Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday High Fives

Ummm, are we really just 6 days away from Christmas? How in the world does that happen? I swear it was just July like last week. I'm. Not. Ready.

No matter how much I've tried to plan ahead, there just hasn't been enough time to prepare this season. Between feeding sessions and naps, I have roughly 1.5-3 hour increments of when I can be actively doing anything these days which makes Christmas shopping a challenge. With a 2 hour window, I have just enough time to load up, get to a store, shop at one place and then head back. I need one solid 5-6 hour day to crank out some serious holiday cheer! Oh well, maybe next year.

And as I scurry through the holiday hustle and bustle, these high fives have kept me fa-la-la-la-la'ing...
 
  • Christmas music. If you ask Scrooge  the Hubs, he could take or leave the Christmas tunes, but not I. Play em loud and play em proud. Extra points if you sing along in your car. You know you want to!
    • Want to be thoroughly entertained, let me do my best rendition of the lamest Christmas carol ever, Little Drummer Boy. Seriously, who wrote a song and said half way through the composition process "ya know what this song needs? Approximately 35 "pa-rump-a-pum-pums" strategically placed throughout. Ugh.
  • A good 4 month check up for the Munch. He's 14lbs and 12oz of cuteness and good health.
  • Christmas cookies. Duh.
  • My in-laws returning from Mexico. Although theirs tans are slightly annoying me as my skin remains one tone above see-through.
  • My mom being on the mend after a bout with Pneumonia that put her in the hospital for a few days. Scary!
  • The Hubs knocking out a little Christmas shopping for me.
  • Hosting the Howard family Christmas party at our home tomorrow night and then two of our friends and their littles for dinner on Sunday.
  • This song. This song needs no explanation.

  • Participating in my good friends Holiday Market. Her and her husband and 5 kids (and no that's not a typo. FIVE kids at 34 years old) bought a western town as their new home and she hosted a holiday market for a few of us local handmade and vintage vendors. It was a fun evening with some Christmas shopping and wine thrown in the mix. More on the western town later. Only they could pull off living in a western town with moxie.
Here it is in its glory. And yes, that's a pool in the center of the "town". Crazy!
     
     
    
  • Our 2nd annual Growth Group Christmas party. I'm growing to really love our group and although we're all so different, we all mesh well together and continue to grow together. As per tradition, we partook in a white elephant exchange that did not disappoint. Tim and I took home a singing Christmas tree that scared the dickens out of our dog and the dreaded ceramic cat vase. This dang cat appeared in the exchange last year and I just knew it was coming back. Sure enough, I'm now the proud owner. Grrrreeeaaaattt. That sucker is returning to said exchange in 2015. Believe it.
And for your viewing pleasure, here are some of the "lovely" gifts:

Who doesn't want a koozie from our wedding with a chilled Miller High Life and photo of us from our wedding? That's some straight up mantle material! Don't panic, there was more in the bag than just those gems.
 



Our little Munchie loves Steve and Courtney.
 

 
The group.


 
Apparently we have now introduced a mini-cat into the fun since one ceramic cat is not enough. Geez, now there's two ceramic cats to dodge. Erik looks jazzed about his new pet, doesn't he? 
 

 
Heather received a naked doll with dreadlocks and platform shoes. The best part was the large plastic ziplock baggie it came in from Goodwill. Creepy, much. So glad I didn't pick that one!
 

 
I hope your weekends are merry and bright as we prepare for our Savior's birth!
Happy Friday, Y'all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Mother and Her Son

Let me start this by being 100% transparent with you. I always, always thought that I'd have a girl first when it came to children. Every time I thought about having kids, the mental picture started with a girl. I'm not sure why it did, but it did. The first few months that I was pregnant, I just knew there was a baby girl forming who would wear frilly tutus, big cheerleader-like hair bows and the world's smallest bikinis. I just knew my future best friend was being knitted together by His hands. I just knew it.

Until the day that we got our genetic testing results back and the form stated in black and white "99.99% male fetus". I read it, and reread those words. I'm no math wizard, but 99.99% seems pretty air-tight to me. What I thought I had known was completely wrong. Half wrong that is.

