Archive for November, 2008

All I’m saying is …

This song has been rolling around in my head for quite some time now.  The other day, on my walk, I listened closely to lyrics again for the first time in a while.  It made me smile — and cry.peace-train

“Peace Train” (Cat Stevens, Yusaf Islam)

Now I’ve been happy lately,
thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
something good has begun

Oh I’ve been smiling lately,
dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be,
some day it’s going to come

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again

Now I’ve been smiling lately,
thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
something good has begun

Oh peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Come on now peace train
Yes, peace train holy  roller

Everyone jump upon the peace train
Come on now peace train

Get your bags together,
go bring your good friends too
Cause it’s getting nearer,
it soon will be with you

Now come and join the living,
it’s not so far from you
And it’s getting nearer,
soon it will all be true

Now I’ve been crying lately,
thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating,
why can’t we live in bliss

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again

It’s not gonna come from government, religion, or industry.  It’s gotta come from each one of us, doing what we can to make our world a better place.  Whatever each of our motivation — God, humanity, karma or what have you — we each need to decide, “Will I join the Peace Train?”  It was a good thought thirty years ago … it’s a better idea today.

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Interesting read …

Came across this blog:

http://littlecog.com/2008/11/12/an-opinion-on-gay-marriage-rights/    constitution1

I don’t usually engage in “this” conversation, but the following line struck me as truth: 

No state or government entity should issue “marriage” licenses at all.  Instead, marriages for none, civil unions for all.  It creates a system of equal protection under the law.

If religious organizations wish to protect their views on the sanctity of marriage, they may do so outside the realm of Government.  If gay couples wish to marry and create a family, they may also do this outside the realm of Government.  Governments are not moral entities…they are simply not equipped to tell us right from wrong. — little cog

“Governments are not moral entities …”  The recently published book by Shane Claibourn, Jesus for President, reminds us that salvation isn’t found in any agent of the “empire,” a.k.a. government.  Government doesn’t have a soul — it doesn’t have a moral obligation at all.  The government, in theory, is an agent for chaos control … an attempt to keep us civilized. 

To some, morality cannot be separated from civility.  They expect the government to reflect biblical standards because somewhere they got the misinformation that this country was established as a “Christian” nation.  They’ve accepted regurgitated informatin from their church leaders who have spent their lives trying to synthesis religion and government for their own uses.  If they’d look back at history, they would see America was established as a place for people to be free — whether their freedom agreed with personal belief and conviction or not.

Earlier in his post, “little cog” quoted the 14th amendment of our constitution:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That is the constitution, speaking on civil rights.  We equate it with race … but it doesn’t specifically state that anywhere in the constitution. 

Maybe it’s time we become educated on the arguments we make.  When we quote things, or we assume things, and somehow superimpose our assumptions into the realm of reality.  According to me, against my personal beliefs and convictions, there are things that are “right” or “wrong.”  According to the Bible, and people who have comitted themselves to this belief system, there are definite rights and wrongs.  But can we really transpose faith tenets on an institution that doesn’t have the same goals as that belief system?

Get angry, disagree.  But spend some time thinking about what the constitution really, truly says before you start using it as a weapon to uphold your beliefs.  The government was never created to favor one faith over another.  The government, by design, has little to do with faith at all.  The more I learn, the more they become mutually exclusive for me, despite what our religious institutions insist. 

Just something to think about.

She’s 15 today …

My daughter Kara turned 15 today.  Crazy … I know, I have a boy that’s two years older.  But there’s something between a daughter and her mom that I simply can’t explain.  And it causes me to reflect and consider …

Kara and her big brother, Wes

Kara and her big brother, Wes

When I found out I was pregnant with my second baby, we were in the middle of a possible transition.  We were on a job interview in Phoenix, Arizona.  When we got home to Indianapolis, I started feeling a little weird.  It wasn’t the same way I felt the first time.  But our lives were chaotic … Bruce had found out he was being fired (or “asked to resign,” for those of you still living in the religious fantasy life where church leaders are nice people).  We knew we were pregnant, but the place we were was more concerned that Bruce didn’t have a seminary degree, and their good church kids “deserved” someone with a degree (that’s a direct quote …).  But I digress.  All I knew is that I was welcoming another little one into the world.

