Holiday Mash up

I have finally made sense of the holiday mash-up, well, sense for myself anyway. Halloween is barely over before Thanksgiving decorations go up and Christmas decorations often share shelf space with Thanksgiving left overs before we even carve the turkey. We shop for cranberry sauce, stuffing mix and pumpkin pie while Christmas music assaults our ears way too early. You feel rushed, pressed, anxious.

Then it hit me…the world can only mold my actions and force me to embrace the next holiday if I let it. The world will hit my children and family with ideas, early sales and flashy ads, but it is the tone I set, my example that they will remember. So no preaching, no lectures, no big boycotts of stores opening on Thanksgiving. Instead, I will maintain the normal, focus on one holiday at a time, not decorate early, make sure each occasion is a special day they will remember. I will embrace small children and Halloween, then move on to Thanksgiving as a day of thanks, not as a celebration of white Europeans taking over the land. Then and only then will I focus on Christmas.

Family has the power to form a child’s mind, beliefs and values. If you shun the pressure, the black Friday and Thanksgiving day sales, your kids will notice and absorb this. They may not appreciate it now as they have their eyes on a new X Box or phone, but the example you live will be forever etched in their memory. Hopefully they will fall back on that memory when they are older and wiser. Lay a good foundation now and your kids can build on it later. They will learn from your example. I won’t let shopping break up my Thanksgiving meal or game time. I want them to value family, people and relationships more than consumerism. All I can do is show them, give them values. They will either embrace this as adults, or they won’t. I hope they do. We have all year to get things, we only have one day to come together, relax, eat, share old stories and bond with our youngest family members. Don’t screw it up.


Rights and Social Change

Every generation that ever occupied this country has been split. They either fought for change, or fought for the current status quo.
People who came over on the Mayflower lived a hard life, but still  felt it was up to them to tell the natives their beliefs were wrong and tried to convert them to Christianity. Blood was spilled, cultures lost. Then came slavery, one greedy group felt it was ok and made piles of money from it, others knew it was wrong, Again, we took up guns and went to war to abolish this established practice. More blood was lost.

Then came a woman’s right to vote, work and make an equal wage for equal work, have children or not have children, drive or partake in numerous human activities. There were sits ins, arrests, violence, family fights and death over this issue. Eventually laws were passed to insure these rights. (They could still use some tweaking) Our businesses had to be forced to add safety standards to the workplace to save lives. They were forced to shield moving conveyor belts, protect workers from chemicals and provide safety equipment. This didn’t happen from the goodness of someone’s heart, it took laws to make it happen.

Civil liberties were a big one. We locked people of Japanese descent in camps, we denied ethnic families not born in this country access to housing and schooling. Our country clubs denied admittance to people of a certain race and schools turned away children with differing skin color.

In each instance, people were hurt, arrested or killed. In each instance it took laws, not popular by people with deep personal beliefs, to make a change, but change was made. Guess what? The country survived with these laws! All races can mingle at school, women can work and fight for a fare wage, people can not be denied housing over skin color. We became a nation that let people be who there are. You can still adhere to your religion and follow your beliefs. You can bring your children up with these beliefs, but you can not use them to deny fellow humans basic rights.

It is time to let those who are gay have the same freedom and rights as the rest of us. Let them marry, divorce, rent an apartment, work and carry insurance. This would be another basic human right forced on us by law and we will survive this as we have all other changes. Added bonus? You can still worship in any way you see fit and make sure your soul ends up in the resting place of your choice. We can make this change, keep your soul intact and not spill any blood or waste anymore hard-earned tax payer money on the fight.

Don’t write to me with tales of women or minorities who still face discrimination, unsafe work conditions or a woman fired because she wouldn’t sleep with the boss. I know these things still exist and people deal with it daily, but it is dealt with far less with the laws than without the laws. There will always be immoral, greedy people who do what they need to do to feed their needs.

Long story short, people who pay taxes have the right to reap the same benefits from this country as the rest of us. Law is law  and religion is religion. If we continue to deny them the right to marry, be in a hospital room with a dying loved one or take away their right to an estate, we should stop collecting taxes from them as they are not full citizens of this country.




