Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fire Drill, Tornado Drill, Earthquake Drill, & Now Featuring Crazed Gunman Drill!

First, I want to start by saying I don't disagree with this, it just breaks my heart that there is a need.

I got an email from the school today asking parents to prepare our children for a lockdown drill that will take place tomorrow.  This is a copy of the email (since they sent it to 600 families I think I'm safe putting it on my blog!)

Tomorrow morning at Forest Dale we will be reviewing our lockdown drill procedures with our students.  Teachers will be working with students to help them understand the importance of this drill and why we find it necessary to practice.Taking into account that participating in this drill might make some students nervous, please take a few minutes this evening or over the weekend to talk to your child about the drill or about what they learned.  As always, our first priority is student and staff safety and we want everyone to be prepared in case of an emergency.  Thank you for your support and have a great weekend.

When I read this I thought, what the heck is is a lockdown drill and how am I supposed to discuss this when I don't know what it is.  So I sent the following email;

Please explain the lockdown drill so I can better help my daughter understand.

Then I realized Hadley may actually know what this is so I asked her about it and she told me "it's where we practice if a bad guy comes in the school, we go in a classroom and hide."

The more she got into her explanation the more tears started building up in my eyes.  It breaks my heart that our children live in a world where they need to know these things.  I don't mean the schools shouldn't be doing this, I only mean that there shouldn't be a need for it. 

We got home and had dinner, did homework, and wrapped up our evening.  The kids went to bed and I looked at my email and I saw this,

Basically the teachers will discuss with the kids how we practice all of our safety drills in order to be prepared.  During a full lockdown the teachers pull their classroom doors shut and bring and students left in the hallway into their rooms as well.  The kids will practice where safe "hiding" places are in the room out of the line of sight through the door or interior windows.  The door will be slightly barricaded and lights will turned off.  Students will be silent and wait for on-going teacher instruction.  Students will stay in their small group hiding places until the all clear is given.

We really try our best not to make this a scary event seeing as we are required to practice a full lockdown 4 times each year.

Again, I applaud them for having a plan and teaching the kids.  God forbid something ever happen, it seems like it would be helpful to have a plan.  I have all kinds of plans worked out with Hadley because I think being prepared is empowering. 

When I read the email though, I cried a little, I can't help but think how sad it is that we have to have plans for these kinds of events.  Has school violence really become common enough that we need a plan?  What is wrong with the world?  What kind of monster attacks children?

The only consolation I have is that we did earthquake drills when I was in school, and I even remember a school closing because of an Nostradamus prediction of an epic earthquake.  I'll be 32 in December and I've still never been in an earthquake.  Fingers crossed that I'm never in an earthquake because it's still my most feared natural disaster.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Different Reasons for the Same Book

On church on Sunday I was listening to the sermon, very closely, and ironically enough I can't really remember what it was about but I can't seem to get it off of my mind.  That probably doesn't make sense but sometimes you hear what the holy spirit wants you to hear.  The point of the sermon can have everything or nothing at all to do with what the speaker is saying.  I don't mean to trivialize the minister because he is a very important tool for God, I just mean that sometimes the message he delivers isn't necessarily what he planned.

Like I said, I can't remember how I got on this path but I can't seem to get away from it.  I grew up in an extremely conservative church with a minister who I still credit for helping me get me on my spiritual path.  To this day, I don't think I'd have the relationship with God that I have if it hadn't been for Jim introducing me to Him when I was young.  Jim also helped me through countless spiritual crisis throughout my first few years of adulthood.  He is the one who baptized me, he counseled me when I decide to marry Keith, and he and his wife were there for me every time I needed something, they are truly fantastic people.

When I moved to WV Jim helped me find a "sound church" in town and even called them to get the lowdown for me.  Much like most of my experiences in WV, that church presented as open, friendly, and the perfect fit; when in reality it was just one more thing on the list that made me miserable.  I didn't fit in and it caused some major hiccups in my life.  (personal and spiritual)

I'd expected everything to fall into place but it just wasn't working that way.  I ended up leaving the church and leaving all churches for awhile because I'd never gone to any church besides the extremely conservative type and this was the only option within two or more hours.  I sort of freaked out and felt totally lost, I didn't know where to go.  On my way anywhere from my house, I passed a church and one day they had a sign up advertising Tuesday School with their phone number so I called.  I got in touch with this amazing woman, Michelle, and we talked like old friends for nearly half an hour.  That was my gateway into a more "liberal" version of the same brand of church I'd grown up in.

