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Monday, March 7, 2016

CLEARING MY MIND...

A few things that have been clogging my mind.
A clogged mind needs to be purged.
Purging now…

Abortion

Pro-choice means to me that we don’t legislate against the procedure which terminates a pregnancy. It means that women who become pregnant are free to legally seek advice and medical help with any complications or concerns and are free to make their own decisions in the first trimester. After month three, I’m not so firm on it still being a choice, so I draw the line there. That is my own line, my own level of acceptance for freedom to choose to carry or abort. I do not see why anyone else should have a say, except the man who impregnated said woman and only then if it is not the result of rape, whether incest or not. In those cases, no rights to the man at all. I do believe the sperm donor, if by consensual sex, has rights. Those rights being to take the child at birth and have full custody. Of course, he must also support the woman financially throughout her pregnancy and follow up care.

Pro-life…To me, this term is bandied around without the full understanding of the connotations of being pro-life. I’ve heard people choose to say “pro-birth” and that is more appropriate if one is anti-abortion, but not pro-food stamps, medical care and housing programs for the mother. The child, once born must also be provided with a home, food and medical care and we cannot expect this mother that we forced to give birth will be able to do all of that on her own. If we are pro-life we must also be pro-child welfare. The welfare of these unplanned and many unwanted children is our responsibility if we remove abortion from the mother’s choice list. Seems only logical. Then again, I believe we are our brother’s (and sister’s) keepers. We are morally responsible for helping who we are able to help when we are able to do so. It’s simply the right thing to do. Where the government fits into all of that is that the government is us. We provide the provider. We pay taxes to provide for those who cannot provide for themselves. Ultimately, those collectors must become the providers. If the welfare system is working correctly, the recipients are able to gain a skill and earn full time livable expenses in time. Michigan is a good example of how that can work. I believe the welfare system there is pretty near right. You collect and you go to school or work part time and you make a better life for yourself and your children. You work to break the welfare cycle. Pro-life means we have to try. Pro-birth means we make woman carry full term and either give up or raise the child on her own. A recipe for disaster.

And I have a problem with the standard biblical backing and the abortion is murder argument. I have been pregnant. I didn’t “know” my child at a minute from conception nor at the two month mark, but I wanted my babies and by three months, no movement nor heartbeat detectible, I “knew” my babies. I wanted them and I loved them. That is how it is when babies are wanted, but when they aren’t planned nor wanted, I’m sure it’s quite different. I’m sure there is sorrow and sadness and doubt. I’m certain that woman who was accidentally impregnated is not loving and planning, but rather crying and fretting about her future and how and what she could possibly do for an unloved child. How her life will be changed for the next 9 months AND even if she gives the baby up, for the rest of her life. A woman never forgets an abortion. It changes everything much like having an unwanted child except without the extra person suffering for her mistakes. I don’t pretend to know how one lives with that decision, to end a healthy pregnancy, but I do know that some woman have no other reasonable choice and will have one whether legal or not. Whether her life is at risk or not, she will end the pregnancy before to her mind, it is a child. I am not judging. I am not deciding for anyone except myself. For me, it would not have been a choice. But I won’t make that choice for anyone else.

Planned Parenthood

None of the Federal or State funds in the planned parenthood budget are spent on abortions. None. And less than 3% of their patients are seeking or getting abortions.

The centers are the only free medical care for many women in poor and under poverty level worker homes. Homeless women can get care from them, nowhere else. Women’s unique medical needs are met there without lectures. 

They will be sorely missed in small communities where they are the only free clinic. The only birth control providers at small or no fees. They are important. Shutting them down or defunded them is atrocious. It is inhumane. We must take care to protect our women who have no place else to go.

Also feels wrong to me that the same people who are anti-abortion are also anti-planned parenthood. No birth control might lead to a much bigger abortion tally, no?

Gay Marriage

It has been sanctioned by the Supreme Court. It is legal in all 50 states. No churches are being forced to provide weddings that are not welcomed in their church. It has not, nor will it ever affect the sanctity of traditional marriage. It is two of God’s creatures who fell in love being given the legal rights they deserve. 

