Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Kiss Goodbye

This year is coming to a close. I am not sad to see it go. It was progression from the year before, and I would be a fool to complain or not count my blessings. I stand on the ledge of 2011, and look ahead to what life has in store for me, a tremendous portion of my future is unknown. Yet, growth and maturity are allowing me to step forward in faith, and with confidence. I have learned not to look back so often. You cannot make effective progress with your eyes looking anywhere other than where you want to go. So, instead of looking back and risking veering off course, I will rely upon my learned experiences. I had a revelation- there is a difference between looking back to the past. And thinking back on the past. It sounds like a subtle difference.  Life is teaching me, there is a stark contrast. Looking back involves turning away from your present course and trying to rejoin something from a previous time period. Thinking back requires you to look inward, and draw from your own well of personal experiences.

So as I THINK back over 2011,  I reflect on it's lessons:
Renewed hope
Restored faith
Dreams realized
Pleasantly surprised
Love cultivator
Friendship motivator
Reminder of things past
Realization of hopes dashed
Clarity and direction
Dispenser of affection

And as I cross into 2012 I say;
Out with the old
In with the new
Some days will be sunny
Some undoubtedly blue
But with wide open arms I welcome you
*Kisses 2011 goodbye*



Monday, December 19, 2011

Fa la la la laaaa la la la la

I had an oppportunity to go Christmas caroling several nights ago. Now, I am no Celine Dione, but your girl can hold a tune. This is hands down one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas time. I don't hold fast to a lot of traditions because for me it is a religious observance. Truth be told I could do without most of them. To date I have not bought one gift. I only plan on buying two presents anyway. They are for my niece and nephew and it's only so I can be incorporated into THEIR holiday tradition of gift giving. That's  a totally different subject. The gist of which is, I prefer to do something for those who can't do anything in return for me during the holidays. When it comes to family, I appreciate time will spent and not a focus on material things.

I digress.... As I walked through the halls of a local nursing home, I had an opportunity to make genuine connections with people and it felt wonderful. Human interaction is a life necessity. It's just as important as food, or shelter. Yet in this digital age our literal interactions albeit convenient have also become optional in many cases. I notice that a large portion of our elderly, disabled, and institutionalized people are being left out.

I remember the look on one particular woman's face when we realized it was her birthday. We sang The Birthday Song to her. I watched her face light up, and silently prayed that a treasured loved one had taken the time out of their busy holiday schedule to come and acknowledge her. Truth be told, we didn't even sound all that great as we walked the halls singing and spreading cheer. But we WERE enjoyed.

I certainly don't stand on my soapbox and lecture or look down on anyone as I share this story. I think we could all take more time to look people in the face and smile and connect with them. We all rush sometimes and fail to interpret cues that someone may need a little extra encouragement or attention. I am simply feeling grateful right now that I had an opportunity to show love, and that it was well received.

I've heard the expression that altruism is actually rooted in selfishness. Some say that we do kind acts for others, not especially because of that person. We do kind acts for others because it makes US feel good. I think there is definitely some truth to that theory. I however, choose "to up the ante". From now on when doing kind acts for others, I will not do for them what I want to do. I will not do something kind for others, when it happens to be convenient for me. No, from this point forward I will put forth more effort in doing for others what it is that they actually need or want me to do, if it's within my power.

I don't know if I would actually call this a resolution. Giving and loving should be a lifestyle. But, I am hoping that 2012 will be more fulfilling due to this change. Here's to the New Year, and my resolve to consistently grow, and offer more to the world we share. May your New Year be happy and blessed! xoxoxo

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Ray of Hope

I am still shocked and saddened as details continue to emerge from various coaching scandals across the country. It seems like in recent years, there has been a sharp increase in reports. I wonder if it has always been a problem, or it's becoming more common. I don't know of anyone's child who was personally affected by sexual abuse from a coach. But, living in a fairly small city where school sports are one of the few recreational activities that children and their families have to look forward to, I have seen a lot of questionable behavior from sports management.

I recently, had a conversation with my budding athletes about the importance of sports being for fun at their age. They show great promise and I want them to set goals to be outstanding. But, anything could happen. Illness or injury could easily prevent them from playing. Aside from that, I have noticed a culture of coaches who are more concerned with their winning average than the individual player.

We have been following the story of a young man from the area who won national football accolades two years in a row. This young man attended the best school system in the county. By the end of his senior year, he had no scholarship due to the fact that his grade and test scores were so low. To my knowledge he did not got to college at all. Two years later, now that he is forgotten by all of his "fans", he has turned to a life of crime. He was being sought on home invasion and rape charges. Clearly the people he spent the most time with, were only concerned with his contribution to the team, and not his future. No one even cared enough to intervene to ensure his scholastic success.

 I am happy to have come across a coach who is still doing so for the love of children, and sport. I came across a situation recently where I was watching an intense soccer game. During the height of the competition,  one of the star forwards of the soccer team sprained his ankle. His adrenaline and desire to aid his team in victory, motivated him to attempt to stay in the game.  "I'm okay coach!" He kept saying. "I can play...please let me play!" The coach simply looked at his gate while he walked, and could tell that his player was not fine. Instead of letting his own competitive nature rule, the coach benched the player for the rest of the game. The coaches philosophy is that, the welfare of the child is more important than the victory.

