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A Colorful Post

I attended a conference recently and I didn’t have the agenda ahead of time. Not my fault just the way the story goes. My first session was an LGBT training that covered a lot of ground. I wasn’t expecting to be fully engulfed in the subject, but I welcomed the learning opportunity. I surprisingly learned a good bit and felt the topic deserved some space on the blog in case others could benefit from the same knowledge.

L is for lesbian.

G is for gay.

B is for bisexual.

T is for transgender.

This is not a judgment post rather it’s an educational post. One to share information without judgment no matter where you come from or how you feel about those in these these categories.

The clip above is small but it’s worth a zoom to read about each category even if it’s just to understand a little more than you already knew about the subject and/or categories.

As noted above I learned a lot about a topic many fear. Too much to include in one post thus I will leave you tidbits that struck me as interesting.

  • Assisted living facilities today are not welcoming for the LGBT community. Many older generations struggle with acceptance thus having same sex partners share a space would be very much out of the ordinary and not welcomed. Just think many elderly today lived through the 80’s in the midst of the aid’s epidemic. That may be their only knowledge on the subject.
  • 1953 Gays were banned from federal jobs. 1973 you couldn’t get fired from federal jobs for being gay (if you even got a job). 1993 Don’t ask Don’t tell hit the military, but ended in 2011. In 2016 the Obama administration ends the ban on transgender in military. Shortly after trump bans transgender again in the military after he became president. Then in 2021 Biden overturned the ban on transgender in the military. So much disapproval within the government. So much confusion. I’m not choosing either side I’m merely noting the chaos.
  • Q is for questioning. Those questioning if they are gay, bisexual, etc. I feel like I’ve lived under a rock for not understanding the depth of this phase for many individuals in varying age groups. So many variables such as religious beliefs, family dynamic, social norms, and so on.
  • I also didn’t realize how many young people become homeless because of the disapproval they receive when they come out about their sexual preference. Some are even forced into Survival sex to stay alive. This was probably the most saddening for me as it involved suffering of young people. However on the flip side I learned of that some incarcerated people choose to partake in survival sex in exchange for protection while in prison. However once out of prison society doesn’t recognize those same people as gay, rather its more accepted due to environmental conditions Liek an all male prison and the need to survive. What an irony in my mind. A child can be forced into survival sex yet a prisoner faces less judgment for similar choice.
  • if I go any further I would be too long winded on a controversial subject. I would however encourage you to read up on the history of LGBT since 1980. You will learn more than you want to on aids. You may see some interesting videos. You might even think about how you don’t agree with people who choose to be vegan or vegetarian but you don’t deny them food. In the same contrast we shouldn’t let those in the LGBT fear society because they choose to live a certain way.
  • just a good food thought post. Life is a journey. Life’s journey is full of lived experiences. Today I lived through the lens of another who is in the LGBT community to foster growth in myself. I can only encourage others to expand their knowledge on the subject.

 no sides taken from me ont his subject as I am neutral. I will always choose to love others for who they are not what they practice behind closed doors. 

Feel free to post comments or feedback but know we won’t share hate messages rather we will just have awareness on how our audience views our post ont his controversial subject.

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Perfect Day

“Describe your perfect day in 4 words.”

We’ve been starting our day with positive thoughts and prompts in 3rd grade summer school. It’s part of our efforts to address the whole child and connect in meaningful ways with every student.

Boy, they were stumped on this. Then again, some of my students are shy or not used to sharing or speaking up. Many of them don’t know each other well.

So I went first.

Here’s my four:

-nature

-move

-friends

-ice cream.

First, yes, I know ice cream is two words. And I could pretend it’s hyphenated but of course it isn’t. I’m just giving myself a pass on this. I maybe should have just said dessert but the truth is I’ve been thinking about ice cream often lately. I enjoy it, especially in the summer, but I’ve trained myself to really only have it when it is special, like homemade or unique. I haven’t had opportunities to have special ice cream so I’ve really been thinking about it.

The other words are more general. Nature could be the beach, or the mountains, or a hike or an outdoor swim or even staring up at the stars. But my perfect day would have to include some kind of outdoor natural experience.

Move…even though I move every day in one way or another, a perfect day wouldn’t be a rest day. My day is totally thrown off if I don’t do some kind of exercise right at the beginning.

