Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking Back Over 2013 A Year Remembered

  This past year, not unlike others was filled with triumph and heartbreak. A year ago today I was getting ready to take a long trip to Smithville South Carolina to marry my husband. It was both an exciting time and a scary time for us. We had only lost our Gunny in November, and our family was still pretty heartbroken over the loss.
     Our year started out with new beginnings though, a marriage, and a new puppy to share our home giving us hope and peace. School continued on with classes that kept me busy and on track. Work of course was a constant in our lives, not unlike for everyone else. This year had my one daughter and grandson moving in with her dad to save money and go back to school. Meanwhile, Chrissy and I chugged along at OCC. Getting closer to our degree’s.
     Opening a new store at Days of Olde in historic Smithville NJ was a huge step that has brought new friends and purpose into my life. I have found one of my passions that gives me real pleasure in life. I enjoy every aspect of what I am doing, and I believe it does show, when people come through my booth.
     This was the year I also started a new blog about saving money in our current economy. It was a start of something new as my writing evolves on a subject I felt I could contribute to. I look forward to writing more articles under both blogs and keep the story going.
     This year we also lost two people who were close to our hearts. My aunt Judy Beckman, and my daughters long time friend Derek Russell. Both were family in their own way and had become an integral part of our lives. Both will be deeply missed as time moves on the memories they gave us a gift to remind us that life is special and to be cherished.
     So looking forward I am ready to graduate and finish up my degree. I am still on the fence about diving right back in at Stockton and pursuing my Bachelors or taking a year off to write. Regardless I am looking forward to walking in graduation come May and accomplishing the goal I set almost three years ago.
   This January 4 is also our Anniversary, and I am grateful I was able to marry my best friend. It was a year filled with adjustments, love and laughter. Life changed, and it stayed the same. Marrying Tom was a beginning and an end to a dance we had done for almost five years together. I find that we are completely in each others lives for good, and we are both  better human beings for that.
    The new store is thriving and doing well, far better than I expected or dreamed was possible. The eBay side of it is also growing in leaps and bounds and will continue to grow as a part of my business. I’m looking forward to possibly expanding the store to include another booth should the opportunity present itself.
     My kids and grandson are all becoming amazing individuals, and I can only marvel at them. They each allow me to love them and be a part of their lives. This life is filled with laughter and humor.
 Our cabin is turning out to be a true haven. It is both a place of beauty and solitude where as a family we can communicate better with each other without the outside world interfering. A reminder of simpler times where cell phones and traffic are not a factor. We will continue to refurbish  the cabin. We are also looking forward to growing it into what we need our getaway to be.
     My babies, Annabelle and Patton, are a constant source of laughter for me and remind me that there are other things more important than writing at times. They make me take time to  sit and rub the belly. While still being the playful bulldogs that they are, no two puppies could be better pet companions than my two girls.
     I know life will give us what it chooses to, but I find myself looking forward to the adventures and trips on our journey. Every new day brings something worth learning. So here it is I am grateful for where I have been and blessed to have been there. I look forward to the upcoming year and all of the adventures it will bring us as a family.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