I consider this example of leadership and responsible behavior a ray of hope in the midst of broken trust. There are some men and women out there that remember the lessons derived form sports, are bigger than what is happening on the field, court, rink, pool, etc... There are some coaches that remember that they have an opportunity to shape the minds and hearts of the next generation. They hope to inspire their players in their chosen sport, but also in life.


video

I still contend that we MUST be diligent in watching over our children. It is better to injure a coaches pride than to have your child be literally injured by a monster who is preying on defenseless victims. But, I am proud to put my children with a coach that cares more about them than the game. I am proud to endorse a someone that rises to the ideological standard that we expect when we reminisce back to a coach that had an affect on us. For these men and women are a silver lining on the black cloud of coaching scandals and disappointments. These individuals, provide hope, that what we want, and expect for our children is possible. At this moment, I am proud to call that coach, my husband.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Leave Christmas to the Christians

I have been biting my tongue about this long enough. It's time for me to go in on the subject of Christmas. It's not X-mas, it's not a non offensive "Happy Holiday". It's not a secular love fest in which all the self righteous people of the world can take an opportunity to make themselves feel good about the fact that they did something nice for someone else. It is a religious observance that commemorates what Christians believe to be the the greatest gift to mankind. God giving his Son to be our savior.

I know that the tide has changed and it's not necessarily popular to be Christian anymore. But, a lot of us Jesus freaks are getting a bad rap. (thanks a lot Fox News) I can't speak for all Christians but we are not all closed minded ignorant seperatists that sit in judgement of anyone who is not of like faith. Personally, I am not running down anyone trying to shame, judge, or disrespect them because they don't agree with my belief system. I would say my approach is much more like that of Jesus' "whosoever will {wants to} let him come." "Whosoever has an ear {a desire to listen} let him hear." In fact, Jesus was much more concerned about the religious hypocrites of like faith, than those who rejected or held opposing beliefs.

That being said. Christmas is an observance that should have religious meaning. Search my house for one Santa Clause, you won't find it. Because, he has nothing to do with Christmas. I am not anti-Santa. I understand how many try to incorporate the "spirit of giving" into Christmas. But, quite frankly that spirit is, and should be a lifestyle. If I see someone with a need, do you think I am going to wait until December 25th to meet that need? I am not trying to get Christmas credit for doing what I can, to help someone who didn't have food, a coat, or some shoes. And I also don't really see the point of piling material goods upon someone who already has more "stuff" than they know what to do with. There is no significance to me giving them one more thing. What I will try to give someone in that position is love. Genuine heart felt love. I think they are more likely to need that. We all do.

 I hope that others enjoy the holidays that have religious or personal significance to them. I even want to know more about them. I wish them happiness during their observance. But you won't catch me bogarting in on their holiday and trying to redefine how it should be done.

In a time where there is a consensus not to judge others, which subsequently a lot of Evangelicals take flack for, since some outspoken Christians try to force their beliefs on others, I think it's pretty ironic that secular people have tried to take our holiday over and align it with their version of the "politically correct non-offensive" way to celebrate it. To them I unashamedly proclaim that Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Go grab yourself a Festivus pole, and shine that baby up if your looking for a mundane reason to party, shop, and take time off from work. Leave Christmas to the Christians!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Motherhood

I had no revelation of unconditional love before your conception
I could not contemplate the power of life until I heard your heartbeat
I didn't understand pure joy until I saw your smile
The depths of emptiness eluded me, until I walked away leaving you in another's care
Your laughter is more beautiful than a song skillfully sung
Your eyes are more wonderful than a galaxy unexplored
Your touch is duplicitous for it gives and takes at the same time
Full of pleasure, pain, fear, and delight....... motherhood

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What I Learned this Thanksgiving

I decided against a Thanksgiving Day post, not just for the sake of going against the grain. But, I felt that anyone reading Thanksgiving Day salutations might lose what I had to say in the minutia of half baked tributes. That sounds harsh, but it's the truth. I certainly won't try to set myself aside as a bleeding heart who has meaningful things to say that will inspire others. In fact, the last couple of days have taught me that I probably reside on the other side of the fence.

I had a fantastic time with friends and loved one's over the past couple of days. However, during that time I noticed early on, there is a deficit in my connection even with some of my closest friends and family. I have spent much time pondering over this perplexed. I have a pretty small circle of people. Most of them have been in my life always, or at least as long as I can remember. As I sat down at various times to catch up on life's news, both good and bad. I remember thinking to myself how open and honest my people are with me not only about their business, but also about their feelings and emotions. I thought to myself, "Wow I don't know if I would have been comfortable revealing that."  At that moment I had a revelation. I have closed myself off more than I should have.

We're not talking about co-workers and acquaintances here. If I can't be my true and authentic self with my closest relations, then I have no real life. What a tragic circumstance not to reveal all of yourself to those who love you unconditionally anyway. I think my reasons are rooted in pride as well as pain. Certain choices that I have made in life, have been met in criticism, and it's not the best feeling to be told you made a bad choice. I think I accept criticism a little bit better now. But I suppose, I would still prefer no criticism at all. That's just an issue that will require some personal growth. I already know better than to tolerate destructive criticism. But, constructive criticism is meant to build a person up. I'm just going to have to deal with my pride.

I am going to do better. I walk away from my Thanksgiving weekend understanding that there is a difference between revealing information, versus revealing my heart about said matters. Living my life with close and fulfilling bonds can only happen if I let my guard down with those that are in my inner circle.