I may not have a little girl who is going to rock my world in pink and bows, although I do like a man who can rock pink, BUT I still have my future best friend who He DID, indeed, knit together wonderfully. Our Lord is a much smarter soul than I and I think he knew just how much and how deep I'd fall for my little man long before I read that 99.99 figure. And he was 100% correct. I'm head over heels for a short, bald man who constantly burps and toots and insists on making me smell slightly like spit up. Hook, line and sinker. I'm a lost cause, folks.

If you haven't discovered Jaime Primak Sullivan, let me introduce you to my new, daily obsession. Jaime came into my world this fall compliments of middle of the night feedings. Her show, Jersey Belle, was sometimes the only thing on at 2:30am unless I wanted to watch all the amazing things WEN hair products can do for me. Needless to say, Jersey Belle won out every time. After I had completed the JB season, I was lucky enough to stumble across Jaime's Facebook page and discovered her CawfeeTawk video series. Hello, daily inspiration!

My mornings now start with a daily CawfeeTawk video and I'm always a better person for having spent those 5 minutes with Jaime. She's real, she's honest, she's a believer with edge and quite a few times I feel as though she's read the unwritten journal in my head. Some days she makes me laugh, others she makes me cry, but on all the days she makes me smile. She's a wonderfully imperfect mother, just like the rest of us, and I don't know about you, but those moms are my favorite.

Her recent video about her first date with her 5 year old son was one of the sweetest I've seen thus far. Her words are the words that have been tattooed on my heart since August 13th. The love story between a mother and son is one of the sweetest love stories of all time, as she shares. Aside from the love a girl has for her father, what other male-female love is one that will span the test of time and that has no official start date or end date? That love is there the moment you know the other person exists. There's no winning each other over. There's no game play or awkward first date. Sure, there may be hardships and your relationship may ebb and flow at times, but that love? That love is as deep as it is long, and high and wide. It's infinite. It's a love story created by our Maker and those are simply thee best kind.

I hope you enjoy her words as much as I did. Mommas of boys, grab a tissue just in case. And then go hold your little man on your lap and keep doing it until he doesn't fit anymore. I can't wait for my first date with a man who already holds my heart.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday High Fives

We made it! And these are a few things that helped get me there:
  • My crockpot. There's just something wonderful about coming home to a meal that's sittin' and a waitin' for you.
  • Cheesy, made for TV Christmas movies. Extra points if Candace Cameron Bure is part of the cast.
  • No snow this week!
  • Baby giggles. Our munchie apparently finds my random noises funny so I proceeded to make them for roughly 30 minutes. They should seriously have 2 minute breaks on the radio that are nothing but baby laughs. It's like medicine for the soul.
video
  • Being told you "look so pretty, like a pretty present in your outfit". Why, thank you!
  • Oberweis Egg Nog. Festively delicious.
  • Our neighbors dropping off a welcome gift of sweet treats from Crate & Barrel and Satin Hands from Mary Kay. If you see me this time of year, you know that my hands suffer greatly from the weather. This gift was relief to my crypt keeper hands.
Sadly, that's about all I've got. It hasn't been the best of weeks, but there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

Happy Friday, Y'all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It Can Only Go Up From Here

Do ever have days that suck the life right of you? Or how about days where escaping the world for a second sounds simply divine? Well, my Tuesday was one of those days. It was bad and just kept getting worse all the way up until my head hit the pillow. If my Tuesday had a soundtrack it would've been comprised of the song below. On repeat. Full blast.



After running from one meeting to the next, I finally had an opportunity to be still for a few minutes. Warning-I'm about to write about pumping. Sorry dudes. Thanks to being a working mom, I have the tedious glorious task of pumping throughout the day for my little one. As I went through the motions of pumping and working, my brain zoned out with the hum of the machine and away I went on the computer. That was until I noticed that my lap felt oddly warm. Insert the biggest brain blunder EVER here.

Hmmm, my lap feels warm. What could be causing this feeling you ask? Oh ya know, nothing big, just roughly 3oz of milk pooling on my skirt in my lap. WHAT??? In my going through the motions mental state, I had somehow not attached a container for said milk meaning that every drop had pooled in my lap. This went on for 5 minutes before it seeped through two layers of skirt AND fleece tights. As I sprang up from my chair, milk went everywhere. Have you ever cried over spilled milk? I can tell you now that I have. I'm seriously losing my mind, friends. This could get ugly.