"Merry Christmas" More Then Just Two Words

Now that Christmas is over, the gifts have been given, the tree stands alone its bright lights dimmed for another year. Its time to begin anew as we wind down the year. I am often surprised by the number of almost guilty “Merry Christmas’s” I hear and those moments when good Samaritans stick there head out and do good. This year was tight but with careful planning we all made it through. In this desensitized world we live in I often forget that there are still decent people who hold true to their beliefs, despite the extremes of the left wing. No its not politically correct to say “Merry Christmas”, in fact I can remember being told at one time while working for a big retailer that we were to say “Happy Holidays” so we didn’t offend someone.
My question however is this, If you or I chose to express our beliefs which last time I checked we still had a right to why should that be wrong? Why isn’t it ok to say Merry Christmas if you believe in Christmas? Does that make you an insensitive jerk or perhaps it just means that you’re stating a well intended wish to someone in passing almost like saying thank you when someone holds a door open.I know I am over simplifying this but isn’t it after all a simple phrase, “Merry Christmas.” The world didn’t end because I said it, and how hard is it to just say thank you if you don’t celebrate Christmas. Isn’t it respectful for you to respect my beliefs just as you insist i need to respect yours.
We spend a lot of time splitting hairs over what is politically correct and what isn’t. For what? So one group can point a finger and declare that your beliefs are wrong? For a country that was first settled by individuals who desired the right to practice their faith without someone persecuting them we have again gone full circle. Unfortunately there aren’t any new lands to settle so we all need to suck it up. Unless of course you want to move to another country that may follow your ideals. I don’t see a mass exodus of people so I think that one’s a bust.
So here is the deal, I respect your beliefs, your spiritual choices, sexual choices, marital choices, and all of the choices regarding how you as an individual decide to live your life. Then you can back off and respect mine. If my beliefs include Christ being born on Christmas, or I chose to believe in Santa you RESPECT that belief.
What is most aggravating to me as a citizen of this great country we all live in is that when someone chooses to express their beliefs if those beliefs do not agree with what is considered to be politically correct, certain people feel this bizarre need to judge. As if some actually woke up one day and gave up their rights to these individuals or groups. Yet when there is real social injustice those same groups have nothing useful to say.
Not a word is heard from these groups when songs come out about capping someone, raping someone, who’s yo babies daddy, or just plain old violence towards women.. That apparently is politically Ok. Where is the hypocrisy in this lovely country we live in, why simple it's in our government, the media, Hollywood, and organizations that demand respect but can't seem to respect someone's spiritual views at a venue that is directly related to those same views.
Yes I am mentioning the Phil Robertson comments because it does all relate. How ignorant do you have to be to blast someone for their religious believes when there expressed in a church setting that pertains to that faith. If my grandma were still alive she would say the same thing. That isn’t disrespecting you ninnie heads! So instead of being offended and demanding off with their head how about allowing the man to his beliefs. Just as you want to be respected for  and allowed to voice yours.
I do consider myself a support of American rights there is no gender line, no religious line, and certainly no judgement line. RESPECT is a two way street, you want it but you're unwilling to give it. That is a form of discrimination  all by itself.
Merry Christmas, God Bless, both phrases  are not considered politically correct.What we say is our right just as you have the right to say what you want and not be judged. I get to say “Merry Christmas.”

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Home Stretch

Finishing What We Start
     Finally another semester comes to its end. It is with perhaps a little bit of sorrow that I close the door on this one. For myself,  I found the experience of getting to know my classmates in Creative Writing an experience I will never forget. When you write you lay a part of yourself bare. In part  to put the emotion into it,  you have to commit to the work. When you don’t, it does show in the writing. So this particular class was at times hard, not because the work was difficult. I love to write, it is simply a part of  whom I am.
     What was hard at first was allowing others to  see my own work and how my process goes. It isn’t easy to hear others critique your words, or make suggestions on how to improve that idea. What for me was bittersweet was being allowed the opportunity to sit in a class with so many truly talented young people. (God I can’t believe I said that.) They are the future of writing, in a world that has evolved into blogs, and internet publishing. There skills and talent as future writers is amazing, and I know should they choose to pursue it they will be a gift to the world of literature.
     Yes,  even my Statistics class is finally done, and I have to admit I did far better than I ever expected to. Which is amazing in and of itself as I was terrified of taking it. Math as I have said is not my strong suite. Unless its an accounting sheet, I am usually stumped.