That church is where I met the second most influential minister in my life, Mark.  Mark was a very open minded, charismatic, kind hearted, and fun minister.  Not to say that Jim wasn't those things, but Mark was almost Jim's polar opposite but very similar at the same time.  Mark was the first minister I'd heard, since Jim, who I looked forward to hearing every Sunday.  I always knew that whatever Mark was bringing on Sunday morning would be spectacular, I knew his sermons would be pleasant, educating, and often times life changing.

What's ironic about these two men is that as much as I admire and respect both of them and as terrific as they both are; if I put them in a room together I'm not sure which one would walk out.  Both are Christian ministers but they are pretty far apart on beliefs, and that is what's got me thinking...

How can educated, intelligent, great, Christian men have such different stances?  (Or anyone really, not just men.)  That's one of those things I don't understand about religion in general.  I'm a Christian and I have a great relationship with God.  I pray, I study, I try really hard to live a Christian life, and I believe 100% in God, his Son, and the Holy Spirit.  With that said, I'm still confused most of the time about how we can all want to do the right thing so bad but we all have varying views of how to go about it. 

No one likes labels, but in my religion there is a huge gamete of beliefs and the only way I know to clarify is with the labels.  There is the extremely conservative, legalistic, church that I grew up in then there is the other end of the spectrum that I don't know much about but I grew up hearing tales of the "liberal churches" and I think I fall somewhere in between (but closer to the conservative side.  What can I say, my roots run deep!)

Anyway, this all has me thinking about it and I can't find the answer and I'm not even sure there is one, but I'm glad we all have a forgiving God who loves us anyway.  Whether we have the answers or not, God does and we are all doing the best we can to serve Him and I pray that as long we keep trying He will keep forgiving!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Evict OWS!

Lord have mercy! I kicked the hornets nest, completely accidentally, and it all started with this picture!

I made the comment that "I'm sick of those loser occupiers." (Well, I am!) Unfortunately, some people took it extremely personal. This all took place on Angela's facebook page and wasn't my intention. Someone called me ignorant, someone said I offended them, blah blah blah. Angela asked the person who called me ignorant to remove that comment and like a petulant child she basically replied "it's not fair!!! waaaa!" The funny part of all of this is that I didn't have my phone with me so I didn't even know it was going on. Also funny, I honestly don't care what they had to say but laughed profusely and mocked them for their comments later in the day.

Because it was Angela's page, and because I'm respectful to my friend, I chose not to reply and further insight the 99%. However, on MY BLOG, I will write my opinion.

First, they don't represent me! I'm neither the 1% wealthy, controlling American nor am I the dirty hippies sleeping in a park and pooping like animals, all while costing the tax payers tons of money! I am a member of who knows what percentage, who is fed up with freeloaders, disgusted with government, and irritated by the media.

I think someone (the local governments) needs to crack down on these freeloading, dead beat, dirty hippies who are living in the parks, costing taxpayers tons of money, and accomplishing nothing. I say gas them, bring the street sweepers in, and get rid of two problems at once! Sweep up the trash and the trashy people!

On the other hand, I will agree with the disgust of greed. I don't think the answer is making the rich pay everyone's tab, but I do think eliminating all of the loopholes might help, also stop handing out so many freebies and we won't need so much tax money. I get the idea of being fed up with corporate greed and ironically enough I agree with what I think OWS stands for. I don't think destroying Wall St will do any good for any of us but I'm up to my eyeballs in disgust with corporate greed and sell out politicians!

Another of Angela's friend made a comment, neither agreeing or disagreeing with me, and I thought it was genius! This is a quote, I'm leaving his name out for the sake of anonymity and because I don't know him, but this is what he said...

What about all those heads of companies who are making millions by building a company from scratch, risking their own well-being to do so, and are creating many jobs in the process. Are they part of the 1%? Are we to demonize them for their ...hard work? The other 99% can't say they've gotten no or little raises recently. Many people I know, who are part of the 99%, are doing quite well. Several are even thriving. So the "99%" marching is really probably only 4%. Wish they actually had a message and goal so I could understand their angst versus just hating the rich.

I'm a big supporter of freedom to assemble, freedom of speech, and freedom of association, however; I'm also a fan of paying your bills! If I wanted to host a large event in a park there would be a few things required to make it happen. (I used to work for the Parks & Recreation department, in administration, so I happen to know what I'm talking about here.) I'd have to get a noise permit, I'd need portalets, and I'd have to make sure we had security on site. The amount of portalets and security needed would be determined by my estimated expected attendance. There's also a good chance I'd need to pay some sort of monetary deposit as well and if it was going to be a large event I'd need to secure generators and all if this would be the financial responsibility of the event sponsors or coordinators.