The Bible teaches man and woman. Not man and man nor woman and woman. Really? It also teaches multiple wives. We don’t recognize that as legal. We don’t stone nor otherwise kill adulterers, yet the Bible teaches that. The New Testament, the books written after Jesus has come, those books are filled with lessons of love and acceptance. Full of Jesus teaching us to love our enemies as our neighbors and if we ignore the least of mankind, we ignore God. He is in each of his children, not just the Christian-church-goers. 
God makes all kinds of humans. Lots of colors, lots of builds, lots of people from many countries where values and religion are much different than here in the U.S. But somehow, the right wingers think only the Christians are the saved and valued ones. How can that be? Why would that be any more credible than, say, the Jewish faith? Jesus was a Jew, no? He was likely not a white Jew. He was dark skinned. Many of our good Christian brothers today would shut the door in His face in a heartbeat, were he to come begging at their door. He would leave bewildered and saddened. He loved all of God’s children and He begged and commanded us to do the same. The people He made gay, He made gay. Period. Did He make a mistake? I don’t think so, just another of the many differences He created. Since I never chose to be straight, I have to assume my gay friends and family never chose to be gay, they may, however have chosen to try to act straight because it was easier. Since gay people seem to know from childhood that they are attracted to their own sex, I cannot believe it is anything other than God given. The lesson here is that God made us all and we all must love each other if we are going to call ourselves Christians. We can’t pull out a few things we want to believe from the Book and hang our hats on that. We have to take it all or leave it all. I think it’s fair to say that Evangelicals have for the most part, created a very judgmental arena. One where they teach their children to be careful with whom they mix. Be careful who’s fight they take on because you will be judged by the company you keep. The Lord doesn’t want you to take up with a thief, after all.

I pray all the time that somehow the sadness of this world will soon be enlightened. We are all His children and we all need the same things. We need acceptance. We need love. We need to be able to live our lives in freedom as long as that freedom doesn’t infringe on someone else’s rights. Gay marriage is an excellent example of that. Saying it is sinful and wrong and that they don't deserve nor should they be given rights of opposite sex marriages, infringes on their rights. Their marriage infringes on no one. It is their right and their legal marriages give them the same rights the man-woman marriages have had for many years. It’s the right thing to do.

Accepting all people for who and what they are should be our goal. No need to judge. Understanding and compassion and respect are grossly missing in this world where we live today. I am so disheartened by all the Christianity I hear and see that causes pain to innocent people who also are loved by and love God. 

If you remember that calling homosexuality a sin and that they are condemned to Hell for being who they were born to be, does hurt them. Saying that you love them, but don't want them to be married, that hurts them. It makes them less important than you. It causes pain to people who mean no pain or heartache to you. It does nothing good, it only hurts.
You cannot love someone, but believe they are not quite as good or pure as you are, that isn't love.

Racists and Prejudice

Sick to my stomach over both. The color of your skin or your heritage is just that. Nothing more. It isn’t who you are. I am sick of hearing blacks tell us that we don’t know because we’re white and have white privilege. Okay, not arguing, but ya know what? Most of those out screaming that we don’t know, don’t know either. They have lived only in their black communities and been fed black speak about whities and crackers and how all of us hate them and want to keep them down. How about we all just take a step back and consider what is really true.

Some white people are horribly racist. Dislike all blacks for no other reason than that they are black. Hate all Asians because they are not white. Hate all Jews because, Jews. Muslims, add them to the list now, too. Yes, indeed these people exist. Sadly they also have children and teach them the same. This will continue until it becomes unacceptable by everyone. Once these people cannot function in our world and cannot gain new members, they will cease. So let’s stop giving them power. Let’s stop being afraid of them or pushing them aside. Let’s just ignore their hate and if we find they are among our circles, let’s not allow them to foster their beliefs any where near us and instead insist they respect all of God’s children or leave our group and then pray for their souls because they are doomed, they need prayer.

But having said all of that, most of us crackers are not concerned with your skin color but do find your unintelligible speech difficult to understand. We do find the underwear showing scuffling around with attitude off putting. Why? Because it you think you are showing us how cool you are, in fact, you are just showing lack of class and lack of education. Stop that. Walk like a man. Talk like you have been educated. Act like a man. A man of color with pride. Be respectful to your friends and co-workers and show respect for elders and if you’re a man, show respect to women. Your skin color is not the issue, your behavior is. Don’t believe that? Talk to some of your own friends or family who have not fallen into the ghetto style and who have probably many less incidents with white people treating them “like scum”. 

