Banned Book Week

I love Books!

In fact this whole last full week of September is typically dedicated to books. Particularly books that have been challenged or banned. This movement has a special place in my heart as I think books. especially ones that have been challenged, can offer a much needed view. Books give the reader a glimpse into another persons life. Or they offer lighthearted humor. Just as there are many reasons that a book is challenged there are also many reasons that a book should be read.

I don’t believe in banning books. I do believe that books should be kept age appropriate. I firmly believe that children are capable of self regulating. Don’t misunderstand. I think that, given the chance, most kids will attempt to read something that they are not ready for. Is that so terrible? Encourage your children to expand their horizons! This is how they learn! This is how they become exposed to new concepts and ideas! Learn about different cultures and religions!

If I ever have questions about whether a book is too much for my children I always consult certain websites. I like CommonSenseMedia.org.In fact I love this website. It’s super useful when I need to know the real content and age appropriateness of a movie, book, or game. For parents who aren’t sure about the content of something, they give an age range and then break it down as to why. This makes it easier for a parent to evaluate before committing.

ARBookFind,org has the double bonus of giving an age range, an interest age range, and how many points the books are for AR testing which most schools, my daughters included, participate in.

It’s really about knowing your child and what they can handle. For instance, anything with animals dying my daughter has a hard time with. Her class read Stone Fox last year and she pretty much had a break down in class. The teacher actually had to send her out to collect herself because she was crying so hard. The same thing happened when the watched the JFK shooting.

Know your child, know the content, and don’t forget to follow up with discussion! Talking about what they read is just as important and impactful as actually reading. It is important for them to learn how to self censor and explore. I will not insult my child’s intelligence by telling her what not to read. (Although I will always try and push the classics that should be read by all!)

#BannedBookWeek ios important for us all. Books should be not be banned. If you are interested in learning more about this important issue then I suggest you check out the American Library Associations website.

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek

Standing Outside The Fire

Todays mass was a poignant reminder that V leaving for NY is a good thing no matter how much my heart breaks.  No matter the river that flows from my eyes.

As I sit in the pew looking towards the alter i see a tiny girl with little curls at the tips. She is next to her broad shouldered father.  I think V when she was little; when this scene was her.  I feel pain at her leaving. I feel joy at her leaving. Let mr explain. 
Today in church father spoke of how we  choose things in our life, like have a dog, knowing that eventually these things may cause us deep pain, when the dog dies. We choose them anyway. We chose them because even though V is moving across the country to take chances in a new city where she knows no one I had her here for many years. Enjoyed her company. Loved her. Still love her. That this is what we were raising her to do. To spread her wings and fly away.
I hope she finds everything she is looking for. I hopr that she has joys and pains. That she continues to grow into the beautiful lady we’ve seen her becoming for so many years.

We go through life with the anticipation of pain and grief. That’s the point though. You can not live a filled and joyful life without chance and pain. “Don’t be afraid to get burned. It’s worth the pain and sacrifice and sweat.”-Father Roy Snipes

How we speak differently.

There has been so much going on in the world lately but the thing on my mind right now is how differently me and my husband speak.

My speech is like a bag full of scrabble tiles that I just toss onto the floor while trying to arrange them into some semblance of making sense. I just can’t keep all those thoughts bottled up so they burst from, willy nilly, in whatever order they happen to be in.

He, on the other hand, has thoughts are like pieces of coal. He keeps them under pressure, hidden away, and if your lucky you might hear some bright and beautiful thought one day but until he thinks it’s perfect enough he doesn’t like for it to be seen.

As a Communication major I have learned, extensively, how important it is to be able to communicate with one another. It is not always easy but it is important to at least try to understand that the other person is different from you and that they may think the same, much less communicate in the same way.

With things in the new such as the Gaza peace talks crumbling and the misunderstandings about immigration one is forced to realize or actively deny that the ability and/or desire to understand our fellow human beings is shrinking every day. One must question how much longer the world can continue with such reckless selfishness before completely imploding.

Whether you are the type that spills your thoughts out or the type that keeps them bottled up we can all find a way to get along and speak to each other.

Just some random thoughts for tonight.

Those Down Moments

I firmly believe that we have all been there from time to time. That period when we just feel like crap in general and can’t bring ourselves to be very productive. Yeah, that’s been me for the last month or two… Probably longer but I don’t tend to notice these things until they have built up to an extreme that needs some form of intervention. I try and appear happy. I am pretty good at putting on a smile and seeming to be fine. Must people never even suspect.