Finally, friends. These could include family that I am friendly with. Although I like my alone time, maybe even more than most people, the perfect day would include sharing it with some friends.

Students chimed in with activities like basketball, football, reading. Some had a food or even a picnic. I asked friends who had their own take on their top four. It’s hard to narrow it down. Later I wondered if I should have included coffee. Or flowers (which could fall into “nature,” I guess.)

What would you say? What are your four ingredients to the perfect day?

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5 am Bagel

I’m heading over to your house now he texted. It’s 5 am, nobody is awake I said. But you have bagels and I don’t he exclaimed. 5 minutes later the dogs are barking, the toaster is toasting and bodies are in motion. It’s still dark, it’s still not past 6 am. No school today. A day off work. Why oh why and am I awake?

Time to take the dogs out for the morning when they were perfectly content sleeping in. These little pups have no clue why they were jostled but they go with the flow. They bend and flex. They are loyal to the core whether it’s 5 am or 5 pm. We should model a dog’s resilience and adaptability more times than not.

Days like the one above may seem annoying in the moment, but today it seems like just what the doctor ordered. Nobody really likes a quiet house. They like a lived in house. That means people, laughing, chaos, and so on. This morning was a good example of such.

When I think back to my younger days I had siblings around most days but as the youngest those days thinned out. Less people. Less laughter. Less chaos. I never really thought about those days from my mom’s view until I myself had the shift in my own life.

Days dwindle. The kids go off on their own. College. Marriage. The teen who is always out engrossed in activities. Sometimes it’s just me and the dogs. Idle minds wander. As I reflect on the random visits for laundry, the 5 am pit stop for a bagel, the hi, what’s for dinner tonight randomness is part of what makes a house a home. Unpredictable times.

The family. The community. The chaos. One day this will be gone In the blink of an eye. However, we can all appreciate a reminder to live in today. Appreciate what is front of you. Even if it’s 5 am, the connection of people or sense of community is really what it’s about.

On a recent trip, I was the 6am girl. Are you making coffee I said to my neighbor. She replied yes. Can I come over? She replied yes. I enjoyed my early morning community. I think she did too but was she thinking omg why are you calling me at 6am? I don’t know. I didn’t even think about it then. 5 am, 6 am, 7 am are just time stamps. Open yourself up to the unexpected. Foster community with whomever needs it. You never know when opportunities like this will fade. Seize the moment. Make the coffee. Enjoy the memories.

As I go through phases in life, I see the same things differently. Some days I’m appreciative. Some days I’m annoyed or frustrated. A lot of days I’m tired and overwhelmed. However days like today? I’m thankful that I have life in front of me. As chaotic as some days get, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m not homeless, but many are. I’m not jobless, but some are. I’m not hungry, but some are. Today I shift a little from my normal routine to spoil some around me. Spend time with cherished family members. Live in today, because I can. I’m making that choice. I’m taking that time. There is a spontaneous part of life that we can easily miss with so many have tos on our plate. 

I can’t ever get time back thus I must use my time wisely. 24 hours each day. You choose the path. Work? Family? Friends? Memories? Fitness? The beauty of today’s time is all mine. How I choose to share my hours and minutes is all on me. I plan to make spontaneous choices at random intervals over this year to ensure I am staying true to opportunities even if they appear at 5am.

family, fitness and nutrition, Uncategorized

A Long Time Coming

The Victory Lap of senior year is marching on.

We are over halfway!

The first big end-of-season celebration recently wrapped. Of course, I’m thinking and looking back at how far she has come.

Over 10 years ago, my little scrapper started flag football in our local church league. The teams were coed. She has always liked playing sports with the boys. She relished the chance to go toe-to-toe with them and loved pulling their flags, dodging their “tackles,” and winning. Football of any kind isn’t usually a girl’s sport, so she may have had one other girl on her teams through those years. When she got to 4th grade or so, that age when bodies and minds start to really realize that girls and boys are different, she was the only girl on those teams. Again, she didn’t care and the boys’ fumbly discomfort around her even made her secretly giggle. She still loved running past them for the touchdown. She just wanted to play.

