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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Anonymous is taking a stand. Are you?

There are many sides, facets if you will, to the hacktivist group - Anonymous.
There are accusations against them. There are claims of terrorist acts against them. Some of their members have been arrested and charged for some acts they were a part of. Some of which are ridiculous. But I'm proud to say, that I've seen some amazing things come from them. I follow them on YouTube. And I believe that the majority of those in Anonymous are seeking to better the world. They don't picket, riot, or attack citizens. They seek to stand and protect those who might not otherwise be able to. Does it mean that everything they do is legal? No. Will they always be on the right side of the argument? No. But they are a group of humans. Just like you and I. They have values and concerns. The difference between them and me? They have tech savvy skills to use against a common "enemy". They have brought down child porn users, websites and phone lines to giants such as PayPal, Scientology Church, and even the government in Tunisia. They band together to serve a single and greater good when they feel called to. I might not agree with all of it. But I do agree with their latest goal. To remind the citizens, not only of the United States, but also the world, to stand up. And to remind their governments that we put them in power. We also have the power to take them out. It is a reminder that I think most of us need. I'm not saying to draw arms and start blowing up the government-controlled institutions. But show instead that you won't follow blindly, that you will hold to your freedoms.
If you haven't watched their videos, I suggest you do. I don't ask you to believe every word they say. I don't ask you to do what they tell you to. I ask you to think about what you can do. I ask you to look deeper at the people running for president, if you plan on voting at all.
I would greatly love to see one on Trump as they have done one of Hillary Clinton. "You can look at my record." And her records show that she changes to fit who is seeking support from.

May I also point out that there are other people to vote for besides Clinton and Trump, including another woman! Sure, your vote might not count for anything when the vast majority chooses one of the two, but at least you can say you stood up against the crowds. Or maybe you are like me, don't even bother to vote considering that your vote won't be counted at all. Let's be realistic. The Electoral College does the voting in this country. And it is based off who they feel is the most beneficial to them and their supporters. Supposing we could get them to swing towards our thinking? Maybe convince lobbyists what would be in their best interest and have that be towards the people. Just a thought.

Anonymous is calling us to think and rise. Quit being a doormat to your government.

Growing towards the Light

I bought a couple little seed kits from Target last spring. They were in the Dollar Spot and I thought that my kids would have a great time growing things. As such, I picked them up and brought them home... fully intending to plant them with the kids. They sat on the counter for a really long while. Until about a month or two ago. I was cleaning up that counter and had my daughter come help me plant them. Now, you should know, I didn't have high hopes for them. After all, my thumb is definitely not green. And they were on the Dollar Spot. So not the highest quality. But one can hope right? And hope we did. We placed one little kit of strawberry seeds and one of tomato seeds in the kitchen windowsill where the best sunlight would be. The strawberries molded away. Nothing sprouted. But the tomato seeds took off. We had to go buy some clearance plant pots to separate them with. I had about 4 little seedlings in each of the 3 pots I had gotten. Then they shot up further and we had to buy bigger planting pots. We separated them further. Again they shot up. Maybe from the Miracle Grow potting soil we had gotten. Maybe from the sun and water and gentle care. Whatever you want to say it is from, they have been growing and growing. We had to buy more pots so that it could be one per pot.
One thing I have noticed about these plants, is their unwavering growth towards the sunlight. In the morning, I'd check to make sure they had enough water and they would be growing sideways towards the sun. I'd turn the pot and by evening, they were again tilting in a completely different direction towards where the sun had been. It was fascinating to watch. They grew towards that which gave them life and sustenance.
I've been thinking on this little experiment for quite some time. The comparison of my own life to the tomato plants. No matter who we are, what we do, and what our life goals are, we are seeking to grow in some way. We might be seeking wealth, knowledge, perfect health, career success or religious growth. Maybe we have multiple goals in these categories, but everyone is seeking something. Even the laziest of us are looking for something in life. We are growing towards those goals. The only question we should be asking is "Why?" Why are we going in that direction? What will come from striving towards those goals?
Or perhaps the question should be, "Is this a healthy goal?" It might be that we are growing towards something because it feels good and gives us the fuzzies. Like wealth. You can do amazing things and life can be considered good when you have a lot a money. But what do we really gain? How about in relationships? Happiness lasts as long as things are going well. But is it the right choice to be in it? Will it last a lifetime? Or is that we are seeking something that won't last, but serves us well now?
I believe that its a healthy practice to reconsider life goals. To think about where we stand and where we are going in life. We need to reevaluate what we hold dear. Is it taking us towards a light?
Or is that just the oncoming train about to smack us down?
What is at the end of your tunnel? Where is your path taking you?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Public Education and the issues involved...