Excited?  Sure.  But apprehensive.  I mean, I was looking at thirty, and this was only my second baby.  Top that off with a major move, going from a large house to an 850 square foot apartment, my husband going into a very demanding job … I really didn’t have a lot to think about the pregnancy.  Plus, there was that toddler running hither and yon …

I was deathly afraid to have a girl.  We didn’t find out … Bruce was big on the surprise.  But I remember laying in my bed, exhausted, while Wesley took a rare nap, and just crying, fearful that God would give me a daughter, and I would let her get hurt how I had been hurt as a little girl, and I would fail her, and I had a lack-luster relationship with my own mom, and I was a failure as a woman … you get the picture, and know what I mean if you’ve ever been hormonal during pregnancy.

To top it all off, Wesley had contracted the chicken pox!  I remember my next-to-last doctor’s appointment, and she had said, “Listen, unless he’s scabbed over, he must go somewhere else.  The baby can’t contract these …”  Imagine, sending away a little two year old who knew he was the middle of our universe, and bringing him back with a new little invader … anyway, thankfully, he got better on time.  But still …

About 3:00 am, on November 11, 1993, a huge thunderstorm blew through Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Weird, right?  No snow — just lots of rain and thunder.  I woke up, a little uncomfortable.  Not in labor; just achy.  After about an hour, I thought, “Hmmm … maybe I’ll shower just in case.  It will relax me …” and it did, but I still couldn’t get to sleep.

About 5:00 am, I woke Bruce up and said, “I think I’m in labor.”  He said, “What do you mean, you ‘think’ you’re in labor?”  It was totally different than labor with Wesley, I told him.

So we called my friend, Andi, to come and sit with Wesley.  We called my folks (who were coming down that same day, so Andi could go to work), and headed out to St. Joseph Hospital.  By the time we got there (only about a 10 minute ride), I was definitely sure I was in labor.  Bruce dropped me off at the door, a nurse met me with a wheel chair.  I went immediately to an examination room.

The nurse casually put me on the table, downplaying my excitement because I knew I was close.  She checked me out, yelled, “She’s at 10!  I need a delivery room NOW!”  I puked, my water broke, and they whisked me down the hallway.  We had gotten there so fast that my doctor couldn’t be reached.  She wasn’t even on duty — I was going to have to deliver with one of her associates.  While we were waiting, my usually quiet husband began to panic.  “Can anybody here deliver a baby???” Bruce asked.  The attending resident reassured him he could do it, if necessary.

At that point, Bruce just about passed out.  He had to sit, and asked for ice chips (who was in labor here???) because he’d wore a sweatshirt, and was too hot.  I knew the baby was on the way before the doctor arrived.  When he did, he took his coat off, washed his hands, gave me a look and said, “Well, let’s have this baby.”  I entered the emergency room at 6:00 am.  Kara came into the world at 6:28 am. 

When it was all over, I was ready to go home — seriously.  Even the doctor said, “You don’t even look like you just had a baby.”  I told him, OK, let us go.  But Kara was struggling.  Her glucose levels weren’t leveling out.  They were dipping … and he told me if they went below 35, there could be brain damage.  Brain damage?  My daughter … we prayed, and cried, and prayed some more.  I wasn’t going anywhere without her, so I spent the night, sleeping little but visiting her constantly.  The wouldn’t let me nurse her.  They wouldn’t let her stay with me. 

But the next day, she was OK.  We got ready to go home, to a waiting grandpa, grandma, and Wesley.  Kara had her days and night mixed up, which was hell on us — on me.  It was then that my dad informed me I had to suck it up and deal with the baby and Wesley, because Bruce had to go to work, and had to be in top shape for that.  Wow, great thing to tell an exhausted, sick (I’d caught a cold in the hospital), nursing mother of two little kids.  She also had some digestive problems.  She and I were at the doctor every single day for ten days …

She was a beautiful baby, though. She had more hair at birth than Wesley did his first year of life.  She had this brilliant, flashing eyes.  And, she had the most perfect little angel mouth I’d ever seen on a baby.  Even through my exhaustion, I was in love.  All the apprehension I had before her birth slipped away in the months that followed.  She was such a good baby — easy.  She actually slept (something her brother took a long time to do).  She was a snuggler.  She easily adapted to the snuggle sack (an African-like baby carrier that gave me the freedom to be active, while keeping Kara close), and basically lived in it until she could

Where has time gone?

Where has time gone?

walk. 

