Thursday, January 31, 2008

Respect for children

Even the best parents make mistakes sometimes, there's no doubt about that.  I think, however, that most parents want only good things for their children.  I sometimes yell at my kids, or lose my patience with them in one way or another, and I do cherish the time I have without them. But I adore my kids and arguably give most of my time, thoughts, efforts, energy and heart to them and their well-being.  Before I had kids of my own, I spent a good deal of my time, and found a lot of my greatest joy, with other people's children.  I still do.  I watch other people's kids fairly frequently and I love it.  There are so many blessings that come from children.

And so I must admit that I have no empathy or patience in my heart for people who are consistently neglectful or abusive of their children, or simply so selfish that that becomes the end result.  I understand that parenting is hard.  What I don't understand are people who insist on making it harder for themselves.  I remember one set of foster kids we had that lived with us.  The first few weeks were a nightmare, but before too long they were all pretty nice little kids.  Then I met their mom.  She was polite enough and all, but she just creeped me out (I think I was only about 9).  Something inside me just told me she was a bad person.  Not too long after that, the children were sent home. I remember telling my mom, "You can't let them go back, their mom isn't nice."  Sometimes being with a natural parent isn't in the best interest of the child.  There are some parents who break their children--sometimes only metaphorically, sometimes literally--and I believe that those people will, ultimately, pay one of the heaviest prices of all when the time comes to stand and account.

Unfortunately, as I've grown up and witnessed more and more, I've come to realize that most foster mothers are not the woman my mother is.  Most foster homes are not like the happy, busy home I grew up in.   Most foster parents don't do what they do to serve a higher purpose like my parents did.  The sad fact is that many, if not most, foster parents view their charges as another check and cheap labor.  I find that rather disgusting to be completely honest.  But sometimes even that is a better option than the homes they come from.

Perhaps the most frustrating situation of all, however, is when there is a better alternative but everyone with the power to do anything about it is either too stubborn to see it or too incompetent to do anything about it.  I have witnessed several custody battles where an immoral, selfish parent keeps winning because the better parent refuses to use ugly, dirty, dishonest tactics.  Where is the justice in a good parent being passed over because he or she refuses to ask a child to lie for them even when they are up against a parent who does so without shame?  I have known parents who have lost battle after battle in a custody war because they refuse to set a bad example for their children in the approach they take toward the deceitful or vindictive parent.  How's that for an ironic tragedy?

The fact is, most of the bad parents were enormously selfish people before they reproduced, and never learned to be anything else.  But the rules change when kids are in the picture.  You aren't the center of the universe anymore, and that's ok--as a matter of fact, its a good thing.  We're all better people when we're more concerned about the welfare and happiness of others. I think so much of my children that is bewilders me how these people could be so selfish, even when it concerns their own kids.  My mother-in-law thinks its hilarious to hear me talk about any even theoretical violation of my child, because every hint of affability and mild-manneredness (which composes a lot of my personality) goes out the window.  It usually just comes out of her in a laugh with something like "Mama bear!"  Its true, though.  I admit it, I can be a bit of a pushover from time to time; I can be a little too diplomatic from time to time.  But even hint of walking on my children and to hell with you! The claws come out.  Everyone who knows anything about me knows you don't use my children--you don't screw with my kids.  Just doesn't happen.  So I simply cannot understand people who do it to their own children.  It makes no sense to me at all.

I just want to go and straighten out every misled or corrupt judge, every clueless or apathetic social worker, ever unfair arbiter in every custody battle or abuse case on the planet.  But why would they listen to me, if they won't listen to the good parents there trying to protect their own children?  Richard L. Evans once said that "We can't do everything for everyone everywhere, but we can do something for someone somewhere."  I have a hard time accepting not being able to do everything, but I'm still trying to figure out what that something I can do is in cases like that.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Illness, Truth in Hmong, Talks & Good Men

Wow! This has been quite a week.  Early last week I got really sick--like just land-you-on-your-back sick, which hasn't happened to me in years.  I slept terribly on Monday night, and when I woke up Tuesday morning I was lightheaded and dizzy any time I stood up, I had a throbbing headache and my nose and sinuses were so congested that my eyes felt stuffy.  Further complicating things, every inch of my body was miserably sore and achy, making it impossible to find any way to sit, stand or lay down that didn't hurt and make me feel terribly weak, and I had crippling nausea and terrible chills.  At some point, I passed out on the couch (sleep being my only means of even slight relief) and when I woke up sometime later, the kids were sitting on the floor watching Sesame Street, both of them holding a cookie in each hand (I have no idea when they discovered that there were cookies in the cookie jar) and all the cushions from the couch that I was not actually laying on were strewn about the livingroom.  On top of that, Dylan was naked from the waist down and Keilana was naked from the waist up and had obviously been painting with her watercolors at some point.  It was then that I decided that no matter how bad I may feel, I probably should manage to stay awake, somehow.