     So here I sit. My desk looks like a bomb has gone off on it. Cluttered with items for the store, papers to file and paperwork to go through. Dogs snoring away in their pen. Juggle juggle juggle! It is a huge part of my life, that  keeps a balance in my home.
     Today I learned that little boys can be incredible people to. That their capacity for kindness can far exceed the rest of the worlds expectations. I am a proud mom and am blessed with wonderful kids. So its time to take a deep breath, and dive into Christmas before it starts all over again for the next leg of my journey. I don’t mind how busy life can be, I just wish there were more hours in a day so I could get more done and maybe sleep in once in a while.
     In looking back over this journey, I am amazed that I am on the final leg or final semester. Come May, I will be graduating, and I am proud of how far I have managed to get down this road. I know that my husband is a big part of my getting where I am. He doesn't always understand the exactly what I am after, but he is here for me and supports me even when he winds up in bed alone some nights hours before me.
     There are people who make us better human beings just by being a part of our lives. They challenge us, fight with us, and love us despite our idiotic tangents. Real love makes you a better person then you were. It isn’t about changing who you are but completing you as a person. Balance. I can think of no one more important to have standing in that crowd come May then my  husband Tom and my family. They are a big part of this journey. They have dealt with my snarky moods when work, home and school have gotten to be too much.  Those moments when I looked at an assignment and thought “My god how am I ever going to get this done.” Their steady support and love is so much more than I could have ever hoped for.
     It is the glue that keeps me sane in an insane world. Its what makes me laugh when I want to cry, and gives me hope for the world we all live in. Someone once said how does a 90 pound woman eat a whole bear. One bite at a time. School and life are like that, anything is possible if you take it one step one moment at a time.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Racism Not Really In the Past Where it Should Be

One of the things that have always amazed me as an observer of people is the ongoing need for racist views. Now you may be thinking that I am talking about discrimination from a normal standpoint of European American  individuals against Hispanics or African Americans. Unfortunately, I am not. What I am talking about is the stupid level of reverse discrimination that does exist in the world we live in.

If you really think about it, today when there are so many couples of mixed origin you would think we as a culture would be past that. After all if we're honest those lines in the sand that existed 40 to 100 years ago really don't exist. What I find disturbing is when people of mixed origin will tell their kids to find a nice girl of a particular race that is equivalent to what they think they are or whom they chose to identify with.

Racism hurts everyone
     This is rather foolish because genetic studies of the population have already shown that we are all more closely related than was believed prior. In other words,  many of us come from the same gene pool. So when a person of African American descent asks their kid why they cant find a nice African American girl I do tend to take offense. Why?
      The simple truth is that when men like Martin Luther King fought for civil rights, he was fighting for equality to be treated like everyone else. His dream has been twisted, and corrupted by ignorance of what he and others envisioned the world as. Doing away with those lines in the sand was a big part of his goal and part of that does mean not turning around now and deliberately teaching our young to segregate themselves from the outside world.
     It also means not making excuses to not  fire someone who isn't doing their job because they are labeled a minority. How is that not racism, most people go to work do their job and earn a pay check. Yet if your have been classified as a minority your safe because no one wants to be accused of racism. Ironically others who have also been labeled as a minority who do work and do their jobs feel the same frustration with a system that has been exploited. Who hasn't come across that person who plays the system for everything they can because they know they are safe no matter what they do.
     This goes for people who use languages such as Spanish, French, Chinese, Turkish, or even Japanese to keep others out. It is the same kind of elitist segregation that many from all different cultures fought against when they came to this country when it was young. Anywhere you look you can still see individuals holding on to ignorant separatist ideals that make them feel superior to others.

Hate is taught
     When your standing in a line to check out and you hear someone speaking in Russian, or
Spanish it is no different. If you want to be a part of something bigger then change, is important. Respect for languages and rules that are in place is necessary, or we fall into chaos not unlike we are headed now.
     As a loving grandma to a grandson who is half Ecuadorian, I am stymied when I hear that people are still holding fast to racist ideals. Sad if you think about the fact that it isn’t  the “European Americans” who are behaving so badly. Who would have thought that you could refer to people as a racist who weren’t card carrying members of the KKK.  
      We talk about equality but isn’t it a two way street, one that allows for all people to be treated with dignity and respect. When we teach our children that one race, faith, sexual orientation, or color is unacceptable, we are, in fact, teaching hate. Yet we sit here and make excuses based on a past, that is in the past for these ignorant choices. Yes,  ignorant when you push your kids to marry someone of a particular color, race, sexual orientation or religion.
Children don't see each other as different. 
     We are all supposed to be enlightened we teach it in our schools yet from the White House on down children are still being taught to draw that line in the sand. They are being taught to see the difference, when we are all just people who should be past this. There isn’t one cultural group that hasn’t suffered some atrocity in their past, let it go! Be smart enough to get past the ignorance of the past and reach for a united future that doesn’t see our differences but sees us each as individuals and what we can accomplish as a whole. 

Its More then Just a Dream

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