She was funny.  We talk about her first words being, “Taco Bell!”  She was an early walker (like the other kids), and very precocious.  She was funny, because she would follow Wesley around and learn to do things.  But then, when you’d say, “Kara, show grandma what you can do.”  She’d look at me like I was an idiot (I should have gotten use to that, for when she became a teenager …).  Then, we’d get home, and she’d do whatever I’d asked her to before!

Kara use to be a pretty outgoing kid.  She was in numerous dramas, and loved to dress up and perform in front of the family (when it was her idea; not mine).  She was always a bit quiet — she preferred her friends to be out front first.  But she’s always been friendly.  She’s become a lot more reserved as she’s gotten older.  I blame it on all the transitions that have become “normal” in our lives.  But ask she’s gotten on in her teenager years, she seems to be coming out of her shell more again.

Kara is amazing in my eyes.  She is intelligent (but she’ll never let you know it).  She has such a huge heart … for people, for the earth, for her family.  She is a servant … my daughter is someone who will, for no reason, clean my kitchen, or make cookies with her little sister.  She’s funny … her sense of humor is so dry — and quick.  She often keeps her comments to herself, but when she does speak up … watch out. 

She recently started driving on her permit.  It’s fun, because she’s so cautious.  It’s like, when she was a little girl, and she saw Wesley do something.  She’d really, really want to try, but was a little hesitant.  But eventually, when she couldn’t take it any more, she’d throw herself into it all the way — and she’d do great.  Kara has never let fear keep her from something.  For that, I am so proud of her.

She’s also very strong in her convictions.  She’s not one to push her will on anyone, but she stands firm in what she believes.  She listens, but will not easily be pushed from thing to thing.  She tries a lot of things; but at her core, she is strong, determined, and consistent. Again, I admire her so much for that.

So happy birthday, beautiful girl.  I’m so proud of your first 15 years, and can’t wait for the next sixty or so I share with you.  (OK, optimistically, on my end of things).  Keep being who you are, Kara, and never fear what is to come.  The only limit to what you can do or achieve are the limits you put on yourself.  I am so, so thankful you are a part of my life.  Love you!

Turn the page…

OK, I’m prefacing this post by saying I don’t have a lot of faith in any institution.  I don’t look at government to “save” me or make my life better by hand-out, legislation, or whatever.  And I firmly believe that one man (president or whatever) cannot make a huge, sweeping difference without the consent of a lot of people.

That said, I’m about fed up with the bemoaning and fear and whining a lot of my “Christian” friends have  obama-23concerning the amazing and exciting thing that happened yesterday.  I’m sick of people making this election a “one-issue” vote (I am pro-life, but I am pro-life for the babies, the young, the old, the poor, the rich — whomever).  I am saddened by the stem-cell research bill in my state, but I ask:  What would all the people freaking out do with the frozen embryos that people who desperately want children, but don’t want ten at a time?  See, it’s not an “easy” solution to some of these issues.  And for way too long “the church” has oversimplified the situation.

We have a current “pro-life” president.  He’s been there for eight years.  And while some things have been done (partial-birth abortion ban), what about the hundreds of lives he’s taken with his economic mishaps?  The innocent Iraqies who have died because of our fautly, WMD’s war we’re waging?  The older people who have lost everything in the lastest Wall Street scandal and will end up destitute?  What about the lives he ruined by totally disregarding the Constitution, imprisoning innocent citizens, terrorizing their families — their small, already born children?

And I’m also sick of the fact that I some how feel the need to have to apologize for believing that Mr. Obama will bring a change for the better in this country.  Even for the simple fact that we actually elected a non-white person!  Come on, folks.  Are we so blind to ignore our latent prejudices?  That only white, male, “Christian” people can run this country, or know what’s best?  Oh my goodness… let’s call it what it is.

If someone claims to be a “Christian,” doesn’t the book they hold to (the inerrant “Word of God”) tell them not to fear?  I heard comments from friends from they’re “leaving the country,” to they’re “stocking up on ammunition” because Obama is going to revoke the second amendment.  People, people, people.  Please stop listening to the propaganda designed to control you through the use of fear and intimidation.  Do you honestly think that a man who couldn’t control his temper, who encouraged his supporters to angrily threaten the other candidate, who has a sordid past of a spoiled child, and who has a totally different public persona from four years ago like John McCain would have been a better president?

Sometimes, I really hate being a part of an organization that has a tough time thinking for itself.  I’m tired of people just generally accepting what they’re fed and regurgitating the information without being informed on their own.  You say you’re “researched” the internet?  I could probably find a counter for every “fact” you find,and visa-versa.   I’m sick of people saying they subscribe to a belief system that they really don’t, because they couldn’t say and do some of the insane, crude, hurtful and just plain stupid, because that’s what the majority of people they associate with think.