I slowly crawled back into the daylight of the living over the week.  I was able to make it into work on Friday, although I did end up coming home a bit early (thank you, Pebbles!).  Amanda had my kids Friday night, so I actually went to sleep and slept soundly, without interruption, which went a long way in helping me recover.

Saturday morning, being tot-free, Doug and I got up fairly early and headed up to the temple in Fresno.  We wanted to attend the 10am session, so we arrived just before 9:30, but we barely made it in.  The session was FULL.  There were three living Endowments and the session was conducted entirely in Hmong (with closed captioning in English).  It was the first time I'd been to a session that wasn't in English (even with all the languages they use in the Laie temple, we only ever went to ones that were in our native language), but I actually really enjoyed it.  Having to read the words rather than just listen to them really helped me to focus.  We ran into the Hammonds from Tulare when we got there, and I actually sat with Sis Hammond throughout the session.  Its always pleasant to see them, they're just such nice people.  I'd been rather tense and exhausted all week, and being at the temple went a long way towards relaxing and refreshing me.

Saturday night, we went to the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce awards dinner.  They held it at McDermont this year and it went really well.  I'm so glad that the facility is getting so much use already.  Anyway, they give a number of awards (business of the year, volunteer of the year, etc.), culminating the evening with the award for Man of the Year.  This year it went to Scot, Doug's boss (and Lindsay's city manager).  Hard to imagine anyone more deserving.  He came to Lindsay 20 years ago as a newly wed.  Then and now, a lot of people view Lindsay as a poor (some might say financially crippled), used up town, or even a gang town.  Scot always sees everything--towns, people, places--for what it could be, rather than what it appears to be on the surface.  Under his leadership and hard work, more than $50 million in grant money has flowed into the city and, even more amazing, every penny has been wisely and well spent.  Where 20 years ago everyone else saw only abandoned, ugly, useless railroad land, Scot envisioned a beautiful public park and plaza.  Fifteen years of his hard work and continual persistence made that project a reality--the townhomes we live in were part of that design--and we now have a gorgeous gathering place where every Friday night from March through November there is a farmer's market and street fair that draws thousands of people.  Last year the citrus freeze threatened to once again cripple a town that relies heavily on orange crops, but Scot saw it as an opportunity to create jobs and put people to work on a joint city-school board project of creating a new sports field complex at the high school, all in professional grade turf.  People were feeding their families without having to wait for state or federal freeze relief checks.  Where others saw an abandoned packing shed and really didn't think much of it, Scot saw what is now quickly becoming a state of the art, nothing-quite-like-it-in-the-Central-Valley family sports and recreation facility that will provide hundreds of jobs, endless hours of fun and will draw people to Lindsay from all over the valley.  And when he accepted his award, he said he almost felt guilty because the other people who had been honored during the evening were almost all volunteers, and he was just doing his job.  But everyone there knows that Scot sees his job as something so much more than just keeping things running smooth and overseeing city projects.  He has amazing ideas, he solicits great ideas, then says, "How can we make this happen?" and doesn't stop until he finds a way.  And ten minutes after he got the award, he was up playing with his 7 kids.  How can you not love that guy?  And what Scot knows, but I'm not sure everyone else in the room appreciated, is that those 7 kids are more important to him that anything that was talked about that night and everything he does is made possible by everything that his amazing wife, Carolyn, does.  She runs their household with amazing skill, patience and love.  They are quite a couple, in so many ways. 