The best part of this disaster? It's only 3pm and my outfit is soaked straight through with no change of clothes in sight. Nothing like wearing your winter coat at your desk for the rest of the work day to cover your soaking went clothes. Sigh.

I wish I could say that things got better from here, but my nighttime activities made me almost wish I was back at work covered in milk. We had a horribly and uncharacteristically unhappy baby who would scream (and not just cry, but scream) if we so much as sat down with him. Don't even think about setting him in his swing, momma. Ain't happening tonight. Therefore, my worn out self stood with him in a dark room when I really just prayed he'd take an evening nap to give this day some sort of reprieve.

Again, I wish I could tell you that things got better from here, but no go. As we began our bedtime ritual of one last feeding, diaper change, etc...Wrigley came over to me and asked to be lifted onto the couch. As he cozied up next to me and tried to make his "nest" on the blanket on the couch, he looked me right in the eyes and peed. Right there on the couch, he peed. At that moment I was just done. Done with a capital "are you kidding me, man?????"

Who else got to cap their crappy day off with 20 minutes of couch scrubbing and sanitizing at 10:30pm? If you raised your hand, come sit next to me. I'll buy the first round. And mostly likely the second.

It can only go up from here, right?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Facebook Soapbox



After moving 1,000 miles away from a place that had been home for 16 years, Facebook has become my lifeline to so many people, places and events that had grown very near and dear to my heart. It's my way to watch my friends' babies grow up, my way to still see what my favorite military college is up to, a way to live vicariously through posts on my favorite restaurants, beaches, etc... It's a portal to "home" if you will, and therefore I tend to spend more time on Facebook than I had in the past.

With that being said, I've begun to collect a few FB peeves that I feel compelled to share today, if for no other reason than I can't think of anything else to write about. I'm a creative wizard, aren't I? There's such method to the creative madness up in here. Or, not.  Any who...

Peeve #1: It irks me to no end when people complain about what someone else posts on this social network. I've heard so many people complain about "so and so only posts motivational quotes" or "so and so only posts stupid updates about their kids" and the list goes on. My thought to that is "so?" The last time I checked, our profiles were just that...OURS. Post whatever nonsense you feel like posting. It's your page! Want to motivate me with your quotes? Go on with your bad self! Want to tell me that your kid ate 3 hot dogs and then threw them up in the backseat? Done and done. As long as you're not airing your family's dirty laundry or hurting someone with your words, post away pal.
  • Solution: Don't want to see what someone posts? Just un-follow their updates. Easy-peasy. You can still stay friends with them online and in the real world, but this way no one has to be annoyed anymore. Who are we to say what is "post worthy" on someone else's profile. It's THEIR profile. That's how things are designed to work or we'd all have one joint profile platform where I could tell you that you're dumb for posting your daggum Candy Crush scores every dang day.
Peeve #2: Hunting season pictures. Good Lord people, please use a disclaimer before you upload a bloody, dead animal photo. These get me every single time. There I am, scrolling through my newsfeed and -BAM- there's poor Bambi in the back of someone's F150. It ain't right people. I think Facebook should create some sort of rule where photos must only contain alive and well type things, ya know? How long is hunting season again?
  • Solution: Please post an update that says "Hey wussy friends, the next post will contain a buttload of dead, lifeless ducks spread out on a bench with me grinning proudly behind it in camo. Look away or scroll super fast if needed." I just can't start my day with the members of Noah's Ark laid out as trophies. I'd un-follow you, as per my above listed solution, but you're often very sneaky in that you rarely post anything so I have no reason to un-follow until -BAM- November hits and your death posts abound.
Peeve #3: The selfie queen. I'm pretty confident in labeling this peeve in a female fashion as I don't know too many dudes who constantly post selfies. I know, I know, I may sound hypocritical here as you should be entitled to post whatever your heart desires on your page, but this one sort of defies the laws of un-following for me. For a lot of the selfie queens, I actually like what you post on a regular basis and I enjoy seeing your daily lives via this network. I simply wish that you took less photos of yourself at an extremely close range. It's nothing personal really, I'm just of the belief that photos should include more than just the photographer. Isn't it more fun to ask your friends or kids to be in the photo?
  • Solution: Maybe just ask others to join in your camera fun every once in awhile. Like your outfit or having a phenomenal hair day? You go, girl! Now ask someone to snap a picture of you and friend with your bomb.com hair. Everyone wins really. You get to immortalize your perfect hair day and we don't have to see your face larger than life on our screens or in a bathroom mirror reflection. Bathroom mirror photos on the world wide web=all kinds of wrong. Just no.
Alright Internet friends, dish on your peeves. I know you've got them. Chances are if we're friends on FB I've probably annoyed you a time or two. After all, I am entering new territory and run the risk of over-posting when it comes to our munchie. The good news is you can always hide me as outlined above. You may miss my life altering posts about discovering Cookie Butter or 1,000 photos of my son sleeping, but that's your prerogative. We can still be friends, I promise.

