the opportunities for the underprivileged, you are a part of the problem.

I can no longer be a part of the problem.

“Faith, Hope and Love – and the greatest of these is LOVE.”

“Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered; it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers. Love never fails.”

LOVE. Love is NOT a feeling. LOVE is an ACTION.

When did our country, we did WE, stop following this? It seems there is a score – a big score – being kept. There is a major US VERSUS THEM issue. There is a damning amount of unkind words, actions. There is no seeking of truth, only of justification for why a person is right.

A dear friend wrote me, “I applaud you and your family for embracing people as they are and not by their skin color.”

This is NOT applaudable. This is being HUMAN. We have come to a point where my not judging you has become applaudable…where my NOT judging you based on the color of flesh, my not judging you if you prefer to date a man or a woman, my not judging you based on your profession of being a police officer or otherwise, my not judging you if you have taken Plan B, birth control or had an abortion, my not judging you if you are Jewish or Christian, Hindu or Muslim, atheist or agnostic, or otherwise… that my not judging you it is applaudable.

NO – IT IS BEING A HUMAN. IT IS LOVING YOU. IT IS SEEKING TRUTH.

It is okay if you do not think like me, but I will not DISHONOR you for not. I am sure if you are still reading, you either agree or are angry at me… “what about the corrupt, what about ISIL, what about our jobs, what about those with no voice, what about…”

And the greatest of these is LOVE.

Do not confuse my words; not judging is not the same as not caring.

I CARE that my kids have friends who will be looked at with judgement because of their ancestry.

I CARE that our friends who wear a badge have to worry they are targeted because they wanted to keep people safe.

I CARE that my friends have to work three times as hard because their skin wasn’t the right shade.

I CARE that despite she is brilliant, my daughter may never reach as high and someone will tell her it is okay because others have it worse.

I CARE about my friends who have had to make heart wrenching, life altering choices that left scars forever to be ripped open with every careless, thoughtless post painted with words of murderer.

I CARE that my Christian friends have to bear the brands the extremist place on them. I CARE my Jewish/Hindu friends have to feel ostracized when people continuously post that this is a Christian country. I CARE when my Native America friends have to be reminded, yet again, that no, it wasn’t such until so much brutality happened and they are forgotten, again.

I CARE when my friends who came here for a better life have to listen to others say they do not belong.

I CARE when my friends who love a person of the same gender have to worry that if the wrong person observes them, they will be beat or killed.

So, so, so many issues….so, so, so many judgments…but stop – are you LOVING that person. Are WE loving that person or each other… or are we judging. Are we seeking truth and understanding or are we seeking to prove our point?

A long time ago someone said to me, “you cannot be logical with the illogical…you cannot rationalize the insane.”

The majority of those who are receiving this are neither insane or illogical. They are your friends, it is you, it is me, it is our neighbor, it is our family….and this lack of grace, lack of truth seeking, lack of understanding, lack of empathy, lack of putting aside deep beliefs to truly listen, lack of care, lack of LOVE, this allows seeds of hate.

Which seeds will you chose to spread?

We have come to a time when a single thought can cause a fight and that fight can lead to hate… where is the Love?

We love our family; we love our friends; we love….?

Do we love those unlike us? Do we seek to understand what we don’t? This is so layered, we must start somewhere and expect it will leave us breathless.

Take the soldier who must shoot the child who carries a bomb because they have been taught that the recipient is pure evil. All forever scarred. Forever hate. New seeds are spread. Where do we start? How do we begin to repair what we did not start centuries before? Each in their own mind had just cause – but do we ignore all sides and pick one or do we seek to understand truth to change the future?

Take the child who has been underprivileged since birth, beat up, reprimanded for making a go at education and bettering herself to be raped, pregnant and now condemned for a life as a 14 year old mother with no money or family to help and no outside resources because “she should be able to figure it out” and “no one gave me a handout” and she has no reproductive choices because we took them away. Now, she is left scuffed at and judged when she uses WIC in the store. Or she did have a choice and went on to become an active member of society but bears a scarlet letter. What seeds are spread in both?

Take the beautiful child born to a white mother and Mexican father who is showing promise in sports and education. Because of recent news, she is now being openly told to go back to her country and her father, who works until midnight for his family (legally), is branded as a rapist and a druggie. The child is young and goes home sobbing to a mother who has to try to explain. OR this never happens but the mother is reading the comments on Facebook and in social media and fears for her child. What seeds are spread in both?