The dinner was a relief since I spent so much of that time thinking about the Townsends and not about myself and the fact that I had to speak in Church the next morning.  Giving a talk is always nerve wracking and emotionally exhausting for me.  Its not that I'm afraid of doing a poor job (well, its mostly not that), as I always get a huge response, and an overwhelmingly positive one, when I speak.  Its just that, despite my wishy washy tone when I write and my demeanor when I'm actually standing at the pulpit, I am most definitely NOT someone who likes to share my feelings with other people--that's why I make so many jokes and spend so much time being sarcastic.  Anything pertaining to the Gospel becomes deeply personal, because it all goes back to the core of who I am--of what I believe, of not just what but of how I think, of every good decision I make.  And so I know of no way to say anything that really matters about any subject relating to the Gospel without speaking directly from the heart, and that is a very difficult thing for me to do any where, let alone standing in front of a group of people.  I am always bettered and strengthened by it, and consequently am glad that I've done it.  But the entire time I'm there, I feel a bit exposed and very, very uncomfortable and have to constantly fight the urge to flee or simply switch into a mode of more detached, academic style speaking.  I survived, anyway, and it did end up going quite well.  As it turned out, it was also an informal fare-well for a young man who is leaving on his mission.  He's going to be an awesome missionary.

After Church we decided we could all use a break, so we went for a drive.  Somehow we ended up down at Hwy 46, so we just drove over to the beach.  Keilana's wanted to go for months, so why not?  We got the kids out at the San Luis Pier in Avila and they both were very excited to see the ocean again.  It was overcast and in the mid 50s, so the ocean was pretty choppy, which Dylan loved.  He was listening to the large waves crash against the shore and the pier and started bouncing up and down on my shoulders going "boom! boom".   Keilana loves seals and sea lions, usually her favorite part of any trip to the beach, so she was pretty excited to see the "arr arrs", as she decided to call them this time.  Dylan really liked the sea lions, but seemed to find observing the pelicans at close range just as exciting.  We drove the kids around SLO a bit, showing Keilana where we used to live and where Dylan was born and were a little sad to realize that her memory of the place is completely gone.  Why would she remember? She was younger than Dylan when we left.  It made an 8 1/2 hour trip out of a Sunday drive, but we all needed it.

On the way home, I got a phone call from Doug's sister, Melissa (at nearly the exact same time that I got a phone call from his sister Christa, his cousin Sarah and a text message from Sam) informing us that President Hinkley, the president (and, we believe, prophet) of our Church had passed away.  It was a strange feeling.  I'm sad, because I love Pres. Hinkley--everyone did.  He radiated energy and joy.  Its still a bit surreal to me, actually.  He was 97, after all, it shouldn't be a surprise.  But he was SO dynamic, so full of energy and spark, that you could almost believe that he could go forever.  Both what he has accomplished and what has been accomplished through him is so incredible, I couldn't possibly name it all.  But suffice it to say he was a man of great faith, energy and hard work who served continually and happily.  I imagine the load he had to bear has seemed much heavier the past few years since the passing of his wife Marjorie and for his sake I am glad to that they are reunited.  He has left an impressive legacy.  I think its fair to say he revolutionized a lot of ways the Church does things and its hard to imagine someone more universally well liked, both inside and outside the Church, than he was.  He will be remembered probably almost as much for his good humor as the many, many things that he made happen, and I'm sure that's a legacy that will suit him just fine.  There are others prepared to take his mantle and assume his job, but no one will ever quite take his place.  

Monday, January 21, 2008

My little freak child

I thought that since I posted a long, sappy post about Keilana, it was only fair to do a post about Dylan.  Dylan is a weirdo.  Delightfully so, but a weirdo all the same, so I thought perhaps a few pictures might do him more justice than my words could do.
Doug thinks that Dylan is very smart. I'm still undecided,

But the Rubik's Cube is one of his most favorite toys.   He looks quite focused here, but really he always looks like that.
So here he is enjoying some popcorn at one of our latest YW activities (he is also a HUGE flirt and is usually in quite a good mood whenever the house is full of girls).  I know a lot of people who eat popcorn lik
e this, but
 Dylan eats everything like this. He stuffs, by handfuls, as much as he can fit in his mouth, and then frequently has to hold the food in while he chews.  He also has a tendency, like his sister before him, to store food in his massive cheeks and then spit it out at you when you don't quite expect  it.