Their politics are like their faith — leftovers from a system that they are too lazy to question and too fearful to explore too closely.  So many people want so desperatly to belong to the “family of God” that they’re more focused on the “family” than on the “God” part.  I know this is a generalization, and if you’re reading this, and you’re a part of the system, and you are NOT like this, please don’t take offense.  The God I read about in your holy book isn’t being well reflected in a lot of “Christian” people right now.  Am I judging?  Just “going on the fruits,” you know.

Anyway, the end of this tirade is that I am excited and energized that Barak Obama will be our 44th president.  I am anticipating good changes.  I am aware that it will take a lot of work on all of our parts to see this country through the cesspool we are currently in, and that trust in this country and the position of president will be a long time in coming.  I also know a lot of my “Christian” friends will not acknowledge any good that comes over the next four years.  They will be totally one-sided, and not intelligently decipher the good, the bad, and the indifferent.  And they will be waiting for “God’s judgement” to fall at any moment, and they will be prepared to applaud anything that looks like “God” pushing things toward their belief of the “way it should be.”

But as I’ve sai hundreds of times, at the end of the day, this whole thing really rides on us personally.  If you want to help the economy — only spend what you make, and don’t get into credit card trouble.  Work hard, and don’t spend everything on making your life easier.  Give to the poor; welcome the lonely into your home.  Keep your eyes open for opportunities to help people.  Be bold to invite the pregnant, unmarried woman considering abortion into your home, instead of spending all your time ranting against unjust laws.  Don’t wait for the government to bail out a needy neighbor, then rant against the “socialism” taking place.  Be the change you want to see, and get off Barak Obama’s back.

He’s only human, for God’s sake.  He’s not your savior — or your advisary.  Roll up your sleeves, be prepared to work hard and work together.  And in four years, maybe we’ll look back on all this insanity and laugh.

Hey, I can at least hope, right?

Amazing!

obama1I’m sitting here, listening to Mr. McCain make his conciliatory speech.  In essence, we have just elected our very first African American president.  More importantly, as one CNN anchor stated, we have elected a new frontier president for a new frontier America.

I hate that it feels like, all of a sudden, this is race issue.  I think there is so much more here going on.  While no man can “do it all,” I think Mr. Obama has somehow given this generation of Americans some kind of fresh hope.  I know all the rhetoric that’s going around.  I don’t want to get into all the discussion of it all right now. 

All I know is that somehow, deep in my heart, there is a stirring.  It’s not a total trust in any man.  But whatever it is, it’s new and refreshing, and I look forward to seeing what this young man from Illinois can actually do in the political mess we know as the American government.

My wish?  An end to the wars our young men are fighting.  An economy that honors people regardless of their income.  A more compassionate system that takes care of the young, the old, the poor, the rich.  An opportunity for my kids to get the education that will equip them for whatever God has for them.  And a president that somehow believes we are part of a world — not an island grasping for imperialistic influence. 

I know.  It’s simplistic.  But it’s my election night wish.  I guess we’ll see.

I’m Excited!!!

I have this “old” friend (sorry, Lisa) who told me about the “National Novel Writing Month,” which, by the way, is November.  If you’re interested, check out their site:

http://www.nanowrimo.org/

Anyway, the challenge is to complete a 50,000 word (that’s no misprint) novel during the month — that’s a rough average of 2,000 words a day!  The tag line on the goggle search says, “Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft…” yeah, yeah, yeah.  For me, I need a kick in the pants to write!  And according to that “old” friend, it was what she needed last year to get her going. 

So, I did it!  I only got about 700 words done yesterday (between recovering from Friday, the kids’ TFC concert, and an awesome bonfire at a friend’s home last night), but today, I’m gonna catch up!  I’m even taking the laptop to church (because I have to do registration for Angel Food in the hallway) and going to write there!

The novel?  Not exactly sure where it’s gonna go.  The idea is definitely not a “kids” story … it’s humorous, and heartbreaking, and hopefully reflects a little bit about human nature … kind of like life itself.  We’ll see.  Even if it’s nothing more than my attempt to be disciplined at the craft, it’ll be good for me.

How about you?  Got a novel rolling around in your head?  Check out the site, and let me know if you’ve joined the journey!!!