Thursday, March 31, 2011

iHasta Mañana!

My best thoughts come in the morning.  I find that odd since I consider myself a night owl.  Getting out of bed is such an ordeal if it is before 8:00 a.m., yet if I am mysteriously up at 3:00 a.m. I am raring to go.  I consider that night time because it is dark, but technically it is AM, so maybe I am a morning person????
Perhaps it is not really the time that matters, but more the atmosphere.  Whether it is 3:00 a.m. or 11:00 p.m. it is most likely quiet.  No one is bothering you and it is such a peaceful time.  As a mom, you cherish each and every quiet moment you get as you do not get much alone time!
My head is a whirlwind of ideas that I must get organized.  This is probably why I adore writing so much.  It puts the little sticky notes in my brain in neat little folders that I can file.  I am on autopilot in the morning, so perhaps that is why my thoughts flow so easy.  Nothing has tainted my words with their negativity and no stress has touched my soul.
Ahhhh.  Don’t tell anyone, but my favorite time of day is when you are up right before the sun rises and you get to see the world waking up.  I do not get to see that often, I am usually too tired, but when I do it is a refreshing sight. 
Let us toast to the sun which rises every day to greet us.  Sigh.  I am off to pollute my brain with coffee and stress.  iHasta mañana!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Child Abuse Prevention Month

“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.”
Pablo Casals (Spanish cellist)
Does that not speak to your heart?  This completely sums up the way I feel about children.  While all kids have a lot of the same mannerisms that make them endearing to me, they are all so extremely unique.  Each child goes to the beat of his own drummer; once you find the beat it’s like seeing the world through A different pair of eyes.  Why anyone would want to kill that light in a child’s eyes is beyond me.
Watch a child for a couple of minutes and you will see the enthusiasm they have for life.  Their absolute thirst for knowledge, they never stop!  They are so excited to learn and to pass along that one little tidbit.  A 1st grader asked me if I knew what a bargain was, because if I didn’t, he sure could tell me! 
Have you ever been around a toddler?  I wish I had 1/3 of their energy!  Imagine the amount of work you could get done with their liveliness.  As tiring as those buggers are, they are beyond cute!  Who else would laugh at the word pantalones for days on end? 
I look at my two elementary school offspring and how incredibly different they are, even though they are both brought up the same way.  The experiences they have shape them into the children they are today.  I have a little perfectionist who stresses at the thought of B on her report card and a more care-free child who is more concerned with the laughter in life.
After all the amusement with the various children in my life, it is very distressing to see the affect of abuse in children.  There wasn’t a news report that brought this post on or a newspaper article, it just hurts to see the light in a child’s eyes extinguished.  Just because you don’t hear about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.  Check out the troubling statistics below:
  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
  • Almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse
There are many more statistics regarding the types of abuse and their consequences, including the correlation between child abuse and criminal behavior and substance abuse.  While they are all discouraging, the most heart wrenching things to read are the words of the abused children.  Take a moment to read them here. 
There are many ways to help keep the light alive in a child.  You could be an advocate for children’s rights, whether as a career or a volunteer.  Tell a friend to get involved.  Share your story.  Nothing gives more hope than hearing about someone overcoming child abuse.  Be an inspiration.  Give monetarily to a program that helps families and children.  Volunteer at a site that provides assistance.  Become a foster parent and/or adopt a child that is in need of a loving home.  Above all else, if you suspect ANY child abuse report it immediately.
As you can see, there are always ways to make a difference.  Even the smallest thing can change a whole perspective.  The most important thing to remember is that children mimic adult actions and the best way to change the future is to do what Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
For more information on what you can do to help, visit the links below.  Look out for National Child Abuse Prevention Month on April 6th and pass it along.  If you are in need of help, please don’t hesitate to call 1-800-4-A-CHILD or use any of your local resources.

To report child abuse in any state: Abuse Reporting or 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

To become a foster parent in Harrisburg, PA, read the job description at Northwestern Human Services: Employment Opportunities1 and contact Tesia Emerson at 717.236.7357 x119.