Dylan is obsessed with cars.  Pretty normal for a two year old boy, I suppose. He usually has at least one in each hand no matter where he goes, and he somewhat compulsively lines them up on our windowsills, couch arms,
coffetable, etc.  He drives them all around the livingroom, but can't drive them just randomly across the floor.  He must find "tracks".  Something relatively narrow with boundaries.  If there is no track, he will sometimes try to make a track.  When he was just over a year old, he would do this using Doug's ties.  He would lay a tie out roughly in a circle and then drive his cars around it.  He also has great balance and impressive agility (especially considering how solid he is--I always expect him to lumber more), but he has always been extremely cautious.  He just seems to be more aware of physical consequences that most other kids his age I have been around.  Until now.  A few weeks ago, he figured out (finally) how to get in and out of his crib on his own, and now he thinks he's completely invincible.  Apparently that was the magic bullet.  He used to be an excellent sleeper.  By the time he was a few months old, he only ever woke at night to nurse (only ever conscious enough to suckle, which doesn't take a whole lot of brain power) and has always willingly and easily gone to bed at night and taken trouble-free naps.  Now every time I put him in his crib to sleep, he crawls out, dumps all his cars out of the bucket and starts driving them on the door while he screams at me to let him out.  He has a plastic pirate sword and one day when he sounded particularly desperate to escape I went up to check on him and found him furiously stabbing the sword at and under the door in an attempt to be freed from his awful prison.

He's FINALLY starting to talk.  The last couple of weeks he's been repeating word more frequently.  He calls Keilana "Nana" now and has added "shoe" "arm" "Yaya" "night" "jump" and "I donwanna" to his small vocabulary.  He had a half a dozen or so words already, but its nice to see him trying to start talking.  Its about time!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New Job

It just occurred to me that I forgot to ever mention that I've started working.  So I was going to write "I help run the LightSpace floor over at McDermont on weekends", but then I realized that 2 out of the 3 proper nouns in that sentence would be jibberish to most people, so let me start at the beginning.

Lindsay is a packing town.  Ever heard of Lindsay Olives (its a brand that is sold at a lot of Costcos, among other places)?  That's us, we're that Lindsay.  They're are two sets of railroad tracks that run through town (rather than living on the "wrong side" of the tracks, we live between them).  Right next to those train tracks are multiple packing houses.  Most of them actually pack oranges and various other citrus--lemons, lime, grapefruits, etc--rather than olives. Right across the street from our house is a large packing house that sat inactive for a lot of years. In 2004, a delegation from the City of Lindsay took a trip to Manhattan to meet with a development firm (at least I think that was the reason) and while on their trip, they took a tour of Chelsea Piers.  For those of you not familiar with Manhattan (which I imagine is just about everyone),  Chelsea Piers was a very successful adaptive reuse projects, where several old inactive shipping piers were converted into a large sports complex. One of the city councilman said to the our city manager, "Lindsay needs a Chelsea Piers".  Well, of anyone I have ever known, Scot Townsend, the Lindsay City Manager, is the strongest believer in big dreams.  And the idea for McDermont Fieldhouse was born.

Doug was an intern for the City at the time, still working on his graduate degree.  But he worked remotely from San Luis through the school year and what he spent a good deal of his time on was using SketchUp (a computer modeling program, essentially)  to take photos of the abandoned packing house of McDermont Fruit Company, and create virtual model of what it could become as a family sports center.  Its come a long way since then.  The original two buildings have been successfully converted into a sports court (full size basketball/volleyball courts), impressive lazer tag basement (it really is pretty awesome), dance studio, concessions stand and a currently mostly empty arcade that will be filling up soon.  So far it houses multiple Xbox 360s. On top of that, a third building is being constructed (we're watching is progress daily) that is twice the size of the original structures and will house a few regulation size soccer fields, a dance/game floor, a bigger than life size redwood tree that will have party rooms inside it, a five story rock climbing wall, a fitness center (gym), a waterfall where smaller McDermont fans will be able to pan for gold, and a zip line that will be higher than I ever care to be just attached to a rope.  There are also three levels of catwalks (the highest one being about 4 1/2 stories up, I think) that will go around the whole thing and also serve as observation points for watching games and all the goings on in the building.

So this last September I went with Doug (he's the Operations Manager for this place) and a few other management folk to a trade show in Vegas where they have arcade games and activities, prize suppliers, even some carnival rides that are small enough to put inside large activity centers.  Anyway, apparently last year when they were at the same show Scot and Brad (Doug's co-director) had seen this thing called a LightSpace floor that they really liked, and were hunting for it since this year they were ready to start buying.  It is a square floor, about six feet square, that is made of lights and is pressure sensitive.  You can use it as a dance floor, as the software that they've created for it has various light shows and patterns that you can play alone, or will sync to the beat of music if you hook up something like an iPod.  You can also add a second effect that will show a different light pattern everywhere you step, so you create sort of a wave or ripple effect on the floor as you dance.  Its pretty trippy.  But it can also be used to play games.  There's Dodgeball, which is just what it sounds like except instead of an actual ball, you have to try to not get hit by the digital ball of lights that chases you around the floor.  Or there's Bug Invasion, where the "bugs" (balls of light on the floor) of various colors run around the floor, and you chase the ones that are your color, stomping on them before they get away or disappear.  There are lots of other games, but you get the idea.