It just sort of hits me when I start crying about pretty much every song on the radio.. even the happy ones. When I can’t do the things that never bothered me before. When I don’t even feel like driving to cheer up. When I feel nauseous all the time. And when I start listening to all the soulful or older sounds because they soothe me.

That’s when it hits me that I need to step back and do some things differently. I recently had to ask some of my professors for extensions and mercy because I was sooo behind. Of course I lied and said it was because  I was overly committed and needed to cut back on stuff… Which I guess isn’t a total lie but it’s not really the truth either.

Depression sucks.

It’s one of those things that people just can’t ever really understand. My life isn’t bad right now. There really isn’t anything going on that I could say would trigger this. Everything is pretty good. I’m graduating in May, we’re planning some awesome Girl Scout stuff this year, most of the bills are paid, etc.

Nothing crushing or debilitating.

But I feel like I can’t get up in the morning. Like doing the dishes takes too much energy (note*I like doing dishes generally). The whole house is a mess. and all I want to do is watch TV or read non intellectual books (and really I haven’t even done that!). I haven’t blogged in months.

Tonight though I did the dishes, and I am blogging. So maybe I am  starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I can do this. I know I can do this actually. I do it every time. The dark never last forever. There is a sunrise in the end. I may not be a gorgeous California sunrise but it is a light and it is pretty.

#DepressionLies

Shelves

Its strange how a website knows me better than I seem to know myself.
Recently Pinterest has unveiled a new search option.
“Explore Interests”
It is supposed to compile all the things that the site has noticed you tend to pin or search for.
For instance… I apparently have an obsession with shelving.
I hadn’t realized this..
Until I saw that as one of my options..
Then I realized holy cow I DO!
Along with shelves I seem to be interested in Paleo cooking, even though I don’t do any, the color grey, steam-punk, and lace dresses. All thing I’m pretty sure I have never directly searched for.
Maybe I don’t remember searching for them?
The thing is, after I started looking through the Interest boards, I realized that I do indeed agree.
I love most of what was suggested!
My conclusion?
Computers will soon rule the world. Because they will learn all about us and what we like.
They will kill us with kindness.
Like an evil Jeeves.
Also, that you should go and create a Pinterest account if you don’t have one.
It’s like all awesomeness of hoarding without any of the drawbacks!
Except that you might one day be killed by an evil Jeeves.
And you wasted an entire three hours looking for the perfect cabbage roll recipe.
Awesome.

The Good Stuff

Yesterday was Sunday. It was an incredibly long day. Actually, it was a pretty long weekend overall.
I want to start with Sundays sermon though and then go back a little bit.

First, I don’t normally go to mass. I love my husband and I have no qualms with the Catholic church but it is not the faith for me. I was raised to be open minded and search for God and truth in a way that that doesn’t mesh well with the teachings of Christ. I do, however, love to go from time to time with my family. I offered up the explanation that it made my exhausted daughter more pliable to the rushing out the door that attending a slightly earlier mass had become. The truth is I like to attend from time to time. Sometimes the sermon helps me think things through. Sometimes it’s just because my husband really likes having me there. Sometimes it’s just good for the kids to see that even though you are sure of your path it never hurts to keep in touch with others.

Anyway, Sundays sermon was about taking the time to appreciate the little things in life that can end up meaning more to you than all the money or possessions you could ever accumulate.  I think that this was a perfect lesson right before going through my youngest daughters room in an effort to declutter, it has become dangerous in there! I felt like the perfect cap to a weekend spent taking the time to appreciate those little moments.

Friday the older kids were at band camp. I had mentioned this to a friend who said it takes a lot of dedication to give up a month of summer for marching band. I had never really thought about it but it really does. It helps that a lot of their friends are all there with them, but not all. They could sleep in, watch TV , play games, or do whatever they want. They choose to be in the hot (104!!) sun practicing for competitions and games. That will become a character building memory that will last them forever.

My youngest attended a church retreat that afternoon. She too could have been anywhere else but wanted(begged!) to go fishing with the other kids from her parish and learn more about Jesus and God.

When I picked up the older two from band camp we went to a local coffee shop to listen to some local music and hang out with friends. I Love that they prefer to attend low key events like this and support the local arts.

I loved that they were willing to leave early to pick up there sister from the retreat and visit with the volunteers a while too. They could have complained and begged to stay longer or asked me to pick them up after getting their sister, but they instead enjoyed the time they had and went on to enjoy another thing as well.

Saturday the youngest and I got up early for a Girl Scout event with her troop. We were working on the digital photography badge and as part of it we visited a local photographer at her studio. It was very informative and educational. I think that many of the girls learned new things as well as an appreciation for how far technology has come.