This world is full of so many people who are not white. Being white is a minority if you look world-wide so if there has become a society of entitled white people, how did that happen? It’s been 50 years since the riots. In that 50 years have you taken advantage of all the rights your grandparents fought for? Have you studied hard to get scholarships for which you had preferential treatment? Did you better yourself or wallow in pity? I am not accusing, just asking. I know just as many white people, Asian people and Indian people who are not living to their potential, but they aren’t whining that they can’t. They just won’t. I’m a believer in working hard and earning your way and if you do that and are still beaten down, then you have a bitch. Then you can cry “racial card being played here” and it would be legit. And if that happens. take action because that is illegal.

Police

The thin blue line. Like any profession, there are are some badass police that should never have passed the academy nor should they ever have a gun. True, no question. However, for each of them there are hundreds of good dedicated officers trying to serve and protect. Trying to take care of you. Keeping your neighborhoods safe. This requires you be honest with them when questioned. This requires you tell what you saw or know. If you don’t you are the problem. If your neighborhood is frightening and you won’t tell what you saw or what you know about the problems, don’t expect any help from officers who are putting their lives on the line just to answer your call for help when you don’t answer their call for help. You want safe neighborhoods? Keep your eyes and ears open and when there is trouble HELP the police get to the root of the issues. Help them get criminals out of your neighborhood. Yes, it really is up to you to keep your babies alive..

Get stopped and mistreated? How much is your fault? Did you show respect? Were you forthcoming with info the officer needs to protect himself? Did you have an attitude because you were innocent? Was it really racial profiling or did you break a law and didn’t see the cop? Not to say it is always the driver’s fault, but I’ve seen a good number of videoed stops where I see nothing but disrespect toward the officer and then screaming when someone dies in a situation that did not need to happen. Sometimes it is the victim’s fault. Sometimes it’s the officer’s over-reaction. Sometimes it isn’t a black person, but you won’t likely see those videos. They don’t seem to be of interest.

Donald J. Trump

Never did I think I would have such a strong opinion about a man I once admired. I admired his ability to create skyscrapers and fancy casinos and apartment buildings for the wealthy in New York and around the world. I admired his blunt speech and his obvious wealth. His foreign and beautiful model women, (three of whom he married!) intrigued me. The Celebrity Apprentice show was my first look into who he really is and I didn’t like that person. I was not impressed with his narcissism and his mean spirit. I stopped watching about half way through the first season. Never looked in on it again.

I will admit to laughing and being excited when he said he was running for President. Not because I thought he would be good, but because I looked forward to seeing him humbled by the rejection I was certain he would face once voting began. I was looking forward to seeing how he blamed stupid American’s for his loses. I never, ever thought he’d win one primary let alone now 15, I think. I am no longer entertained, I am frightened beyond description. I have listened to hours of his speeches. I have read everything I can find on how he is succeeding. I am baffled that my country is filled with such voters who will actually try to give him the power over our foreign relationships, the nuclear weapons, the healthcare, the tax department. This man disrespects women regularly,  even at his campaign stops! He disrespects latinos and muslims…not some, not a lot, all of them. Fascist? Racist? Probably both, but add to that list war monger because he is all about “bombing them all; bombing the shit out of all of ‘em”. He insists you bomb the oil and the homes and you win. He’s all about winning. He is winning. He has such a following that I’m not sure anyone can stop him at this point from becoming the Republican candidate, but even worse, if he isn’t the Republican candidate, I believe he will run anyway. He is going to be President, in his mind, regardless and doesn’t really need the parties support. I’m not sure he’s wrong.

I do believe with his ego, his mouth and his complete lack of class, which money cannot buy, he would bring the war to our shores in no time at all. He will piss off enough foreign leaders to bring bombs to us. I am petrified to think about how many of our allies will jump ship. Putin will be his friend and I don’t know what that might lead to. 

All in all, he has offended everyone except white straight men. Yet his crowds are growing daily.

I don't know how I feel about any of this. Honestly. I am afraid of him. I am unsure of him. I am sometimes even in agreement  with him. That scares me, too.