Like I said, Scot is a believer in big dreams, so I wasn't surprised to hear what he had to say to the two smooth salesman from Boston who were at the show, nor was I surprised to see the look of both excitement and bewilderment on their faces as he spoke. As best I can remember, Scot said he thought a six foot floor was a great idea for the arcade, but couldn't you make a floor about four or five times this size, so you could have a whole dance studio with this as the floor?  They replied that they really hadn' t ever made a floor that big.  So he said, "But could you do it?".  They told him that they could make the floor any size, but that the software that runs the light shows and games was designed to run a floor this size.  So of course he asked if they could somehow amend the software to run a bigger floor.  So they looked at each other and said, "I guess we could figure it out."   As I sat there looking at the salesman and Brad standing there looking at Scot, I wanted to tell our new Bostonian friends, this is what Brad and Doug's job is like everyday.  Scot has these incredible ideas, this great vision and then just kinda says, "Make it work".  (Don't get me wrong, he works harder than anybody in the city, he just has a different job than they do).  It always seems to come together in the end, though.

So that's where I come in.  Until Building C is complete and a 30'x30' floor is installed as a sort of aerobics center/dance club is created where a boxing ring was originally planned, there's a 21'x16' floor between the sport courts and the lazer tag basement where we are running games on Friday and Saturday evening when lazer tag is open.  So sometimes Friday, sometimes Saturday, sometimes both, I don a McDermont staff shirt and get paid $10/hr to manage the chaos.  Hey, if it involves wearing a wireless mic, a computer and occasionally getting to play a round or two myself, I'm in.  I've only been doing it for three weeks, but so far its been a lot of fun (except for the occasional young delinquent in the making who seems to sense that I feel more pity than anger for him and decides to attach himself to my side for the evening).

And it couldn't have come at a better time.  Doug offered me the opportunity with the idea in mind that I could use the money I make to do all the things I wanted to do, like buy birthday presents for family members and artwork for the house and spoil the kids with more stuff than they probably need, and I'll still do some of that.  But I just found out that we're expected home in Montana briefly next fall, a trip we may very well be unable to make otherwise.  Now I should be able to save enough money to buy plane tickets for the four of us.   I'm grateful for the opportunity.

Monday, January 14, 2008

In My Daughter's Eyes

I was talking to Doug last night about the thoughts, considerations, and reasons that went in to deciding to have Keilana.  At the time, having a baby seemed a little crazy to me.  I was barely 19, very newly married to someone I'd known less than a year, living 3,000 miles from everyone and everything familiar and only had a year of school done.  It was a terrifying thought, quite frankly, but we both felt very strongly that it was the right decision, so we went ahead with it.

Knowing what I know now, I'm so grateful that we did.  If I had to go back, I would make the same exact decisions again, but I'm glad that between the two of us we had the faith to make that decision without our current knowledge.  I know that having a baby when we did made both of us better people, and made our marriage stronger than it would've ever been otherwise.  Nearly ever good decision we've made since then precipitated from the decision to have a baby right then.  So many of the blessings that we enjoy now can be traced, directly or indirectly, to getting pregnant in September of 2003.

I'm so grateful for my kids.  I'm grateful to have a husband who readily and willingly accepted the responsibility of caring and providing for a family before we really knew which direction we were going in life.  If we hadn't had Keilana when we did, I'm pretty sure I know what decisions we would've made, and they weren't bad decisions, but the ones we did make are so much better.  I'm grateful for parents who always let me make my own decisions and deal with the consequences, good or bad, of those decision, and in so doing gave me the confidence and courage to make good decisions as an adult.  Its my sincere hope that I can serve my own children so well.

I once read that in order to be a good parent you must become a child again yourself.  I always thought of that in the context of  learning again how to play and be silly and explore--and I do think it means that--but I think more than that, it means learning how to love like a child again.  Small children love so unselfishly.  As we grow out of our innocence and start to define ourselves separately from the people we've depended on, we lose that.  And I don't think we really learn how to love in a truly unselfish way until we feel that unique love that a parent has for a child.  Even though I think that we should love our spouse more than we love our children, and as much as I adore my kids that's certainly true in my case, I think we learn how to love better through the love that we have for our children.  My cousin once told me that you don't know what true love is until you have children.  I didn't know how right she was. I thought I was grateful for my parents before I had kids, but just 3 1/2 years into parenthood, I appreciate them more than I ever could have before.  They're awesome.