Monday, December 8, 2014

On the Day You Were Born

I've always known that I would write about our son's "birth" day, more so as a way to capture it for him to read one day. However every time I sit down to do it, the task seems much too large for my brain to compute. Tonight, I've decided it's time. As his 4th month on our planet approaches, the time has come to put the memories into written words that we can hold onto for decades to come when memories become foggy and tales become larger.

Baby boy, this story is for you...

With your due date over a week away, I headed into Dr. C's office for my standard, weekly check up. These weekly visits were pretty predictable and quick. I'd stand on the dreaded scale, which had begun to flash pictures of all of the donuts I had craved along with the pounds that had not-so-gracefully planted themselves on my face. I'd pick my pride up off the floor and move into the exam room for a brief visit and then be sent on my merry way. Until this day. This day went very different than the last.

Due to the decrease in your growth, as shown in a follow-up ultrasound, there was concern on the nurse's face. To ensure you were still safe and well inside, I was put in a quiet, little room and strapped to a fetal heart rate monitor. From there, we'd sit and listen to your heartbeat for the next 30-40 minutes or so. Although I was becoming nervous, the sound of your strong and consistent heartbeat was music to this momma's ears. You were certainly alive and well! After I was cleared to head home, my cell phone rang with Dr. C's voice on the other end. With your growth having slowed to an almost standstill, it was time to get you outta there. You were no longer being nourished as we would like, so it was safer for you on the outside. We were given 19 hours to tie up lose ends at home and at work and then report to the hospital. It was a phone call I'll never forget. I was going to meet you very soon! Or at least within 36-40 hours of the induction, as the doctor had warned. 36-40 hours of labor???? Needless to say, I did not sleep well on the night before you were born.

video


As we drove to the hospital, it seemed only fitting that we'd start YOUR journey with a special song that your dad had shared with me a few months before. As an avid George Strait fan, your dad had heard this song and knew right away that it reminded him of our story, your story. So on the 10 minute ride to the hospital, we listened to it twice. It was the only thing we listened to on our last car ride of just us two.

From there things went smoothly. The induction began and I'm actually torn on whether or not I think that portion was almost as painful as the labor itself, but either way, you'll have plenty of time to hear me remind you of that pain when you're entering your moody teenage years. I digress. As the day went on, things seemed to progress slowly as a few family members came and went and nursing shifts turned over. That was until my glorious miracle that we call an epidural. Praise the Lord for creating the doctor/genius who would invent this drug. At that stage in the game, I was done with the pain and the slow progression. Even the Nash soundtrack we had created for your delivery, was starting to wear thin and I was losing steam. This miracle drug was so splendid that I actually considered changing your name to honor the doctor who administered the drug. True story. Ask your dad. But alas, his name was Victor and you just didn't strike me as a Victor. Hopefully my consideration of taking his name was gratitude enough. He seemed flattered in that moment.

From there, our labor nurse, who deserves a blog post all by herself, told your dad and I to try and sleep for a few hours as we'd wait for things to move along. Your dad put on his sweatpants, I washed all of my make-up off that I had applied at 4am the day before in the hopes of looking impossibly fresh for our first ever meeting and we turned off the lights. Roughly 30 minutes later, our nurse came in to check on me "just in case" and informed us that "it was time to push!" What? Had I really just gone from 3 cm to 10 in 30 minutes?! Sure enough. You were coming, Munchie!!