That's a little bit better...I mean writing things out does help. But I am so unsure about so many things right now, which does not make me mellow. I like mellow. I need to settle a few things, one way or the other.



Anyone else? Anyone else looking for answers? Clarification?




Sunday, February 21, 2016

It's Your Turn

Hello...

I have not been here since the Holidays! I have no idea why I am not blogging more. I do have things I share on my page, some pretty boring, but still, that kind of is my life. I'm okay with that, by the way. 

I'm here now and I want to share something that really isn't about me. It's about you. Yep, YOU; my reader(s). There might be more than one, not sure because the comments here and on my page have dwindled considerably from what they used to be, but I'm good with that. See, I do get a count of how many "readers" or "clickers" I have, so the comments are more about knowing someone liked it or didn't like it enough to tell me. Bonus!

As I sit and type my thoughts or my happiness or my pain or confusion, I often think that maybe someone else will share that moment. That someone else might need to know they aren't alone. You might be the one I touched or supported or you might be the one to lift me up or smile with me. That's my goal.

So today I am fresh off a reunion with some people I really enjoy seeing once a year! I will add that I'd love to see some of them more often, but logistics limit us to the once a year visit. It's a long drive for us, about 2.5 to 3 hours, traffic deciding, but once we are there, it sure feels worth it. Re-connecting and laughing and remembering and catching up...reunions are just plain fun to me. And this one was no different. I always leave wondering how it is that we still have some connection with zero, in some cases, communication between these things?

The question for those of you who wish to play along, is simply this...

Do you enjoy or would you enjoy monthly, weekly or annually re-connecting with people you knew in your teens? Most of whom you haven't seen in say 20-40 years? Would that stress you out or would you embrace that get together?

Your turn...tell me your story...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

T'was The Day or Two After Christmas 2015

And so it goes...the holiday comes rushing in and then even more quickly it moves on into the history or herstory pages.

I expected to be happy in our new home with or without decorations and sharing dinner with our friend and her pups. I anticipated feeling Momma's absence as the 24th passed without her for the second time. That evening was always very special to me. It was "our" time. It is "my" time now. Not so festive or warm or fun. Reflective though, I found I remembered so many holidays with her and with both parents. Things I hadn't thought of in a long time were running around in my head. Funny things, sweet things and just mundane, ordinary things. Christmas with the parents was traditional and yet always open for new things. Just as it should be, I believe.

For us, now, it is a day without the kids and their kids. A day we text or phone or FaceTime or all three before the three days pass. Christmas Eve, Christmas and my birthday have become the three day holiday. It is now different, not bad, just different. 

We do Christmas with the kids on Thanksgiving with those who can join. It's a nice compromise and it was so much fun this year, it carried me through to the real Christmas. I missed everyone, but not in a weepy or depressed way, just accepted this new way of doing Christmas and was happy going about our preparations for guests. Dinner and company was so pleasant. We did just fine. Merry Christmas was enjoyed here.

My birthday had many moments of eye leakage thinking of all the silly things Momma and Roomy and I had done in the past to celebrate the day she had her last baby and the day I ruined Christmas dinner! It was 1949. So lucky to have so many birthdays with her in our home or before that, in her home. 64 of them with her; 2 without her, so far. I really miss her. I think it's getting a bit less frequent, but when the pain hits me, it's debilitating and I cannot fight it off. I am sure it will remain this way. She was a force in my life and some of my life was completely about being her baby. I miss that, too. 

Today, the day after the three day holiday, I am still very wrapped up in memories of her. Good ones and heart wrenching ones. The tears have been on and off all day and I feel almost empty now as night approaches. It's as though my soul has just realized that this is my new normal and it is not pleased. Nothing in my life can be as it was before September 2014. Everything is changed. Some things are good and the change is easy. Others are difficult. Like my own and her birthday. Both are very painful. 

I feel so blessed to have such wonderful people around me that keep me smiling and keep me in the now. I have to live in my now because that's who I am. It's a little more of a challenge on these days, but I am doing it. I think my kids and my friends understand and make an extra effort. If not, it feels that way to me. My husband doesn't seem to notice, I'm glad of that because he can't fix it and would try. I'm pretty good at grieving on my own in private and in prayer for more strength to face these days with memories.

