Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Not to sound racist, but

Alright folks. Here goes.

I am not one to get up on my soap box for much of anything. I have hard opinions on things like... The damn toilet paper goes on the roll holder as soon as it makes an appearance in the bathroom. And, There's no reason to put sweetener in coffee. But you won't usually hear me talk politics or race or the death penalty.

Until now.

I grew up in a very vanilla part of the United Sates. Maine, to be exact. And while my step sister is in fact "mixed"***.. and I have several biological aunts and uncles that are "mixed"... I hadn't really come across anyone who didn't look just like me.

(***I am using the term "mixed" here despite the fact that I hate that term. Mixed? Mixed how? Thrown together in a pail and swirled around? What does that even mean??!  It's a common term that I just don't like, but I do not have a better way of saying "A "Black" man and a "White" woman got it on, and had lovely caramel babies." Because frankly, I don't even like to use the terms "Black" and "White". We're all God's children darn it.. Start acting like it. We're flipping "PEOPLE")

I digress.

White. Painfully white. Folks of deep French or Irish descent. And primarily Catholic.
My sister WAS the exotic participant in our local school system. Yet, I had never dealt with any form of racism until my twenties. I'm sure she dealt with some, no matter where you live there seems to be a group of people who just have hate in their heart and if you don't look just like them they will dislike you, but other than one incident involving an uncle calling her some sort of name and her clapping back with "It doesn't matter if I'm purple with pink polka dots...." (A quite vivid memory I may add) I just didn't know racism was a thing.

Now I live in the South.
With my Yankee mentality.
Learning to keep my mouth shut every time someone was ignorant was a very hard lesson. One that took years. I used to snap back quickly when things didn't conform to my own ideals. I would pout and fuss and just delete the mess and move on by myself. I had no time for anyone who didn't do things my way. And I sure didn't understand the fuss between colors. Like.. "What? Oh, yea.. His skin looks different than mine. Wanna get a pizza later?"-Me probably.

Well. You can't have that way of thinking down here.
I moved down south and was shell shocked into a culture that I had only read about in books. People are very VERY slow down here. Not just driving. (Don't get me started) But everything they do is done with the attitude that it will just get done when it gets done.
But they are slow in their thinking as well.
They don't like change.
They do it because their PawPaw did it this way, and his PawPaw and his PawPaw and so on. It worked for them, so it should work for me... Even though now there are new inventions that make this thing go faster and cost less money...

And don't get me started on the term "Christian". Where I come from it means a Follower of Christ. Where I live now, it means you don't worship Satan. It took me many years to realize that just because someone calls themselves a Christian does not mean they follow Christ. (Bible Belt??? Why???? I'm pretty sure most of the people I've met down here don't even OWN a Bible..)

Again.. I digress.

I have learned a lot about humans Americans since moving to the "Bible Belt".

Of all the things that I don't understand here, race is the big one.
I don't understand how all these people can go to church on Sunday and lift their hands to God, then go to work on Monday and use "The N Word" so freely? (Just for example)

One of the Pharisees once asked Jesus which is the greatest commandment, to which Christ replied "Love The Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment." Then He followed it up with "And the Second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22: 36-39 NIV)

Two. You've got two things to do. That's it. So darn simple. Just love everyone.

My daughter has an amazing Father and wonderful Mother. Her Mother is Black. Thus making my daughter "Mixed" (I cringe writing that...)
My daughter is gorgeous. She's everything that I wished my sixteen year old self was. Makeup game so strong. Amazing artist. Flawless dancer. Way smarter than her own good. Sense of humor beyond her years. And half black.

I can't relate to that. I can relate to everything else.. But I have no experiences to pull from here.
So all of a sudden at thirty years old, I became very aware of race and how the nicest of people can slip their racist mindset quietly into everyday conversation and never bat an eye.

Because their PawPaw did it and his PawPaw did it and his PawPaw did it... It's not wrong.

But it is.