Is there pure evil? I believe, yes, there are people who are just awful and have given in to being hateful, but mostly there are good people who had to make terribly difficult, hearth wrenching choices. There are good cops; there are bad. There are good cops who had to react and will forever regret. There are good people who get caught up in crowd-mentality. There are people who have been fed an idea so long they never considered another. But how we react now matters; how we react helps to determine what seeds are sown.

Where is our social obligation? Where is our moral obligation? Are we really loving each other as a VERB….do we Love them when we brand them?

It is difficult to Love another when your own ego is involved. It becomes harder to Love when the person you are trying to Love demonstrates hate or judgement. How do you open your heart when the person in front of you is holding a pitchfork.

I’m sorry….
I’m sorry to every person who has or has children who will be treated poorly due to their skin. Your soul and mine have no color and I am sorry that people seem to feel that if it did, it would matter.

I’m sorry to every person who has had to carry the unbearable weight of a secret of who they love, terrified truth would bring retaliation and hatred.

I am sorry to every person who entered an occupation with the most honest and commendable intents only to be targeted for attempting to uphold safety.

I am sorry to every person who has to read keyboard crusaders’ comments and has been led to spend a night alone crying against a bathroom door.

We must change – all of us.

I am choosing Love.

Parenting

Sensory Support

At some point in parenting, you may reach the “I have no idea what I am doing” stage… I did.

sensory

Energy Meets School

Kiddo number two has made this year quite the google search and Amazon picked up on it and suggested a set of books (picture at the bottom of the post).

Putting off the drive to work, I opened them up today and found myself engrossed. ”Wow, okay – maybe not everything lines up but this is pretty darn close.”  This thought was followed by, “Dang, when he reads these, he is going to feel not so alone.” 

This page caused pause:

img_34011.jpg

“without any reminders”
“I’m a MOVER.”

Sensory Evaluation

If you have a “mover,” I feel you.  If I could count on one hand the number of times I have been told, “he is a boy – they move,” I would be lucky… but I can’t.  We are blessed with a teacher who listened to us and substantiated our concerns.  If you think something else is going on, get the OT at the school involved – have them evaluate your child.  When we got his scores from the sensory evaluation back, it was clear he deviated from the norm.

Looking back on his life, the times he started to get wild, there is typically an outside source firing his brain up. We walk into an art exhibition with drawings hanging from every angle of the rooms and a sea of kids (and noise) moving around and boom – our child now appears to have drank a Red Bull before walking in.  When his sister steps on a squeaky toy to be funny, it is as if he cannot hear us talking and any prevoius concentration is now gone.

This is NOT defiance

From a novice leveled observation, this seems to be defiance. His angel of a teacher said a few phrases allowing us to recognize this was not a case of a spoiled child.  The main two happened right before winter break. “He is unable to control this by wanting to” and he has more energy than any child she has had in fifteen years.

For those simple two phrases, she will never know the extent of my gratitude.  Those words were what we needed to search outside of typical discipline and parenting methods.  Although I am not still 100% convinced this is purely sensory (it may be – I am just not there, yet), this has started us on a new path.

Find a Village

After years of undeniably going about parenting him the “wrong way,” a wave of guilt came. Some of how I was attempting to show him the proper ways of behaving were more than likely leaving him beyond frustrated because his brain simply wasn’t wired in the way I was attempting him to work.

There have been times I have told him, “Even when you have hard days, you are still a good kid,” and in those times he has been near tears listening to me. To think I probably caused some of those feelings sucks. You can tell me to slam dunk a basketball 1,000,000,000 times and I can’t.  This is what I did to him when I told him to calm, relax,  stop, breathe, quit, etc and it still didn’t mean he could. How could he when when I was keeping him in the same environment that was causing his brain to fire off the “move around at lightening speed” messages.

Luckily, a handful of friends, family and his teacher and principal have been our village. Find your village.  Let them tell you that you are doing your best and that is what your child needs.  Listen when they tell you that your child is going to be okay because you are trying to find what he needs.  Believe them – you need this support. 

None of us know if we are doing it right and if our child will actually be “okay,” but we are trying. You are going to need to have some confidence behind you to ride this out. It is quite exhausting. Grow with your child and know you are both learning.  When something doesn’t work, leave it. Just like you wouldn’t berate your kid when they mess up but keep trying, don’t do it to yourself.  Last I checked, I wasn’t given any information on this in a well-baby checkup.