As I sit here in my new home, Roomy dozes across the way, Miggy is crashed on the back porch and I alone am not listening to the news and writing. This is a good time. It's quiet. I'm ignoring the yapping of the local news guy and am immersed in my own thoughts, which you are reading. I like this feeling of mind purging and the hope that another grieving person will read this and feel less alone. Maybe even get a little strength knowing that lost love really does change you forever on so many levels and that's okay. I've said before that I loved my dad and have missed him everyday since his death in 1978. That is true, but Momma and I were so much more than mother and child. More than friends and much more than care-giver and patient. We were connected by our hearts. We still are. We will always be. It is a different loss. The kind of loss that is forever painful. The kind of love that is priceless. And price for having had that is this never-ending ache.

The one thing that keeps me out of the dark place I might want to fall into sometimes, is that I know how much she loved me. I know how safe and content she is now. I know how young and happy she is now and I know she is with Dad. My faith restores me daily and my God never lets go of my hand. I never walk alone. ~Amen.

Jo




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

VETERAN'S DAY ~ 2015



Look around you. Do you see a Veteran? If you are out in public, chances are good there is one near you. From some long ago war, from a peacetime, from the Viet Nam era. It’s hard to spot them, but they are among us daily. And the newer conflicts have produced an entire generation of new vets. The younger Afghanistan or Iraqi vets. The Desert Storm vets. A whole new class of heroes. A huge part of our society has given that same pledge to serve, at all costs, to protect at all sacrifice, the country they love; The United States of America. 

The contract they each signed gave their lives to their country for the stated amount of time. 

Read that again. “Gave their lives”…100%…some gave that. Some gave their body parts. Some gave their mental health. All, however, who wore that uniform identifying them as property of the USA, gave their time for the security of ours. They belonged to their government for the amount of time they enlisted to serve or were drafted to serve. They lived every day of that service as property of their government. 



Now tell me, how do you thank that person?

Every year I try. I put fingers to keyboard and I find words to say that I appreciate, admire and respect this who served. I look for a way to be humble and spew gratitude on the page. I never quite find enough. There isn’t enough. It’s a gift these vets gave me and to you. It’s a gift because we didn’t earn it. This is why a “Thank you” and a special day to honor those who have served and are still among us, is a particularly good time to make that effort.

Veteran’s Day. The day we separate the current military and the deceased military from those who have proudly and eagerly served and are now discharged from service. Those who walk beside us daily enjoying the freedom they fought or served to ensure. Bless them, every single one of them. 

Buy them lunch, coffee, a beer or anything else you can afford at every opportunity. With a simple handshake, nod of the head and a “Thank you for your service.”

God bless the American Veterans. And Thank you for your sacrifices.

Humbly submitted,
Jo Heroux


Thursday, September 17, 2015

One Year Later




I believe since passing the first anniversary, I have truly turned a big corner. I can't think of a better descriptive phrase.
I find memories are making me smile, rather than cry. I understand on a deep level that I did survive a year without seeing her face, touching her tiny hands or hearing her sounds. She made a lot of little sounds. I still really miss her. I still feel a little lost in this world without her. I also know she is in my mirror, in my heart, in my words often and all around me in her possessions. I am settled in her absence now rather than upset by it. I know she is strong and happy and has found her reward. She will be waiting for me.
I will run to her.
For the days I have left, I will try to be the loving child she raised. I will try to forgive and move on from hurt. I will encourage my children and grandchildren endlessly, as she encouraged me. I will find strength when it appears nonexistent, as she did many times.
I will celebrate and honor her by being the best me I can create.
I will live in the now and count my blessings rather than pine away or wish away my numbered earthly days.

Jo



💜JoJo

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Eight Happy Pictures!

Den of the Beastly Bear-Joe

Two blogs in one day...it's his challenge^^^and I took it!

Anyway he challenged me to post eight pictures of happiness. So here we go...


Cooking makes me happy. Especially new recipes! 


This man being the grandpa! They all call him Punkin. I really love that.


Jake...yeah he makes me smile.

The Heroux family...being part of this... :)

My little girl holding my little boy's son. What a pair

My little girl's daughters + friend! Happy Days!!

Being one of them ^^^it's a good thing.

My little boy's little girl. She is very funny!!