I recently posted a very cute picture (OOTD if you will...) on my facebook page. It was my sweet son wearing shorts because here in the south it has been hitting the high 70's and back home... Well, they had a snow storm this week! I was slightly rubbing it in. ;)
The comments to follow this photo were strange.
Whenever someone starts a sentence with "Not racist but"... You can be sure the comment is about to get racist. And it did. It was a family friend from up north who wanted to rant about how "Them Races" bring crime and jump fences and they're thugs that rob you.
Folks. A picture of my two year old son in shorts brought on a day of fighting race and deleting most of my facebook friends.

I simply commented that I had no idea where he was coming from and I was done with that conversation.

After this mess, I had gone back onto facebook to look at some friend's pictures and saw a posting on someone else's account (Another Yankee friend who has never met more than five people that don't look like them) that said If you can't joke around with race, sexual orientation, or looks..... Then maybe you should just take the stick out of your butt and laugh a little."

Joke around with race?
This comment slapped me in the face.
All the years of folks fighting for equal rights... All the lives lost on all sides of Race Wars? The people who devoted their entire lives just to see black kids go to school?
This is something we can joke about?
If you are ignorant and don't know the struggle that Black people have gone through and are still going through today.. This comment may not mean a thing to you.
You may think.. "Dang, Fran? Is it that big of a deal??"
Yea it is.

A very sweet neighbor girl of ours is a friend of our daughter. White girl, probably 16. We let our daughter hang out with her because she lives so close and she appears to be a very sweet kid. We have never had any bad feelings about her and she has brought our daughter to church a few times.
No biggie. I would let her in my house any time.

Then my husband was taking a break from working one night around 12 am and he stepped outside for some air.

There is the young girl. In a group of teenagers just hanging out in her front yard. Laughing and chatting it up. Sweet moment. almost brings back memories.

Only.. In the midst of all the giggles and chatting he hears her voice plain as day. Throwing around "The N Word" like it was nothing. Like it was ok for her to be talking about another CHILD (Yea.. At 16 you're still a child. Get over it. You've got years to grow up.) in this manner? Who does this? Who teaches our children that this is ok?

Now.. If they were talking about a homosexual, the police would have been involved real quick. But they were just talking about another kid in their class. A Black kid. A kid not there to defend themselves. And I have to wonder.. Would this conversation be taking place if the child was standing there?

So while I'm really happy that you can look out your white window through a thick fog of ignorance to joke about race, I cannot.
The sad truth is, my daughter isn't growing up in the same world that I did. She is growing up in a world that tells her she is doomed to a life of multiple babies by multiple men. A life of living high on welfare.. Or rather, you paying for her expensive hair, and nails and steaks and ride.
These are lies. But to an impressionable teenager who is bombarded with these images her whole life, these are possibilities.
Keeping kids down by joking about such things is doing so much more harm than good. And it's doing just that.. Keeping them down.

How many kids on the street would be excelling in college if someone told them they could? Instead they are put in these little boxes and labeled "Thug", "Thief", "Ho", I could go on.

But I won't.
Not here.
My little blog posting won't change how races are looked at.
There will still be quiet slurs between mixed company.
There will still be young capable men looked over for jobs because they are a little too dark and may scare customers.
There will still be young women preyed upon as trophies, then tossed out with the garbage for being damaged goods and not good enough to take home.

I'm just a White mother. Wishing for a better world for her kids.

What do I know?

Now please excuse me while I go clean out my Facebook friends list.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Can time stand still?