Ending the weekend with a message about taking pleasure in “the good stuff” and not allowing the more expensive things to clutter our minds was a cap on a weekend that felt highlighted in all kinds of good memories and good “stuff”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYQZJ9NUzYU

My Summer so far

Normally its about 110 degrees by the fouth of July. This year we’ve only had about a weeks worth of 100+ weather. Which is pretty awesome. It actually makes sitting outside at night bearable. Even nice. We normally head to Iowa for the holiday week but this year it just wasn’t in the budget. But we have done some awesome stuff this summer. Tonight me and my youngest lit a fire in the pit and roasted marshmallows. That’s always nice and its one of the things she misses most about camping up north. We have gone to the drive in theater too. We are lucky enough to still have one and I have to say that I love it! Girl scout summer camp is next week. I’m a little nervous  about it but it sounds like fun. Meg is excited to go though 🙂 I apparently volunteered to plan all the brownie activities for the week without realizing how much work it was….ya that is typical me. It’ll be fun though. My birthday is on Monday. I think I’ll be 34 but sometimes I get confused about how old I am..weird I know. I kind of want to have a party but then I’m all naw just kidding… ya. I love how little there is to stress about over the summer but I hate that I lose track of time and never finish anything I plan to do. I guess today’s post is all rambly and confusing, sorry about that.

Aside

I wish today was over and tomorrow could start anew.
Bringing with it fresh starts and hope.
To leave behind the moments that soon will make us strong.
To leave behind the moments that brought tears to our eyes.
May our memories of happiness be immortalized with the dawn.
May our memories of happiness forever live on.

Today my heart is breaking for many of my extended family and friends.

The death of my husbands cousin was tragic and heartbreaking. He was a person who exuded fun and happiness, and he will be missed.

As seems to be the theme of the week. A good friend of mine also had a miscarriage. She has many who love her and are here for her.

It makes me think about how life is too short sometimes….about how we need to love the moments we have.

Blessings and love

Donating: Time, Money, and Love

This last weekend was the first time that the city (town?) that I live in has held a Relay for Life. This is an amazing event in which people raise money for the cancer society to help fund research. We were unable to participate though due to finding out about it only a few days before the event and having been committed to another event. I do want to give everyone who participated props though! For anyone who has never done it I cant even describe how much fun it is! It’s a relay that goes from 7pm to 7am. They typically have music, food, games, and prizes at these events. Its family friendly and my kids have always had a blast. We plan on doing it next year 😀

In related news (and why I remembered about it after the long weekend) this morning I found a video about a young man who has chosen to give up his college sports career in order to donate marrow to a cancer patient that he has never met but is a 100% match for. It first showed on GMA.

That is amazing.

I love his quote about the choice being a “no brainer for any decent human being”

Because he’s right. It should an easy choice for any person to make. It isn’t always…

We need more people like him who are willing to help others before themselves. I think the world would be in a much better place if this was the majority instead selfishness and violence.

Anyway here is the link to the video that I watched…maybe I can find something better later but I have to do a lot of homework before tomorrow. One week till finals!

http://abcnews.go.com/US/university-hampshire-athlete-shortens-career-donate-bone-marrow/story?id=19022049#.UX6DG0Ao7IU

Boston Marathon

As I sit here people all over the world are discussing the events at the Boston marathon.

Today bombs went off, killing several and injuring over a hundred and thirty.

Reading some of the local news sites you get  a sense of heartache and shock.

Reading some of the non local you start to see a slightly different sentiment peek through.

Some people from other countries are saying “that’s what they get for starting wars” or “they had it coming.” I can almost understand where the sentiment is coming from. They see an America that intrudes and uses drones to kill innocent people. They see an America that is represented by a select few. One that, I like to think, is a non majority.

However, no matter how they feel it does not excuse such comments as those. I felt ashamed of the human race. Because of the ones who would blow up innocent people. Because of the ones that would find some way to justify it. Because every day people are murdered and few seem to care anymore.

Maybe because I moved around when I was younger. Maybe because I have always been adamant about not generalizing a culture or people. But I can not just lump all Muslims or all bikers or all Canadians or all of anything together and say that is the way they are. Because it’s not the way they are. There are always exceptions. I live to see those people. The exceptions. Because they are often the ones that can see beyond the stereotype. I wish the world had more of them. And less of the ones who blow people up. People who came from all over the world. Most of whom are fundraising for charities. Who could hate that?

This blog is supposed to highlight what makes life worth living. And today’s post was supposed to be about my weekend as a camp volunteer with Girl Scouts….I do not have the heart to write about that right now though. Maybe in a few days.