4/29/2011

I Expect More

The other day, my Sidekick did something that made me upset. This happens from time to time, I mean, I'm a girl and he's a boy. So, I did what I normally do when this happens: I tell him what he did that made me upset and why. Writing it like this makes me sound all level headed about it and really calm, but don't let me fool you, I wasn't completely level headed or amazingly calm, so when he said, "I don't think I acted differently than any normal husband would", I quickly lost whatever cool I was maintaining. At that point, I was lashed out at him through my tears, "Of course it was the normal response of a husband, but I expect more."

And although I was a bit worked up, the truth is, I do expect more. From everyone. In this day where selfish, lazy people are the trend, we should all expect more. We should expect honesty and fairness, trust and kindness. We should expect for those around us to follow through with their commitments. We should expect our friends and loved ones to care more about those around them than they do of themselves. We should expect for people to be accepting and welcoming. We should expect that people think enough of themselves to live an honorable life. Honor in dress, speech and actions.

There will be times that we fall short and those around us who love us most need to uplift and encourage us to be all that we can be. Sometimes expecting more is being patient while others realize that they can be more. Sometimes expecting more is accepting them for who they are. But, to some degree, if we aren't constantly stretching for a bar that is above us, our muscles will become weak and tired and the bar will continue to be lowered. So, set it high and stretch!

Yes, I do expect more, and when I told him that, I got more. And I hope people expect more of me too.

Whaddya think?

4/20/2011

Write it down...

A few days ago, I was cleaning out behind the hedges in front of my house, and I uncovered a bird's nest. It was nestled on the ground up against the house and it held four tiny, candy-like eggs. It was perfect. And beautiful. I was so careful when I showed the boys and made sure they knew not to get near it or touch it. I had the perfect vantage point from my stairwell window so each time I went up or down the stairs, I could check on my little bird's nest. I was so excited to watch the eggs hatch and the babies grow and learn to fly. I was thrilled when I saw the mother bird return that night to her nest.

However, a couple of mornings later, as I was coming downstairs to start my day, I peeked out the stairwell window and noticed something was awry with my little nest. I ran outside and to my horror saw that overnight, something had found the nest and overturned it, spilling the eggs across the ground. The mama bird lay there, lifeless, next to her shattered dream of tomorrow.

As my mother neared the end of her life, she hurried to organize and complete the things she felt were the most important to leave for us. She busied her time updating the family scrapbooks and making baby blankets for the grandchildren she would never get to hold. She spent time with us, making memories and enjoying the things that we loved most. She ensured that our childhood keepsakes; our report cards, baby books and baptismal clothing, were protected and preserved. But, just like my mama bird, her time ran out sooner than she expected, and her bucket list was left incomplete. Among the items left undone, were the letters that she meant to write to me and my brothers. I long for the letter that was never written. Although I cherish being able to wrap my baby up in the blanket that was made with love, just for them, long before they were imagined, and I guard the family photo albums that were carefully assembled and labeled in her beautiful pen, I mourn for the words that were meant only for me. The hopes and dreams that she had for me and the pride she felt as I accomplished milestones in my life. And although I know that just like my mama bird, she had every intention on seeing it accomplished, I find myself angry that the task was never completed.

So, today, when I sent my kids off to school, I told them I loved them and that they are amazing. And tonight after they are in bed, I will write in my journal and record the hopes, dreams and love I have for those who mean the most to me. Because although it is still vitally important to say it out loud and say it frequently, as time goes by, sometimes we forget the feelings of yesterday and the lessons learned. All we have left are the records that we keep, so in addition to saying it out loud, we need to take a moment here and there, and write it down. People move on to the next life, bird's nests get destroyed, but records keep forever. And today, I wish I knew the dreams of yesterday.


Whaddya think?

4/08/2011

The Price of a Free Society

It seems that my comment of Planned Parenthood in my last post has sparked some debate.

As much as I would love it if every woman could get free mammograms, prenatal care, birth control, etc, I'm just not sure that it is the government's responsibility and frankly, they just can't afford it anymore. I remember being in college, we were poor, and my health insurance did not cover my birth control. The $34 a month just about killed us, but it came out of our monthly budget. I remember my prescription being changed to a different brand and when I saw it cost $38 a month, I almost cried. The $4 a month made that much of a difference. But, we paid it, because that was the cost of living and we had a responsibility.

I think that somewhere along the way, these government programs that were made to "help" us, have enabled the American people and encouraged them to feel entitled. Entitled to free health care. Entitled to free cell phones and Internet. Entitled to free little league. Maybe little league and health care aren't on the same page, but where is the line? If everyone expected a free life, there would be no one left to pay for it.

I struggle with this daily with my own kids. They live in a world where everyone has everything and they think they deserve it too. I work hard to teach them patience and gratitude, hard work and responsibility. I am responsible for teaching this to them. We are all responsible for our own actions and the consequences that follow.

At some point, we need to expect America to be responsible for themselves, and then maybe the rest of America would be more willing to help those who were truly in need.

Whaddya think?

4/07/2011

Tomorrow, When the Government Shuts Down...

President Obama and our Congressional Leaders have been bantering back and forth for quite some time now about how to effectively and efficiently cut our national budget. The deadline for decision making is fast approaching; if they have not come to an agreement by tomorrow night, our nation will experience a partial government shutdown. This means that all non-essential government spending will cease. So, you will still have emergency personnel, including national security personnel, and air traffic control and earthquake monitoring, but non-contracted national parks and museums would close. You will get your mail, but government offices will close and the employees will go on furlough. Social Security checks will be paid, but many government websites will darken. If you have yet to receive your tax refund, buckle down, it could take a while. The military is in the middle of their 2 week pay cycle, so they will get paid for the first week, but there could be a significant pay for the second week (and every week thereafter if the lawmakers don't get their butts in gear).

Bravo to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., who has promised to fore go his salary of $174,000 a year if the government does shut down. And even bigger cheers to him for writing letters to his his fellow senators encouraging them to do the same.

Did you catch that?

Yes- my brother in law who is stationed in Japan right now, amidst tsunamis, earthquakes and nuclear scares will not get his full pay even though he has to stay and do his job, but the lawmakers who are NOT getting their job done, will get their full pay. Just saying...


So, what's the hang up?
It is things like how much to cut. One party wants to cut one amount and the other party says, "oh my, but that's too much". They can't decide on whether or not to make a permanent budget adjustment or just a temporary one. They are fighting over whether to cut programs like Planned Parenthood (which really gets my goat to begin with- I am fundamentally opposed to abortion, so why do I have to pay for yours because you couldn't be responsible??? Keep your pants on.) And they can't decide how much to cut of from other programs like health care and social security.

Really, they are fighting and pouting too much and not looking at the better good of the whole enough. And that is going to fall back on us.

On one hand, I say great, fight it out, I think there is way too much government spending, so don't back down! On the other hand, I think enough is enough. So, I propose to cut the pay of the Budget Makers. They should be forced to work without pay (maybe we should send their paychecks to active military or police officers...) Because maybe then, if they are faced with no longer being paid, they'll grow up and get it done.

You want to read more? Here's where I got my info:

Federal Workers Brace for the Worst

Sticking Points

What a Shutdown Means

Shutdown Talks

Whaddya think?