A few years ago I lost a friend. Not like.. walking through the mall and we got turned around.. I mean he died. Actually, he killed himself. One night he hugged his momma goodnight, went to his room and took a lethal dose of sleeping pills. He made the decision to end his life. Something in his mind was so terrible about living here, that he decided to leave. His mother called me a week later to tell me. She was finally able to speak without hyperventilating. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. I had seen Joe once a week for months. He came into my little store just to see me and laugh. Until his mother told me, I had no idea that I was one of the very few lights in his small world. She said that he would come home after visiting with me and he would tell her the jokes and stories that I had shared with him. They would giggle and laugh with each other and for a few minutes she would see his face light up. Joe had a tendency to break his phone on the regular. It was something that he just couldn’t get away from. And he never had the money for a new one, or even to really get his fixed properly. I would bargain with my techs to fix it for him for cheap/free.. Usually resulting in buying them lunch that day. Joe would call me when he needed phone help. That day he called me. That day I ignored the call. He later text my phone and said “My phone broke. I hate Wednesdays. Aak” I didn’t answer him. I rolled my eyes, and smiled at the thought of Joe texting me through a broken screen, and kept on going with my little life. This is a text that I kept for a year. When I got a new phone, I took a screenshot of this and saved the picture. After I got off the phone with his mother I had to leave the building. I went to my car and cried. I sobbed. Snot mixing with tears flowed down my face into my shirt. Soaking my shirt and my bra. I wept for Joe. I wept for Joe’s Mother. I wept for weeping. But I mostly wept out of anger that day. Of all the time I spent with Joe, all the fun and laughter… I can’t ever remember asking Joe if he had received Christ as his Savior. Joe was a homosexual. We didn’t talk about it. I just loved him like I was supposed to, and it was never a thing. My Christ came to earth with the sole intent of dying a painful, long death. So that Joe didn’t have to go to hell. So that I don’t have to go to hell. So that my kids… Don’t have to go to hell. Born into sin. We don’t get a choice. But we CAN choose to go to heaven. But did he? Had Joe ever confessed sins into the night? Had he ever fallen to the ground and told The Lord that he needed Him? I don’t know. That’s between Joe and The Lord. But as I sat in my car I knew that I had to talk to someone who would understand my feelings. I picked up my phone and called my Prayer Warrior. Mrs. B. As I wept to her there in the hot car, she let me vent. Then she spoke. “Franny. Cut it out.” I was shocked. She went on. Do you really think that the God who made the heavens The God who created the earth The God who holds each sparrow in the sky The God who knows how many hairs are on your head The God who sees all time before it takes place… Do you really think that THAT God would allow Joe to pass away without giving him one last chance to repent any sins? Did you really just limit your God?! Did you just tell Him that you don’t think He could have rescued Joe in those last dark moments? God wants each of His children for Himself, do you think that He just lets them walk away? Romans 8:37-39 My car went quiet. I suddenly saw Joe lying in bed. Jesus was sitting on the side of his bed and the room was full of light. Joe woke up from his drug induced sleep and sat up only to be looking straight into the face of Christ. I saw Jesus smile. I saw Joe’s eyes fill. I saw the clock on his bedside table. It was still. The earth wasn’t spinning. The God of time had stopped the world for this one child. All our lives halted in this moment. I won’t know what sort of choices Joe made until I myself walk through the gates of heaven and take Jesus’s hand. But my heart believes that each of us is that important to God. I honestly, with my whole heart believe that God can stop time to get a final answer. A year later My cousin passed away. We weren’t close. I had always wanted to be. I had always wanted a relationship with family. I’m the oldest grandchild, but he got my grandma’s hugs/time/love. The cards played out and the hand I was dealt led me down a different path, with a different family structure. But I always missed Max. He was beyond talented. Had an ear for music. I imagine that he was funny. But I also know he held a secret. A secret that he carried since he was too young to understand it. I only know bits and pieces of Max’s story, and half of that may not even be true. But I love Max. I have since we were young. Dealing with Joe the year before, I was able to stop and think.. Maybe. Just maybe. In that quiet, dark room where Max was. In that quiet, dark blackness… Just maybe he saw a small light. Maybe that light grew bigger until he saw a beautiful man standing there. Maybe that man held out his scarred hand to Max. Maybe time stood still.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My favorite time of year!!!

I truly enjoy being in the kitchen.. And this time of year is the most acceptable time to throw yourself into the pantry and get baking!!!
I like to start my Thanksgiving goodies days before that Thursday hits. As much as I like to cook, I like to spend time with my family. So.. In order for my whole day to be not wasted.. I start my Holiday mess on Sunday!!
Today was Cranberry day!!!
I love cranberry. We grew up having both jellied and whole berry on the Thanksgiving table. No one but dad ate the whole berry.. It just didn't appeal.
I wish I had known back then that it was so easy to make your own.. And way tastier!!!
I make mine with orange every year. This year I decided to kick it up with a jalapeƱo. Just one.. I AM a Yankee you know!
I started by sectioning out my oranges.
If you've never done this, it's so easy.
You just cut the top and bottom off an orange.
Then you cut the peel off. I like a serrated knife for this.
 Once the peel is off, you safely cut right between the sections.
 Once this is done.. You toss the remaining gunk in your garbage bowl!
Then it's on to the pepper!