Our plan had always been for your dad, who is a bit squeamish around medical situations, to sit by my head and serve as moral support for me while the staff handled the rest. However, with your quick progression, the doctor had just gone home to get some rest, so it would have to be me, your dad and our nurse. That's it. Meet your dream team, Munchie. Time to dive right in, dad!

As the pushing began, your heart rate began to drop with every push which meant an oxygen mask for me to help keep you safe. From there, I pushed for roughly 20 minutes and there you were. A full head of hair and all. It was by far the most surreal moment of my life. The doctor made it in time for 2-3 pushes. And your dad dropped my completely numb leg when you made your arrival. Out you came and I felt my numb leg hit the table like a 500lb rock as Dr. C proclaimed "dude, you just dropped her leg!" Apparently your entrance was so surreal for your dad that he forgot that he was supporting my very real leg.

At roughly 1:22am, I saw your head and tiny body and I heard your cry for the first time. I had known you for 39 weeks and had held you for 39 weeks, but for the first time I could see you in the flesh and hear that voice. It was perfect. You were perfect.

You cried loudly, as I'm sure you were scared of your new surroundings, but the minute they laid you on my chest and your eyes met mine, you stopped. You just stopped and stared at me. It was the first time I got the joy of being your comfort and your safe place. I knew right then that I'd ALWAYS be your safe place for as long you'll let me. I hope that "as long as you'll let me" will be my forever.



And as I stared into those eyes that would forever melt my heart, you peed on me. Yep, straight at my face, but luckily, by the grace of God, my ninja-like mom skills kicked in and I blocked it. Thus began our mother and son bond of no bodily functions being off limits anymore. From that moment on we were thick as thieves.

From August 13th at 1:21am on, you have been a joy, a gift, and a real life miracle. You are the baby that we thought we lost so many times in the beginning. I can still remember crying myself to sleep one night as I mourned you and prayed that the Lord would reunite us some day, only to still see your tiny heartbeat as they had us rush in for an ultrasound to assess the situation. Each time they/we thought you were leaving us, there you'd be, hanging on. There are no words to express the gratitude that I have for the fact that you "hung on" each and every time. No words. You're a fighter and I pray you use the same strength and perseverance to fight for great things in your future.


On the day you were born, I became a mom, your dad became and father and you became our greatest adventure yet. We cannot wait to see where your journey takes us. We love you.


Meeting your dad for the first time.
 

Our first family photo ever.
 

Happy Birth-day, baby.
 

And in the end we met without make-up and brushed hair, and neither of us seemed to care one bit. We had all that mattered right there in our arms.






Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thanksgiving

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of delicious food, family and friends, laughter and many, many reasons to slow down and give thanks. We're all blessed beyond belief compared to so many!

As per tradition, the Hubs and I (and now the little munchie as we call him), ventured out for our day of feast and family. With much of our families in the area, we typically have anywhere from 2 to 3 family celebrations that we fit in on this holiday. It's exhausting but I wouldn't want it any other way!

We ate WAY too much at both meals, we relaxed and we dominated at the annual Spoons tournament. All in all, it was an awesome day.

There were roughly 12 side dishes at both meals.
There were hugs and handshakes.
There was a minor dog fight.
There was a nap that I tried to sneak off for until my brother found me. Punk.
There was a Macy's parade and a Bears game.
There was a plaque for the winner of our tournament.
There were new scratches added to my aunt's dining room table and spoons and nails fought their way.
There were scratched knuckles as we battled to the finish.
There were two Freibergs in the championship round with only one winner. Ahem;)
There was a guest from China who seemed to enjoy our American holiday.
There were little cousins which brought laughs, cuddles and a few lines of "Let It Go."
There were cuddle times between munchie and his great grandmas.
There were cuddle times between munchie and his second cousin Myra.
There were guitar jammies on Thanksgiving that had once belonged to cousin Jack and are now the perfect size for our sleepy munch.
There were Christmas carols in the car.
There was the decorating of our tree and napping under the lights for our fur baby.
There was bumbo chair sitting and snuggle time with blankies.
There was party mix baking with dad and watching Elf (the Hub's first time ever).
And there were so many reasons to be thankful. Oh so many. And we were.