To become a foster parent in the U.S. or adopt: How Do I Become A Foster Parent? | AdoptUsKids

Other resources:
For Children PA Department of Public Welfare
For Families PA Department of Public Welfare

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dr. Seuss

As a fan of the written language, I am ashamed to not have posted something yesterday.  As exciting as children’s books are to me, I am almost embarrassed to not have mentioned Theodor Geisel’s birthday.  Almost.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”  How can you not celebrate the man who wrote that?  March 2, 1904 was the day Theodor Geisel was born.  We know him better as Dr. Seuss.  His books are so full of silliness and insight; they are all fun reads with a message.
The celebration of his life was the big reason I did not write anything.  I was too busy being silly with my kids.  We read Dr. Seuss books and made up silly rhymes of our own.  We even went to the bookstore and got new books to read, in honor of Read Across America, the program celebrated on his birthday.  And while I can’t write all the words in his 44 children’s books, I can tell you 10 of my favorite Seussisms, aside from the one above, that speak the most to me, and the books they are from:

1.   “It’s awfully awfully awful when you can’t make up your mind!” --Hunches in Bunches.  I am terrible with making up my mind.  My husband cannot stand it when we go to a drive-thru and I do not know what I want.  “Their menu hasn’t changed – pick something!”  This is a great book if you need a kick in the rear to get your sorry butt in gear. Ha! Ha!  I made a rhyme.

2.   “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”  --Oh, The Places You'll Go!  Wonderful message.  It is up to you what you do.  No one can make that decision but you.  Wow, I am on a roll!  The message is simple: You have the tools to succeed, use them.

3.   “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” --The Lorax.  It all starts with you.  Ghandi said Be the change you want to see in the world.  It is the same principle.  Whenever I feel like giving up on something because others do not care, I think of this.

4.   “This was no time for play. This no time for fun. This was no time for games. There was work to be done.” --The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.  There is a time and place for everything.  We all do things we do not want to do to be able to do the things we do want to do.  Like laundry so we can have clean underwear.

5.   "You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut."  --I Can Read With My Eyes Shut.  Duh.  Do not hide because things are unpleasant.  Keep going.  We all fall down, it is how many times we get up that shows our true character.

6.   "I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights." --Yertle the Turtle.  Child/Adult, Peon/Boss.  We are all people and have the same basic rights.  Like respect.  Treat others how you want to be treated.  Do not think you are better than anyone else, because you are not.  We all wipe our butts the same way.

7.   "Be grateful you’re not in the forest in France where the average young person just hasn’t a chance to escape from the perilous pants eating plants. But your pants are safe, you’re a fortunate guy you ought to be shouting how lucky am I!"  --Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?  Moral of the story?  Someone always has it worse than you.  Life is a good percentage mental, you choose to be happy or not.  I am not saying that bad shit does not happen, it does.  It is all in how you deal with it.

8.   "If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.”  -- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.   Try before you say you do not like something.  How do you know you do not like fried possum guts if you have never tried fried possum guts?  They may be delicious!

9.   “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you." –Happy Birthday To You!  Why bother trying to be someone you are not?  It is best to be YOU because we are all unique.  If someone does not like you? Oh well, not worth your time. 

10.   And now I leave with the big finale.  Great advice for writing , speaking and just getting your point across: 

It has often been said
there’s so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.

So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.

That's why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader's relief is.

And that's why your books
have such power and strength.
You publish with shorth!
(Shorth is better than length.)

Happy reading!  Visit for more fun stuff!

What happened to the Golden Rule?

It is always hard to keep a your faith strong when disaster hits.  The last couple of days have brought about some sad stories.  The news has been chockful of them: murders, the death toll of soldiers in war, the devastation of the earthquake & tsunami in Japan.  It was especially hard to hear about something closer to home: the fire one family suffered that resulted in the deaths of 7 of their 8 children.  If you haven't read the story, click here.

I could not imagine losing either of my children, God forbid both of them at the same time.  The pain and guilt this family must be suffering to lose most of their immediate family, that is just beyond comprehension.  What makes it worse is the proposed actions by the Westboro Baptist Church.  They plan on picketing and disrupting the family's funeral. 