So all of these are happy things and I have many more happy things in my life. This was a fun challenge.Here are the guidelines for the eight photos of happiness bloghop:
  1. Tag me in your post.
  2. Link to the creator of the tag. In this case Vidya Sury!
  3. Show off your own 8 photos of happiness and have fun picking them!
  4. You can add a little description of the photos or just let the photos speak for themselves. Easy!
  5. Tag others. Essentially, spread the happiness and make the world a better place!
I am happy to tag the following bloggers! 
No pressure, but imagine actually refusing to have fun!
1) Keri - November Rain
2) Kat - Karen Taylor
3) Susan Cook Bonifant
4) That Susan Williams


Now Go Have Fun!  and comment before you leave, okay? And don't forget to tag me on your post and link back? 

Jo






BIRTH and DEATH DATES




It began for me in 1967. February 2, to be exact. We were in the midst of an enormous snow storm. It had dumped 3 feet of snow the week before and each day following added a few inches more making travel very difficult. Our beloved dog had taken ill and we managed to get him to the vet some 15 miles away between storms. They were doing an exploratory exam of some kind and while he was under a mild anesthetic, the doctor called to tell me, his 17 year old “sister” that he was dying of an obstruction. He wanted permission to euthanize him. He was 14. I had no memory of life without him and I loved him as much as any human in my life. I asked for a few minutes to decide because the roads again were not passable and I couldn’t get there. Mom and I decided not to allow him to wake up only to be put under again. He died that day in the vet’s office without us.

Three days later I was engaged to be married in October. That’s how some people think you get passed heartbreak, by moving on to something wonderful. For me, it didn’t work. I was happy to accept the engagement as a good thing, but it did nothing to fill my heart where Smokey lived and still 48 years later, lives this vital part of my childhood.

In 1969, a mere two years later, I gave birth to my first child on February 2.

My dad became ill in September of 1978. He was hospitalized for 7 weeks and passed from a fungal infection on his brain, a complication of aplastic anemia. He was 56 years old when he passed on October 23, 1978.

My daughter has two daughters. I am lucky enough to say that I was there, in Nashville, in time to see the cord cut on the first one on November 2, 1999 and the entire labor and delivery of her baby girl on October 22, 2001. Just a day short of the anniversary of Dad’s passing.

My second child was born on September 9, 1970. A day free from any sadness or any memory other than the time Dad was hospitalized, but the day itself, was entirely his own. It is one week exactly after his step-father’s birthday and easy to remember now.

Last year, 2014, my Momma passed at 2 a.m. on September 9. Two hours earlier and she would have missed his birthday. His birthday is still so special to me that in my heart I feel I lost Momma the day before. It was the middle of the night. That Monday was my last day with her. That goodnight, I love you, see you in the morning, was Monday, September 8, 2014. This memory and this perception allows his birthday to still belong to him. I am, today reliving my last day, normal in every way, with her. She was very sleepy and napped in this very chair where I now sit writing this, on and off all day. She ate her lunch and half of her dinner. We talked and we laughed in between naps. We sat on the deck for a few minutes in the warmth of the afternoon. We talked about taking John out for his birthday. She wasn’t sure if she was up to that because after work dinners were hard for her. It was a normal day. It was a day burned now in my mind, my heart and my prayers. I am so glad I didn’t know. There was no real warning. There was no illness. There was no suffering. She simply got up between 1:30, when I went to bed, and 2 am, when she called my name two times. When I saw her collapse in the hallway outside my room and where I held her as she slipped away into God’s care and Dad’s waiting arms. Where I felt, heard and tried to hold onto that last exhale. Where I cried and rocked and loved her into the next adventure. Where I began to let her go.  That was Monday in my mind. It was Monday in my heart and still is.

This past March Mike and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary in Michigan with his family at the funeral home. We were celebrating his oldest brother’s life. He passed a few days before. 

My paternal grandmother passed on her own birthday which fell on Thanksgiving.

I lost a wonderful friend and writing mentor to heart disease the night after the birth of our only grandson and in the hospital right next door.

And last on this strange list…Sadie, our furbaby of 13 years died this year on Elvis’ birthday. A day I used to celebrate with his music.

The circle of life has been pounded into me most of my adult life, as you can see. 

I wonder, am I the only person this seems to happen to? Do any of you have lists like this? 

Please share your stories, if you have them.  


Jo