I hope your Thanksgiving was full of just as many "there were's"!









Monday, December 1, 2014

Dark Friday


There is nothing that I need badly enough to sleep outside for on a freezing, November night in Illinois. Well, maybe a year of free Chick-Fil-A, but even that one is questionable. A TV? No way, Jose.

If you're one of those crazies people that enjoy a good Black Friday adventure, more power to you. I hope you were successful in your endeavors and made it through the night/morning without any injury or assault. Me and my pillow cheered you on from a far.

Sure, I've ventured out one time in the wee morning hours on a Black Friday once just to see what the hype was all about, and although it was fun for a few hours, once was quite enough for this gal. I can still remember standing in a line outside of Michaels at 4am with my friend while nervous energy coursed through my veins as we waited for the doors to swing open wide and let us in for the pickin'. Looking back on that morning, I find myself asking many questions, but the most prominent one would be "why on earth was I in line at Michael's of all places?!" I walked out of there with a bag full of fake flowers and thought I was a one cool chick. I kept thinking to myself "do you know how money I just saved!!" There are many things wrong with that thought process in hindsight, but a few off the top of my head would be 1) I hate fake flowers. They have to be REALLY good (and I mean REALLY good) for me to utilize a fake floral. That bag contained ZERO good ones. 2) Why did I wake up at 3am and brave the crowds for stupid, fake flowers? 3) Why did I have nervous energy coursing through my veins as I stood outside of a craft store? What the what? Again, it's just all kinds of wrong.

Our next stop...Target. The mecca of Black Friday chaos. I can still remember to this day, grown women running to the DVD aisle caps for their $4 movie deals. So what did I do? Duh! I ran with them. Was there a single movie that I NEEDED to purchase, even at the bargain price of $4? He@# no. But you bet your bottom dollar that I snagged up about 3 movies that I could've cared less about. But friends, they were $4! Lame, I know. At least I got $.75 for them at my garage sale, right?

My second purchase at that shiny, happy store at 5:30am? An electronic dart board for $4.99. S-C-O-R-E! Guess how many times I played that thing? T-W-O. Yep, two times. That's only one more time than one. So worth the money right? Nope. But I still remember snatching that thing up from the shelf like it was a Tickle Me Elmo circa 1997. I blame it on mob mentality. It had to be. They probably could've been selling poo in a bag tied with a pretty, glittery ribbon for $.99 and people would've pushed and shoved for that dang poo. And you know what, I might've been right behind them thinking "Oh no, there's only 4 bags of glitter poo left and 5 people in front of me. Go, go, go! Must. Get. Poo. NNNOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!"

From that dark Friday on, I've done my best to stay home or at the very least, wait until the those die hard Black'ers are done and finally crashing into their new $3.99 (with a $2 mail in rebate) Christmas flannel sheets that they stood outside for until their runny noses turned into snot-cicles. Until there's something that I cannot live without, which will most likely be never, I shall sleep my way through Black Friday and keep my dignity and wallet in check.

Anything you just couldn't live without this season? Do tell!



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful



Today I am thankful for family that love and support me, but that don't take me too seriously.

I'm thankful for my health and the health of those I love.

I'm thankful for friends, both near and far.

I'm thankful those friends can make the worst day brighter with a simple text, hug or hang out.

I'm also thankful that those friends are people with whom I can be away from for months and then the minute I can see them and touch them, we're back right where we left off.

I'm thankful for WAY more than I deserve when it comes to shelter, nourishment, and warmth. I've never gone without. Never.

I'm thankful for a career that not only pays the bills but that gives me an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our community members with the gift of education.

I'm thankful for my fur baby, Piggy, who has had a challenging year with no longer being the only baby and dealing with a move, but who has weathered those challenges with the best of em.

I'm thankful for my son. He is the gift that I look at every day and think "is he really mine?" I will do my best to not screw this up, and when I do make mistakes, I'll hopefully be quick to correct those mistakes and cover them with love.