I watch my daughter and sometimes I feel like I'm still trying to figure her out.  I tend to think of her and being so much like her dad--so chatty, active, confident and passionate.  Then I see her retreat into me, burying her head in my arm, whenever anyone less familiar than a good friend tries to talk to her and I realize that she's more like me than I give her credit for.  I was organizing pictures last week, and going through all my photos of my kids made me realize something.  I usually tease Keilana about being a drama queen and give Dylan all the credit for being the calm, even tempered one, but the fact is that I have countless hilarious pictures of Dylan screaming, furrowing his brow or trying to look intimidating, but in nearly every picture of Keilana from 3 months old on, she is smiling. Always smiling.  Being happy is what she does best (and loudest, I might add) and she does it often.  She loves to make other people happy, too.  She is genuinely helpful in taking care of Dylan.  A few months ago, after an extremely long week I laid down on my bed and, mostly out of sheer exhaustion, started to cry.  Keilana saw me and ran off, quickly returning with a glass of cold water and a handful of Kleenex and told me, "Here Mommy, wipe your eyes.  It'll be OK.  I love you."  What a wonder she is.

Making Changes

Have you ever had the blessing of being able to watch someone change for the better? It never fails to amaze me what individuals can make of themselves when they are making an honest effort.  This weekend I saw something that showed me in an instant how much progress someone had made: a smile.  Nearly the whole time I've known her, while she didn't seem like a mean or depressed person, the woman who smiled at me nearly always spoke in harsh, sarcastic tones and was never particularly welcoming or friendly.  I've seen a few changes in her the last few months, I admit that is still caught me off guard when I walked up to her and was greeted with a very genuine, very warm smile.

With that smile, I realized two things:  I had seldom seen a genuine, happy, spontaneous smile on her face before; and I did not realize how much frustrated resentment I had harbored over the way I had been treated--didn't realize it, at least, until that warm smile melted it all away.  That resentment should never have existed to begin with.  The way that she treated me was had nothing to do with me personally--it was never about me, but with my frustration, I had made it about myself.  Even in telling myself that I needed to be patient I was (quite subconsciously) being somewhat condescending about it.  Though I would never consciously think this way,  I realize now that my attitude was very much that I needed to be the bigger person and show her patience because she wasn't at my level yet.  What an awful way that is to view another person who is, at heart, a good person.

The fact is, the better I get to know her and the more I know about her, the more I realize how much strength and determination it must've taken to make the many good decisions that she has made.  I also realize now how hard she must have been working the last year on her personal progression for someone like me, who isn't even close to her, to see such a change in her demeanor.  Certainly she's been striving to be better person, and all that entails--a better wife, better mother, better leader, etc.  That deserves appreciation and respect, not resentment and condescension.

As I thought about that, I wondered how many times in the past I have done something similar and missed--how many times had I dismissed someone as something less than what they truly were and could be and never knew it because there was no kind smile to make me reevaluate? How many people have I unfairly misjudged because my own ego wasn't in check--because I trusted my own opinion or perception more than the Lord's judgment?  I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that you should be kind, because everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. I forgot that for a while.

I know that my perception of this particular person has not changed solely because of the changes she's made.  I seldom find myself continually irritated or angry at anyone in my life for very long.  So when someone comes along that I have a difficult time with, whose behavior or attitude I may be tempted to dismiss as immature or what have you, I remind myself that that person is a child of God, just as I am.  It is my obligation to try to see everyone in that light.  So this woman has been in my prayer the last few months.  I have asked my Father to help me to feel more kindness toward her--more specifically, I have asked many times to for Him to help me see her as He sees her, and I believe that prayer has been answered.   I feel no anger, resentment or even passing irritation toward her.  I feel love for her.  Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.  He loves his children, and so I believe that whenever any of us see one another through his eyes, we must love each other.  I wonder if at some point she may have smiled as warmly at me, said something that was full of kindness, and I missed it because I wasn't ready to see her that way.  I'm grateful that I didn't miss it this time.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I made this blogger account quite some time ago, but never actually used it, as I was partaking of MySpace as my drug of choice.  The thing about MySpace, however, is that people who aren't MySpacers can't access my blog.  So here I am.  I will just post my random, usually uninteresting thoughts to one of the blogs and then copy paste it so anyone is free to read.  That's it for now!