With all that said, if the occupiers have taken all of these steps then good for them, carry on, and good luck! However, since I doubt they've done any of those things and I've read the statistics of what they're costing the taxpayers I say pay up or get out! Occupy Wall St, alone, is expected to cost the city (aka TAXPAYERS!) $2million! This, so called, movement has spread to nearly 150 cities and although I'm sure the costs will be less in several of those cities, they are NOT THE TAXPAYERS RESPONSIBILITY! So, I say to all of those who are supporting them, write some checks because my money shouldn't be wasted on it!

There seems to be no clear message, no direction, and no class amongst these people. Look here to see some of the classless signs they are marching with. The costumes and zombie outfits and outrageous silliness of it all makes it hard to take them seriously. If they really wanted to have an impact on the banks, they'd pull all of their money out of them, pay off all of their loans and not take on more, create a financial exodus from their enemies. I'd like to know how many of the protesters are using their iPads, iPhones, and laptops or have loans, checking accounts, etc with the very institutions they are claiming to hate so much...

And, on a side note...what the heck do Russel Simmons & Kanye West have to do with occupying?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This Too Shall Pass

I don't usually use my blog to vent but today is one of those times I'm not sure where else to go but I think it might be cathartic. 

It's days like today that I wish I had a close family.

Keith is travelling like crazy and I know he's stressed about it because he doesn't like to be away from home this much.  I'm stressed about it because when he's gone, I'm on full time.  Work has been so stressful for him with travel and non stop demands that he's wound so tightly and it's affecting our time together.  I don't want him gone all the time because I miss him and it's hard being on non stop with the house and kids but at the same time it's been unenjoyable having him around lately.   He  complains about not having enough time to do anything, works from home most of the time he's here, or is so short tempered that it's not worth trying to communicate.  We went through this once before, when we lived in WV, and it's better this time since I actually have friends here and don't have a newborn baby, but it still stinks!  I'm trying to be supportive and roll with it because I do sympathize and I know it will pass (I HOPE anyway!) but it's wearing me down too.  Keith is so wrapped up in his pity party for himself that he can't see how hard it is on me too, and I'm so busy faking it so I don't add to his stress that I can't ask for help.

This time around with him being gone, Lydia and I are both sick AND Lydia has a broken arm which is making it extra special!  I'm so on edge that the little things are starting to really upset me.  I've been sick all weekend but wanted to make a nice home cooked meal for Keith before he left on Sunday so we had a pot roast and family dinner.  I spent the next day irritated because the kitchen was a mess and I'm on single mom duty again.  I finally got the kitchen cleaned but the rest of the house is messy and I don't feel good!  UGH! 

Now Lydia has a cast on her arm and is whining like it's a contest.  My allergies are killing me and allergy meds are the biggest joke I've seen.  On top of that, my back is starting to hurt again and really never got back to normal after the muscle spasms, then Hadley brings home this stupid project from school and 45 minutes of homework.  She's also having teacher problems and is starting to hate school, and I had such a bad attitude about it all last night that I've probably sealed the deal.  I'm really mad that this teacher is jading my daughters beautiful spirit, but I have such a chip on my shoulder right now I'm reluctant to step in for fear of making it worse!

It's times like this that I idealize having a close extended family.  I feel like this would be the time that if I had a close relationship with my family they would swoop in and save the day.  This would be the ideal time for family to show up and offer to take the kids home for a couple of hours and help Hadley do her project, or it would be great if they would swing by and clean the kitchen, or it would be nice if a grandpa would take Hadley to the driving range for a few minutes of golf because mommy can't and daddy is too busy.  Unfortunately, I don't have that type of relationship with my family and even if Keith does, his family is too far away and too busy. 

So, here I sit, blogging about it, near tears, and vowing that I'll be that person for my daughters.  There will be no agenda, or judgement, only unconditional love.  If I see my daughters going through difficulties in their families I will drop everything and do anything they need.  They won't have to pretend everything is okay from fear of my ever present judgement, they won't be told that I'm too busy with my own life to help them, they won't ever have to worry about rejection from me.  I promise that I will do as much as they will allow me to do for them and they will never owe me anything for it and I will never hang it over their heads.

In the meantime, I'm praying that this too shall pass (quickly) and we will all come out of it stronger and healthier!  I love my husband and I pray that he remains successful but can slow down a little and enjoy life, I pray that God gives Hadley strength and perseverance in school and that her teacher starts building up instead of breaking down little kids, I pray that Lydia's arm heals quickly and perfectly, and I pray that my back is healed and these stinking allergies go away!

And when I look back at that prayer and realize that those are the things that have me down, I know how blessed I am!  It could be so much worse and if these are the things that make me weak, I am one of the lucky ones.  God is good!