I'm thankful for the Hubs who is a phenomenal provider, pillar, listener, friend, and partner through this crazy life that we share.

I'm thankful for my faith and for a God who is never far from me regardless of how far I may be from Him. He is the God of second chances. And third chances. And fourth...

And most all, I'm thankful for this life that I'm given every day that my eyes open and I take my first breath of the day. I don't take it for granted and I pray that I'm making mine count.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I count you among my many thanks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dear Ferguson

Dear Ferguson,

I write this letter to you not as expert on the Michael Brown case, but simply as a concerned and frightened outsider looking in. I do not pretend nor claim to know what you're feeling. What Michael Brown's death means to you is something that only you truly know. You're entitled to your feelings on this tragic event and no one should ever tell you how YOU can or cannot feel right now. No one.

What I can tell you though, is that the actions of some of your citizens make me question what the real heart of the matter is on this case. I can understand sadness. I get heartache. Anger? Of course. If you do not agree with the verdict, I totally get anger. Confusion? Absolutely. Pure hatred? I don't see it. Disregard for innocent bystanders whose businesses and livelihood you just took away in your rage? I just can't fathom. Complete anarchy? Theft and robbery? Not for one second. You have crossed the line from being entitled to your feelings to acting out on them and inflicting pain on those around you, and that, I CAN tell you, is just not right.

As I sat in my still and dimly lit living room at 3:30am with my 3 month old son, I couldn't help but shake my head in sadness and defeat as I watched your rapidly growing turmoil unfold. It was as though I was watching a war zone in another country. How can this be? How can a group of individuals wage complete war on an already grieving community? How is any of this doing anything but more harm? How has the victim's mother urged you to implement peace, and your response is with fire and theft and bodily harm? She is the who lost a son, brother, friend, cousin, etc... Why aren't you listening?! Is this truly about him or is this about you?

I will not weigh in on my thoughts on the verdict, and to be honest, I'm not sure I have an opinion as I have not seen any of the evidence myself. What I will weigh in on is how your actions have destroyed the American dream for so many of your innocent peers. You have broken into their places of business, you have destroyed their property that they worked so hard for and paid for out of their own wallets, you have taken away jobs from those who will not have a place of business to report to this morning, and for what? What have you proved? How have you helped strengthen Michael Brown's legacy? Because, after all, isn't this what your protesting should be about?

This morning in Ferguson there is no school for your youth. No school for your leaders of tomorrow because it's not safe for them to be outside of their homes. How is your "protesting" the lack of safety and fairness of one individual worth more than the safety of ALL of your children and teens? What message are you sending to your littles? The message that it's totally acceptable to unleash extreme anarchy when our judicial system is not in line with your own personal opinion? The message that if someone wrongs you, you can go out and destroy someone else's livelihood regardless of whether or not they're at all involved?

I'm no expert, but that grand jury knew that you'd be awaiting their verdict and with a verdict of this nature, you'd be ready to unleash a fury on Ferguson like no other. That alone makes me think that they most likely weighed every angle and every piece of evidence, probably multiple times, to ensure that they felt confident in their decision. They could've easily indicted Officer Wilson to avoid your actions. I believe what they did was pretty courageous (again not knowing the hard facts). Me? I'm not sure as I wife and mother that I would've been that courageous. I may have voted to pass the buck and go to trial simply to avoid your resistance on my hometown and my safety.

In a matter of hours, you have made me sad, angry, frightened and ironically, a bit thankful. You allowed me a very raw and honest moment where I hugged my new son that might tighter as you lived out your actions on my TV screen and I promised my son to do my part to ensure that he grows up in a home where there is a difference between right and wrong, and where that difference is known and lived out on a daily basis. You've given me a first hand example of every parent's mantra of "two wrongs don't make a right". I don't know that I've ever witnessed such a strong example of that before last night. You've shaken my sense of security a bit and may cause me to keep my son that much closer, and you've made me extremely sad for Michael Brown's family who now has to deal with the loss of their son and the loss of the safety of their community. I'm guessing that momma's heart is extremely heavy right now. I know mine is.

I'll be praying for you, Ferguson.