Ignore the Haters

Some friends have told us us our son is just smart and manipulating us. It sucks to hear that. Try your best to recognize they simply do not understand. Our son didn’t talk until after three and then school became a bit of a challenge. There were signs something else was going on but because we were quiet about the struggles, people didn’t know.  So when these words came out, it was obviously hard to ignore them.

People are going to judge your parenting. They will judge you if you don’t send them in with a raincoat or if their hair looks like it wasn’t brushed. They will judge you if you have non-gmo food in their lunch or if you bring in McD’s for a visit. They will judge you if you allow them to cut their hair how they want or if you pick out their clothes for them in the morning.

Do what is best for your family and ignore the rest.  As I mentioned early, find people who support your decisions, who aren’t afraid to give you advice (even unsolicited) and you are open to listening because you know they are truly trying to understand. The rest, let it go. Haters gonna hate.

books

READ and Let the Books Heal

Keep trying to find new information; read; share; be open to suggestions!  They may not be spot on but perhaps in them one thing will help.  Living With Intesity was a God-send for us.  Every single page felt like it was had studied our son.  The books in the picture above describes how he must feel and suggest tools to try to implement.

Our friends have sent us pictures of suggestions/books and tagged us in items that made them think of our son.  Some of the ideas have helped and some have not. When we started being more vocal, people started to have ideas. This is community at its very best.

Ignorance is NOT bliss in this case – it is annoyance and frustration.  Education here definitely takes the weight off and allows you to search for a new outlet.  I will continue to post things that work and don’t for us but full disclosure – I am not a doctor.  Just a mom trying to figure it out also.

Cooking, Uncategorized

Unicorn Drink, remix

I am not judging you if you went to Starbucks and quickly snagged the Unicorn drink. Mad props to them for an awesome marketing idea.  That said, sugar and my child do not exactly blend well (see what I did there.. frap.. blend…).

A few inspiring posts later from some health-coach friends and here is the result!

unicorn drink

This was super easy, as are most smoothies, because you literally just throw things in a blender and go.

Tips:

Add the frozen fruit on top – if you put it all in the bottom your blender will get jammed up (this was a live and learn thing – it had been awhile since I made a smoothie).

blender

If you add the sprinkles to a small amount of yogurt and then let it warm up, it will be drippy.  If you want it to hold a bit firmer, stir it right before you use it (think how ice cream would melt).  I “painted” mine right after stirring them together.

sprinkles

Definitely call it “the Unicorn Drink” when you give it to kids.  This is half the magic.  Wrap them up and make them feel like this is a complete treat.  Both of my kids were freezing today so I put them in the bathtub with this drink.

One full glass later, my son was asking for another and wanted to have the “Unicorn Drink” in his lunch this week.  This is kind of a miracle because my son doesn’t love to eat and clearly, the drink was as tall as his head.

jace unicorn drink

This was a win for our family – two kids with very different tastes (none of which include spinach), sprinkles, asking for more, easy bath time and nutrition for a snack.  Yes, yes, yes.

Those Starbucks marketing gurus – thank you for the inspiration.  If my kids didn’t go absolutely bonkers on sugar, we may never have found this new family favorite!

Feel free to post your versions of this drink in the comments below.

Be You

To Retouch or Not to Retouch

Truth be known – I am terrible at makeup and hair.

Why?

Years of being in aquatics as a hobby, sport and then profession has left me with a personality flaw trait of go-go-go-go-go. The time it takes me to do my hair/makeup is time I could be doing something else.  Having a husband whom is my opposite in most everything in life, it did not take him long to realize that boredom causes me more anxiety than just moving at a tornado’s pace.

So – take that very persona and add to it a photo shot for a mom’s blog and you probably can guess where I was left…

If you guessed in Kohl’s, posting on Facebook every outfit I tried on to ensure it actually matched and was a “neutral with a pop of color” (what does that mean?) and trying to figure out what a statement piece was (a bold necklace that stands out) and attempting to understand that booties no longer mean the items we place on the feet of newborns (they are ankle boots)… then you are right..and you are also an amazing guesser… and I may be worried you are stalking me.

 

After many fails, calls for help and a text to my husband who responded with disbelief I was actually shopping, I found the outfit and now just had to show up and someone else will fix me  style my hair/do my makeup appropriately for a pic.

Change of plans… the stylists are not coming. 