The WBC write hateful things in their press release in the name of God.  I am not claiming to be the best Christian ever, but no matter what someone does that you don't agree with, you should not take away their right to grieve and bury their loved ones in peace.  

What returns my faith in people is the circle of love proposed to shield the family from a hateful protest.  Neighbors, friends, and strangers are pooling in to help this family.  Bake sales, chicken BBQs, funds in banks set up and even people coming in to do farm chores.  A new home is being built and many are volunteering their time. 

The way humanity comes together to help each other is the reason my husband and I decided to raise our children in central Pennsylvania.  While I appreciate the rights people have to say what they please, there is such a thing as tact, and I sure hope the WBC really sees what they are doing and changes tactics.  Prayer is a good place to start.  Reading the Bible, too.

Matthew 7:12  Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets.

Luke 6: 31 Do for others just what you want them to do for you.

Leviticus 19:18 Do not take revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbors as you love yourself.  I am the LORD.

So tell me WBC, what happened to the Golden Rule?

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Even as a 9-year-old, stress can get the best of us.  This is why I was not shocked when my daughter had a meltdown this morning in the grocery store.  Embarrassed?  Oh yeah, but not surprised. 
You can always tell when the pressure is building.  Maya is wound very tight, and when she is stressed she is short with people.  She puts a lot of pressure on herself to be perfect and has mini-panic attacks.
So with all this stuff hanging over her head:  oral country report with a food sample due, field trip money due, chores and homework to be done, plus basketball….if she can’t do it all now, how will she be prepared for life???
These are not my thoughts, they are hers.  For whatever reason, she is worried about how she will afford an apartment on her own and be able to budget, and with good reason.  Look at the mess the U.S. is in economy-wise. 
All I can tell her is to be prepared as much as you can.  Savings are great.  Budgets help you reach your goals.  Be prepared and all that.  I suppose it does not help when your mother procrastinates, but she’s a trouper.  That is her weakness:  the things she can’t control. 
So when her brother attempted to help her bag groceries this morning, well, that’s the stick that broke the camel’s back.  She threw a fit like a 2-year-old, “CRIS!  DON’T TOUCH THEM – I’M BAGGING!”
Her brother had enough sense to roll his eyes and say, “Maya, I’m only trying to help.” 
She calmed down enough to go out to the car, but I let her know that her behavior was not acceptable.  I understand she needed an outlet for her stress, but that was not it. 
Being the awesome parents we are, my husband and I have a plan of action.  We know what she needs: a stress-free day where there is nothing to do but what MAYA wants to do.  And that’s what she’ll get, after we lay out expectations and healthy ways to de-stress. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sydney's Near Death Experience

I just saved Sydney from the perils of 2nd Street.  Sydney does not understand the dangers of cars coming at her.  She does not realize that those vehicles may not be able to stop in time before hitting her, and possibly hurting her.  All she understands is the pretty flowers across the street. 

Sydney is a dog.  Those flowers across the street?  They smell GOOD.  As Sydney stood in the middle of the street, I had no choice but to park illegally on the side of the road and stop to read her tags.  There is no way I could just keep going.  What if someone else did not see her or could not stop and hit her?  What if this was my dog?

Luckily, she was a very sweet lady and she allowed me to lead her across the street, where she belonged.  Unfortunately for me, the owners were not home.  Another nice lady stopped to help me, and while she attempted to ring the doorbell and call the owners, I held on to Sydney while freezing my butt off in my thin sweater.

I noticed the neighbor’s cars in the driveway, so I rang the doorbell and luckily they knew Sydney and her predilection for escaping.  They took her in and I was able to leave with a clear conscience and arrive late to work.  I’d do it again, too. 

As I defrost in my office, I’m thankful Ginger Coleman stopped to help me with Sydney.  It would have taken me longer to figure out what to do, and goodness knows I would have frozen into a statue by then.  Sometimes I don’t stop to think that going out in a thin sweater with wet hair may not be a good idea.  Eh.  At least someone’s family member is safe.  Nothing like a little teamwork!