New Humanity

I have to say, I am sickened by the turn we have taken as a species. Used to be, if a driver was distracted, daydreaming or lost in a personal problem and missed a traffic light change, the driver behind them would give a quick, polite toot to jar them back to reality. Now….the waiting driver, offended and angry lies on their horn like the distracted person is ruining their life!

It is not personal, they are not out to ruin your day. Chances are you are going to the market, or bank, or to pick up a kid. All tasks that will not be ruined if you are thirty seconds late. Angry bursts like this may be warranted if you have a woman in labor or a relative heading to the hospital with a life-threatening illness.  But the run of the mill, daily drive does not warrant the amount of anger and stress of aggressive driving and long horn bursts. What you are doing is no more important than the person in front of you.

I am SO tired of people jumping all over a single word or statement in the media, or T.V. ads. There are issues that need to be called out, exposed in the media, but we nit pick every word, every image to death! If words or an image blatantly promote hate based on race, ethnicity, sexuality, weight and other pressing issues, they need to be addressed. But if one word upsets you, it is too easy to find like-minded people on the internet to join your cause.

I ,myself defend everyone’s right to their beliefs. I advocate for the disabled, mentally ill and medical marijuana. I back gay rights to protect those in my family. I abhor child or animal abuse. With that said, I am tired of people picking one issue that bothers them, finding thousands of people online to back their beliefs. Recent example, Hallmarks’s Christmas sweater ornament. They pulled from the lyrics of “O come all ye faithful” and changed a word to represent the idea of the Christmas sweater. They printed “Don we now our fun apparel,” instead of “gay apparel.”

People wrote in outrage about the removal of the term gay. Now, every one alive knows that gay has multiple meanings. it can denote fun, elation or sexual preference. This was a lose, lose situation for Hallmark, if they had used Gay, people may write in protest, stating that they are promoting homosexuality, others would laud them and some would simply take it at face value, the words from an accepted Christmas song. Some may claim that linking the word gay with this over the top, garish Christmas sweater as stereotyping an entire group of people. Hallmark focused on the underlying feeling the sweater evokes.  Fun, parties, family gatherings, traditions, feeling good. I am not offended over the fact that they removed the word gay because I feel it slanders anyone, I am upset that they bastardized the words to a well-loved, traditional Christmas carol. I will however decide to buy, or not buy this ornament and not find a fan base to cause a media sensation. Our best weapon if we don’t like something, don’t buy it!

We as a society are too stressed, to intense, in too much of a hurry. We make our wants, needs, schedules and events first, and damn anyone who stands in our way. I was leaving a local store with my cart full of bags. In front of me was a woman wearing an oxygen hose, leaning on her cart as she headed to the exit. I took a breath and slowed, matching my pace to hers. A well dressed woman, in heels and dress suit, phone to  her ear got behind me. She cursed and mumbled, making statements out loud that surely reached the ears of the elderly woman.

She growled “Move you old bat! Come on, I don’t have all day!” I wanted to turn and smack her.

I don’t think we can survive as humans if we don’t reconnect, respect others, slow down, realize that we don’t have to multitask 24 hours a day. We need to be nice to each other, let go of anger.  We have lost the ability to see the whole picture. We focus on our own needs, wants and damn anyone who gets in the way. The person ahead of you at a stop light may have just lost a mother, a wallet or went without sleep due to a newborn baby. Cut them some slack. You could improve their day, and yours by taking the high road. You are not entitled to a stress free day, you create a stress free day with your attitude and how you react to the world around you. Curb the anger and remember that a simple inconvenience with not change the course of your life. Stop projecting your anger and stress on others and look in the mirror, figure out why you are so angry and stressed out.

I Knew A Man

I knew a man, who was bright, funny and caring. He loved music, movies and a good time with friends. He was the guy who would rearrange his schedule to be there for you. He was they guy who was always available to help you move or fix a car. He was the guy who suffered the loss of a brother at young age. He was a guy who loved his mother and shunned prejudice.

I knew a guy who loved babies, dogs and kids, a man who was quick with a hug. When others failed to recognize I was floundering he was the guy who asked me if I was ok, warned me away from his friend and hugged me.  He is the guy who encouraged me to give my marriage another chance, he was right.

He is the guy I introduced to one of my best friends, thinking they may hit it off. I was right. Sparks flew, they met and never parted for a single day after that. They married and had a child. He was a good dad, he loved his wife.