Make sure you're being careful with the seeds.. Then add that to your oranges.

Next is the water. I used two 12 ounce bags of frozen cranberries, so I put two cups of water and two cups of sugar in a stock pot. I poured about a tablespoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt.. Mixed it up and waited for a boil.

Once boiled, I tossed in my berries, orange and pepper... Brought back to a boil for about ten minutes.. Check out that mammoth of a berry!!!

Once these were looking perfect, you just turn off the heat and let them sit until they are cool.

Then you find a pretty bowl (or three!)

I am the only person at home who eats this, so I made enough to share! I'll be dropping this off today to a dear family I love :)
Like the bowls? Talk about cheap!! The orange flower bowls were .25 at Walmart.. And that lovely glass dish? DOLLAR TREE. Not even joking.

There you have it!!
My favorite Cranberry side!! This will sit nicely for days (Up to two weeks, actually) in my fridge..

Friday, November 21, 2014

Keep your creepy Elf.

That's right. No Elf on any shelf of this house.
Because. Mom said so.
The end all of answers.
For real though..
You invite a creepy little boy doll into your house. The parents have to make him do stupid things for weeks.. And hide the fact that they are the ones behind the mischief, mind you.
Just so your bratty kid behaves for a month?
How about we teach our children the real meaning of Christmas? That no scary man dressed in blood red, squeezes down our chimneys and eats our cookies. Leaving behind the exact thing we wanted.. Or worse, leaving behind the second thing we wanted? Forgetting the one thing that we HAD TO HAVE.. Because, frankly it cost too damn much and Santa just doesn't have it to spend this year.
So instead of teachable parent moments you go get this creepy little guy, who looks like he stepped out of a 60's horror movie.. And you hide him and tell your kids he's watching them. And if they do anything remotely kid-like... He's going to report to the man in red.
Then what mom?
Just.. No Christmas this year?
What parent out there had a bad day with a kid.. And told them the elf-boy was watching.. And the kid threw the smack down for like ten minutes.. So the parent said "You know what? The elf is going to tell Santa tonight. Christmas is off." Then the parent actually canceled Christmas.
Please. If you know of someone who has actually followed through with this.. I beg of you to tell me.
Because, no.
No parent has actually stood by and shut down Christmas because a DOLL watched your kid be bad.
And let's look at it from your child's point of view..
I'm not even going to get into the lie that is Santa.. Let's just assume that you've scarred your child for life with this crazy scheme that helps no one..
So. This elf shows up one day in December. You know it's December because Mom has had the tree up for three weeks, and you're stuck wearing red and green to school every day.
Now here's this elf.
This creepy little doll is going to be hiding out watching your every move until Christmas day.
Watching you.
And you never know where he's going to turn up.
Can he get into the bathroom??
Can he watch you poop???
Oh heavens.. Please don't tell me he's in the closet.
Great. Now your kid doesn't sleep until January AFTER he has seen you pack up the ugly doll and put it in the attic..
So.. Now you're not allowed to mess up.
Have a bad day?
Don't pout...
The elf is watching..
Oh, don't worry.. he can see your mom have a melt down and scream at everyone in the house.. But your mom is too old to get shiny presents from Santa.. So he can't tell on her.
Nope. Just you.
I'm sorry.. Do the makers of this garbage even have kids? Because, even the best behaved toddler in the world tends to have a meld down of sorts when he's sleepy..
Your stupid "Cute" Christmas tradition has taken over my Facebook newsfeed.
I just don't care that you stayed up all night to conger up some "funny" adult themed party scene with hot tubs and Barbies.. I'm sick of seeing this stupid little guy, lying to kids.