Today was quite full of excitement. I dropped my boys off at school at 7 this morning. Came home and started cleaning up while dealing with my little diva of a daughter. Today was to be early release at their school. So I had to drop her off at 10 AM. As I pull up, there is a bus in front, no teachers, no students waiting. Another parent and child are talking to the bus driver. The bus drives away and I'm thinking I will have to park and take my daughter in as their clock must be fast and they will argue with me that she's tardy... Such trivial thoughts going through my head in comparison to what's really going on. The other parent stops me and tells me to get my daughter and get back in the car. A police SUV is parked in front of the school. The parent gestures and says, "The school is under lockdown. Cops are searching the surrounding for someone. Lock yourself in your vehicle with your child and wait."
Here I am, 34 weeks pregnant, trying to take my little girl to school... and the neighborhood is getting searched. My boys are locked in their classroom. No potty breaks. No one goes in. No one comes out. Can you imagine the roller coaster my emotions were on?
I sit there for few minutes. Nothing happening. Another officer shows up and starts telling people who are arriving to get in their vehicles. Then she says they just need to leave. No explanation besides, "We are looking for someone. School is under lockdown."
Tell me something I don't know, lady! Tell me my kids are safe. Tell me the person you are looking for isn't armed or dangerous. I don't want to know their name or what they look like at this point. But with this kind of manhunt going on, it seems like they did something really bad.
But no. I don't get that gesture of trust. Instead I get my daughter back into her seat and we get our butts home. Where I pace and bake a batch of cookies. My hands shake, my mind goes nuts, and part of me wants to cry. Then I get angry, because I'm not one to cry. Stupid hormones.
Just before I'm heading to work, I get a recorded message from the school. It mentions that the school was locked down because the police asked for it to be. But goes on to say the school wasn't in danger. Really? Then why did the police search the neighborhood surrounding the school? How do I know? I watched as I sat there locked in my van with my daughter. And the way they were swarming, yeah.... not feeling confident on the safety of the school.
After I'm headed to work, my neighbor and friend goes to pick up the kids. The police are telling people that they still haven't caught the suspect. And that everyone should be careful. Now here's another problem I have. You locked down the school. No one in, no one out. That is meant to keep everyone safe until the police find their man. But at noon, you are releasing them regardless of the police finishing their search or not. Does this make sense to you? Suppose their suspect was hiding nearby and opened fire when those doors opened? Suppose he mingled with those parents walking up to collect their kids and snatched one as a hostage? Call me crazy... but how is this a safe practice? So what if a couple officers are standing guard? What would they possibly do in the face of either situation mentioned? I'd love to use those rose-colored glasses you are wearing if you put your faith in the police. But considering everything that has been seen in this city... no thanks. I'm grateful to the team in blue. I just don't trust every decision they make. There was nothing posted on the news sites. Nothing mentioned when you run an internet search. I still don't know who the person was or what they did that had the police chasing them. For all I know, that person is still at large in our neighborhood. But who cares? Right? Kids are home with me for the weekend. School isn't liable, I can protect them, and everything gets swept under the rug. Move on. End of story.
As a concerned parent, as an over-protective mother, I don't think this is right. I don't like cover-ups. I don't like secrets. I don't like knowing that someone potentially put my kids at risk. My babies are my life. And heaven help the fool who ever tries to bring them harm. They won't need a judge and jury to decide their fate.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Adventures in Parenting

Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. And no one can ever convince me otherwise. It takes determination, courage, steel-willed mindsets, goal-making, compassion, and more patience than a saint. 
My life is far from where I wished it to be. Just a little over a year until I reach my thirties and having 3 children with another one on her way...
I question my own decisions often. But I love them more than life. I want to give them the best and strive to always train them in the right ways. 
My trials in parenting have spanned so many obstacles. Most recently, I have been trying to maneuver through life lessons in school, dealing with bullies, and what the golden rule really means. 
My oldest son struggles with school. In truth, both of my boys get bored and distracted easily. It takes a very clever and creative teacher to hold their attention. I'm having to really get fancy with how I make school behavior important. After all, how do you explain to an almost 8 year old that getting a good education leads to a finer life? In such a way that they actually want to try harder? I'm creating a rewards system as he seems to think that the finer life will be to just sit around, living with his mother, playing video games all day. Let's be real, kid. Once you become an adult, you will be held responsible. You will pay your own bills. And if I have to kick your butt out to prove it, I will! 
Then we have the Golden Rule and bullies. My oldest has been taught, "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." So when kids at school bullied him and picked on him, he translated that as that is how they wanted to be treated in turn. And he picked back. Let's give the boy props. In a world where everyone knows that you are supposed to treat others the way you want to be treated, you should know that if you treat someone badly it might come back to bite you. Right?? So I had to explain that no matter how someone treats you, the Rule is that you have to treat them how YOU want to be treated. You don't like being teased? Then don't tease them back when they are mean to you. My younger son, on the other hand, is learning that he has to stand up for himself and speak up. That I will defend him and seek justice for him, but I have to know what happened first. Hearing about the ways he's being treated by school mates has had my blood pressure spiking and the blood boiling. Partly, because this is my baby boy who is shy and quiet and doesn't do a lot of trouble-making. Partly, because my hormones are raging almost as bad as a teenagers right now. I have to remind myself or be reminded to breathe and take it one step at a time. To think it over before reacting. Otherwise I'd probably end up going into a parallel 'roid rage fit over just about anything.  
My patience is thinner than normal. So I have to be slower to speak and take longer to think about things. Again, I blame hormones. And I also blame the pain I feel quite often. Being reduced to part time at work has helped, but let's face the music. Until this baby gets here, I'm going to have to bite my lip and deal with muscular pain, popping and grinding joints, headaches, lack of sleep, and the overall feeling of discomfort. But as they say, its all worth it in the end. 
Here's even more fun that comes with being a parent - having your words thrown back at you in such a way, that you have to stop and rethink them. Not sure how that goes? Well, I gave you one example with the Golden Rule conversation. But imagine this... My supervisor asked her son, "If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?" We have all heard that one, right? Heard it, said it... Well, his answer is classic. "Well, maybe. There's water under it, right? And you did it before too. So why not?" Ever had a moment like that? No? Just wait, you will. Unless you are raising a useless sheep that follows and  never has an original thought of their own.
Kids are smarter than we often give them credit for. They do take in what we say, what we do, and our reactions. They also have a tendency to mimic those things. Like mother, like daughter. Like father, like son. Those phrases aren't just for the fun of saying them. They are real truths, discovered by parents over years of observation. 

Which brings me to another challenge I'm facing. Standing up to my 3 kids' father and saying no to his requests for more time with them. Being a divorced parent is ugly. Even when the separation was relatively peaceful, as ours was. It brings hardships and transitions. Only my oldest seems to grasp the "why" of it all. My middle child doesn't care. And my daughter is only concerned with going to her dads to get spoiled. So I have had enough. I was nice about letting him take them repeatedly whenever it suited him. But I've come to realize the damage it causes. He doesn't enforce rules. He doesn't watch them and keep them safe as he's supposed to. And he uses them to pass time because he is "bored". Nearly eight years we were married. Nearly 8 years he had the chance to be a father. Almost 8 years he had to prove that he was willing to do what it took to be the man he needed to be, to love them as he should, to care and provide for them. And he wasted every bit of it. Now that we are mostly out of his life, he has found himself alone, bored, and listless. He has nothing but his under-the-table Lego business to keep him company. Maybe the occasional moments with friends or family. And now, all the sudden, he can't get enough time with the kids. Sadly, I've decided he is a little too late. My kids are getting educated. They are learning discipline. They are learning rewards and consequences (a concept my Sales Manager painted clearly for me recently). I can't allow them to learn his bad habits. To be endangered by his lack of parental guidance. And be led astray by someone they don't really care for, but spend time with just so they can get whatever they want or do whatever they want. (Which is the reason they told me they go.) This is a part of parenting that hurts. And one that I hope they will come to understand in the years that follow. 
Being a parent is hard. Its the hardest job I'll ever know. But I face it. I hope and pray that I make it through in one piece. That my children become the greatest they can be. And become Nerds... 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Revised Version of The Declaration of Independence

Now before anyone gets their panties in a twist, this is meant to be a humorous, albeit more true than any of us want to admit, little break in life. I had received this in an email somewhere around 2005. The truth in it though, rings stronger now with the craziness going on in the world than it did back then. So sit back and enjoy. And may I also remind you, the time to stand strong in your beliefs and what you want our leaders to change - is now.

"We, The People of the United States"

We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior and secure the blessings of debt free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt-ridden, delusional, and other bed-wetters.

We hold these truths to be self evident - that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill  of Rights and are so dim that they require a Bill of NON-Rights as such:

Article I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

Article II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone - not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

Article III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

Article IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found andwill gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing tired