In high school, things get a little more serious. I remember reading in the paper that flag football would be coming to our county as a grant-funded club sport for girls. How exciting! The transition to high school had been a challenge for her and I thought it would be great. But, the schedule and coaches discouraged her from trying out that first year. She could get injured. She was already playing volleyball. It wouldn’t work.

Thankfully, the sport continued into her sophomore year. Again, a club sport, but after not making the volleyball team, the path was cleared for her to try out for flag football. She made that team and had a ball with a group of (mostly) new friends.

During her junior year, flag football became a varsity-level sport in our state, so she could earn her letter and competition would grow. She was named captain of that team and had a great season (despite COVID quarantine and lots of other ups and downs). And then this year, as a senior captain, she again helped lead her team to the playoffs, and was named to all-county teams on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. She received her 4th scholar athlete award, keeping her grades up all the while.

As she wound down her high school flag football career, she received what is called the Hawk Award from her coaches. Every varsity team at our school has just one of these awards. It is given to the player that excels on and off the field, in the spirit of the Hawks, her school mascot.

Remembering her first year of high school, when I drove her 30 minutes each morning away from home in the icy dark…she would hardly speak. Later she told me she would cry every single day when she arrived at school. I took her from her neighborhood friends, her safe zone, and plopped her into a school that was so different, so huge, so competitive. She had to work hard to achieve. Seek out help when she needed it. It was an honor to be selected for a team, not just a given. But just like my parents had done for me, pulling me from a sinking neighborhood school and taking me across town to a better high school, it has all worked out for the better. She’s grown to appreciate the opportunity and has made the most of it. She’s become a leader, a scholar, and a Hawk. After all those chilly, quiet, traffic-filled mornings, I can look back and know again that the effort was worth it.

And now on to her grande finale, lacrosse season!

challenges, Uncategorized

Christmas, Interrupted

It was just a few days after my daughter’s incredible showing at her first powerlifting competition. My strong girl, seemingly invincible as she deadlifted 403 pounds, was hit hard by runny nose, coughs, and generally feeling crummy. My sister-in-law, who she had stayed with during the competition weekend, was under the weather, too.

Testing results took a few days, but it was the answer we all feared: positive for COVID.

It was Christmas week.

What to do? For as long as I’ve been alive, both in my own family and my family-by-marriage, Christmas Eve has been the heart of Christmas. It’s a huge party full of food, singing, and a sea of presents. My other sister-in-law also has a birthday on Christmas Eve, which kicks off our yearly festivities. In addition, my husband’s family has a formal dinner on Christmas Day. Suddenly, all that was on hold. Seriously, COVID?

What to do? It is unseasonably warm. Could we celebrate outside? With masks on? Should we just celebrate without the people who are sick? All of that was met with a no.

So, we rescheduled. Our family owns a holiday-driven business. We barely take a day off during this busy, busy time. We finally found days in January where we can try to remake Christmas Eve, sort of. Christmas Day’s steak dinner will just have to wait until later in 2022.

On actual Christmas Eve day, I brought my sick daughter a care package of chicken fingers (we have a platter on Christmas Eve each year), the soup she had asked for, a stuffed stocking, a birthday cake, and my mom’s grits casserole, our Christmas morning tradition. I brought a small birthday cake to the other family houses that day as well.

We got together on google meet that night to sing Happy Birthday and Christmas Carols. Far from my usual glitter and shine as the yearly host, I was laying on the couch in my sweatshirt with my granddog on my lap. I got the giggles changing my background on the computer. The singing sounded terrible with the lag online. It was really just kind of a mess. I went to bed at 8:30 instead of refilling drinks and cleaning up and getting ready for Santa’s visit until midnight. We FaceTimed with our sick daughter as we ate Christmas breakfast.

Today, on December 26, all the presents remain unopened. I am a bag of mixed feelings. I always feel a sense of relief when my hosting duties are over. I also like getting back to normal eating and other routines once Christmas ends. I like to have everything packed up before I go back to work. I’m not sure what to try to carry over and what can be put aside until December 2022.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that I often try to find meaning or purpose in what happens. Find a lesson. Relate it to the bigger picture.

But today I’m just annoyed. Grouchy. I don’t really see the purpose or the meaning. Just sharing in case anyone else is in this place. You are not alone. Judging from my timeline, I know I am not alone.

I just hope everyone is healthy for the reschedule.

Bah humbug, COVID.