Instead of buying in to the garbage that fills our TV's and shop windows this year.. Buy into Luke 2:1-20. Go on and read that for your Christmas story.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My open letter to Brittany Maynard

Dear Brittany,
You don't know me. I don't know you. God knows us both.
Yup. This is one of THOSE letters.
I plead to you.. Please do not end the life that God granted you.
Please don't willingly take a medication that is going to let the last breath slip from your lungs.
I understand that you made a ton of final decisions, and plans.. And maybe even this whole thing has gotten too big. If you backed out now, no one will be upset at you.
No one will call you a quitter or a failure.
My God is a God of miracles. He's a God of life. He's raised men from the dead and made the blind to see.
Even if he doesn't choose to cure you.. Maybe He is making an example of you.. To show others how to act in your situation?
Maybe, like Job, you aren't even the center of your disease? Job had no idea what he did wrong, because he didn't do anything. God was simply conversing with Satan.
How can you be sure that next spring there won't be a cure? Or maybe you'll wake up healed? Or just maybe, a young person got some bad news last week, and now they feel like.. Hey. She can kill herself to get out, why can't I?

I beg you.

God is bigger than all of this.

I'm aware that Brittany will never read this.
I can pray.
And I will.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teal Pumpkin Treats! Don't know what Teal Pumpkin is?... Come on in!

Ok my friends.
It's getting to be the 31st pretty quickly.
Most of you are dreading the slew of children that will bombard your doorstep between now and then.
Some neighborhoods have Halloween on the 31st.. Some the week before... Who knows.
Some won't have it at all!
This year we live in a neighborhood. Like... A legit, kids on bikes, teenagers speeding through the streets at night, strange dogs come and help you light pumpkins... A neighborhood.
So.. I'm assuming all these kids will end up on my doorstep the 31st.
As a mother with extreme food allergies, it got me thinking..
So many kids are allergic to simple candies that we just hand out all willy nilly like.
Then I ran across an article for The Teal Pumpkin. (There's been a ton of them.. I won't quote them all here.)
Basically, you paint a pumpkin teal and display it in your yard.
This lets parents and children know that you have non-edible treats for those who would rather not run the risk of candy!!
How awesome is this?!!
I went on a mission to create a fun treat that was non edible!
Here's what I came up with:

Walmart has all the Halloween goodies out right now.
I grabbed just a few and went to work.
I picked up a bag of gift baggies
Bat Rings
Noise makers and Vampire teeth
I also threw in those Glow Sticks from this review
I tore open all the goodies and put them on the table in an assembly line..
Grabbing one item from each pile, I placed them in the bag. (Being super careful not to break the glow stick!!.. I made it to the LAST bag.. and broke it!!!)

I made 15 bags. I think this will be enough.
For my actual food goodies..
I bought a 5$ box of microwave popcorn, and some lollipops.
(I'm not about to spend a million dollars on chocolate that I won't get to eat!!!)

So there you have it!!
Spread the word about The Teal Pumpkin!!
It's on my local neighborhood Facebook Page.. Add it to yours!!

I'll be spray painting my pumpkin later in the week...

I realized after I made these that I probably need a few toddler sized goodies.. I haven't found any yet, but I still have a couple of weeks!! Keep those little little guys in mind too!!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

That one memory...

You know the one.
It makes you stop everything.
Breathing, even.

As I rocked my son this evening, he squirmed and cried and fussed.
Then I heard nothing.
The sounds of my ten month old were gone.
The television was silent.
The A/C could no longer be heard off in the distance.

All of a sudden I was ten years old.
It was very early. Before dawn.
My father and I were arriving at a cut site.

I was about to spend the work day with my dad.
At the time, he cut trees.
I can remember vividly, the smell of fresh wood.
The massive tires of the Skidder.
The constant smell of oil and exhaust.
The red flannel shirts and the bright orange ball caps.
The wool gloves that got wet in the first five minutes, then never dried.

This was a great memory.
I can recall drinking coffee and eating snacks by myself.
Just sitting alone in the woods. Waiting for dad to come back.
He was off cutting a tree.
When it was cut, he would come get the Skidder and we would ride into the woods to chain it up and drag it out.

There you have it.
A memory I've never shared with anyone.
A memory I'd like to hold on to just a little while longer...