I knew a man who like to party and trusted others. He tried heroin, he was hooked. He battled for years to keep his family, but failed. He was a man alone as his ex-wife cared for their son in a safe environment.

I knew a man who couldn’t kick the addiction.  It had him and wouldn’t let him go. He fought, and won small battles, but lost the war. It took his life this week and all I can see is him asking me if I was alright before taking me in his large arms for a hug.

R.I.P. Mike. I will never forget your kindness and will forever mourn the fact that you couldn’t be as good to yourself as you were to others.

A Great Day!

My youngest grandchild, shown in the photo below is in his “mom or dad only” phase, as he should be at the age of two. He flashes us a smile from time to time and watches us with interest, but only mom and dad can hold him or bestow kisses. The hat you see in the picture is sported whenever he is awake and he pulls it over his face like a shield, flashing his eyes only when he deems it proper, sneaking in a smile from time to time. His brother is a bit more gregarious, runs to and fro as you chase him for a kiss or a tickle, letting you catch him as Blake watches from the sidelines.

fathersday13 015

With that said, I will tell you why Father’s day was the best day.  We all gathered to celebrate our dad’s. The food was flowing and the two babies warmed up and interacted with one and all at their own level. Blake even popped out from his hat long enough to shove in some meatballs. He sat and played in the sand with me and played with his little tykes car. Grandkids are great, you get the fun and hugs and don’t have to do diapers or discipline! When it came time for them to walk home I went on my usual chase to give Logan a hug and a kiss, a chase he has come to expect. I caught him, took off his hat and planted a kiss on his head. He wiped it off.

I turned to Blake, expecting him to pull his hat down and hide. I bent over and said “Love you Blake, come back soon.” To my surprise he took off his hat and pointed to the top of his head, telling me to plant a kiss on him! I planted that kiss and he smiled, then put the hat back on. It was one of those break your heart, tear forming minutes you get now and then. The image is  frozen in my mind. It was father’s day, but I feel I got the best gift of the day.

I have snapshots in my head, from different eras, permanently etched in my mind. My oldest daughter running from the bath, naked as a jay bird, her blond curls bouncing on her back as she mounted her hobby-horse, she was all of two. Or her posing on a frosty November day in a paper pilgrim hat, nervous as all get out over her part in a school play. My son, standing by a lake at a local park, clapping his hands as the frogs croak around him. I can still see his joy, just him and I alone, all was right with the world. My son watching me open a Christmas gift he made himself. Elise on the porch, no more than six, telling me she wished my pain was a balloon so it would fly into the sky and disappear! She was so deep and serious she made me believe her idea. Jimmy’s eyes lighting up when he saw a train, or the light bouncing off his long blond curls as he ran after a butterfly in the front yard. Emma playing with my paint tubes as she learned her colors, the sun streaming through the patio door, highlighting her face as she smiled, proudly naming off the colors. All these snippets are burned into my brain like buried treasure.

Blake taking off that hat and pointing to his head, and the look of pride on his father’s face was the latest.  Treasure these snapshots, and your family.  These are the riches you are looking for. You need money to live, but you need memories and family to live well.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award Nomination

I have to thank SilentlyHeardOnce for the nomination. Her blog was one of the first I found and I became a fan. I am honored that she enjoys mine.

Ok, they ask for seven things about me, it is hard to sum yourself up in seven things, but I will do my best.

1) My favorite place, after years of travel, is my 159 year old family home, wooded lot, pond, kids and pets.

2) I am a sucker for animals and take in kittens found in my outbuildings and I raise Fancy Rats.

3) I work out of an in-home studio. I paint in oils, pastels, colored pencil and acrylics. I am always surprised when I sell a piece. I also do wood carving.

4) I am an activist and sit on the board of the FMSCommunity, a 501(3) non-profit org. dedicated to chronic pain diseases.

5) The health police shall never take away my ham or bacon! Love them, all things in moderation.

6) Violence against women, children and animals angers and sickens me.

7) I will continue to write whether I am deemed good, or bad because I love it.

My seven nominations. This was hard! I read so many that I love. Some because they send a chill down my spine, some because they make me smile and some because they draw a tear.

Jan Morrill Writes.


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