Cue slight panic and the “noooooooooo” that escaped from my mouth.  I had to DO MY OWN HAIR AND MAKEUP for a PHOTO SHOOT that would be POSTED ONLINE!

Hence….

retouch

 

Oh what an interesting predicament to be in since I titled my blog “Be Imperfection” because of moments just like this.

Being my complexion is slightly darker than a white bed sheet, outdoor pics wash out any chance of dimension in my face. Despite the effort I made at bronzer (that looked like I played in dirt) and eye-shadow (tried to make that into eye liner since I never seem to remember where my makeup went…maybe because I use it once every three months), I still ended up looked a bit muted in the pictures.  The photographer did a wonderful job, but it is just me and my lack of, um, girlie-ness.

So when I saw the pictures, I thought, “let’s see what this retouching thing is all about” and so I played.  I added highlights, whitened my eyes and teeth, added mascara and eyeliner, eyebrow color, blush, a touch of bronzer, blemish and wrinkle reducer… walaa.  Results below.

 

What I learned from this:

EASIER TO PLAY WITH HAIR COLOR

Seriously though – the red kinda looks awesome and I probably would not have jumped to try that shade… but I may now.  That saved significantly more money than coloring it and not liking the results.

BLUSH PROBABLY WILL HELP WITH OUTDOOR PICS

The added blush gave back dimension to my face, which lacks in almost every outdoor picture I have ever taken.  To achieve this effect in real life, I am afraid I would need to dump the entire container on me. Since I am not so much looking to resemble a clown, picture editing will need to be the way I achieve this result.

Let’s be honest now – seeing how for a few decades I haven’t used it regularly yet, I doubt this will change my outdoor (non)makeup wearing habits.

CHANGING YOUR IMAGE IS ADDICTING

When I did one thing, another came and then another came and another.  By all means, do what makes you happy but for me personally, I do not need to constantly pick apart my image to see what I can change next. That road was so wonderfully known as my twenties.

Although it was fun to achieve movie star whiteness for my eyes/teeth, watch my wrinkles could just disappear like magic, and see how vibrant my eyes could shine, in the end, I needed to look back at the message I was sending if I selected the retouched image.  What do I believe in; what do I want my daughter to think is truth?

Because I want her to think she is enough just how she is, although I may have preferred the retouched picture, it wasn’t real to me.  I may have looked that way in person but in the snapped picture, this is what it was – eyes slightly red from allergies, wrinkles from a life of stories and makeup that reflected my non-stop lifestyle.

PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY NOT AS VIBRANT AS THE MAGAZINES

It was beyond easy to quickly dress myself up with zero knowledge of what I was doing and no fashion sense to direct me.  If I were an editor or a person skilled in photoshop, I probably could have made myself flawless with a nip and tuck and stretch.

People are NOT flawless.  We are force-fed images everyday that reflect perfection.  We see social media families of nothing but smiles and laughs, constant selfies – many of which have been through the SnapChat filters. That isn’t real life.

With a few clicks, I had a captivating glow in comparison to the original.  If I wanted, this picture could easily be used to attribute the change to a product. Marketing is a powerful tool to manipulate you to believe you NEED to change.  It takes a few clicks to convince you that you are not enough because you do not glow like the picture.

Neither do I… and it is me!

FINALLY…WHO THE HELL CARES

Today is Earth Day.  Today scientists all over the planet said “I am marching for Science.  For Truth. For the Earth.”  Tomorrow will be something else…. find a cause that will help the world around you. Focus on that.

In the end, your image may be what people see but it is NOT who you are.  Your friends do not care if you are the image on the left or the right… and if they do and that is your thing to bond over; you have found your crew.  As I said, to each your own, but be careful with the way these ideas are being presented.  As a person who long-ago attempted to reach an unreachable standard, photoshopped images and those that focus purely on the outside can be damning to people who attach to this as a measurable goal.

For me, I find it inspiring to be real… WITH flaws and imperfections. I am teaching my child makeup doesn’t make you beautiful – it makes you colorful.  I am teaching my son what matters most is the person inside and how they treat others. I am teaching myself I have to live these things in my choices and not just my words.

It was tempting, very tempting, to upload the more vibrant picture but to do so went against what I stand for.  So as I chose the non-retouched one, I recognized I was saying, “this is me in this moment and I am enough.  My words and actions speak for my spirit. I must live my truth

Be you – whatever form that brings; even washed out from the sun.