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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Letter to My Son's Principal

Back story:




Yesterday, at my son's school... Michael Cobb (former NFL tight end for the Chicago Bears) spoke to the kids.  His message was one about making positive choices, because they lead to positive outcomes.  He used personal stories about growing up and the violence he faced... telling the kids about when he was a teen and they had been drinking... long story short, his friend was killed by gunfire. He said that he always found peace because of his relationship with Jesus Christ.




FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD... He talked about guns, alcohol, and religion in a public school. So what happened?






Our principal had to send out a letter to parents regarding the speaker.  To quote a direct line, "The topics of guns, alcohol, and religion were not what we had envisioned when arranging for this assembly."  This line made me think that maybe people were complaining to the school regarding the guest speaker, and WHY?  We hear of gun shot victims all the time here in our small Iowa community.  We have to help our children prepare for reality.  And unfortunately reality in today's world includes guns, alcohol and HOPEFULLY Jesus Christ.






So, I was prompted to write a letter to the principal:




Dear Principal:




I am writing to you regarding the assembly the school had yesterday with Mr. Michael Cobb. Thank you first and foremost for having him come and speak at the school.  I think that in society today, children experience a harsher world at a much younger age.  Guns and alcohol are things they see every day anymore either on TV or maybe at home. How many children see their parents drink every night?  I know that my son did for a long time, when we lived with his dad. AND how many kids hear about Jesus Christ spoken proudly, especially in a public forum??




More and more we are hearing about gun violence here in Cedar Rapids.  People getting shot, young kids getting killed and as a parent, it is just plain scary.  Our children need to know that they can have a positive outlet and they can be a shining light in an ever dimming world.




My son came home yesterday and he was excited.  His eyes were sparkling and he couldn't wait to tell me about his assembly.  He said Mr. Cobb was so fantastic and he went through a lot of hard things in life and he made it to the NFL.  He told me he really never wants to drink alcohol EVER and that when Mr. Cobb asked the group if they would rather have $1 million or Jesus, my son said Jesus.  Every time he would say Jesus.  Mr. Cobb gave my quirky, amazing, smart 10 year old HOPE that he can do something BIGGER than what he even expected. He told me that he could set his sights higher and reach those goals.  Everyone has to work hard.




So, I am sure you are receiving a lot of complaints about the speaker.  I can only assume what you have heard, but I wanted to let you know that this parent is proud to have had her son in the presence of someone so real, so honest, and so God fearing as Mr. Cobb.  Keep doing a great job.




Best,
Melissa






And for Michael Cobb I have a few words for him as well.  Keep being real.  Keep telling your story.  There will always be naysayers.  Your gift has brought my son a bunch of light spots.  Thank you!







Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Too Set in My Ways

This is a completely random blog.  Random because I am just going to write from my heart because I need to write, and my blog is my place where I go to "THINK" and "RELEASE".


I think, I think too much.  Like as a mom, as a friend, as a girlfriend of sorts.  I have too many responsibilities to not think ahead.  Like, will you be kind to my children? Will you go to church with me and at least try it? What are your religious beliefs? IF you are atheist we probably cannot ever date... What is your personality like? Will you yell at me? Do you have abusive tendencies?

CAN I BE 100% MYSELF AROUND YOU?

Maybe I have become a bit bitter.  Maybe a bit seasoned? Someone who knows what she wants? Someone who knows what her life is like and how complicated it is?

YEAH.  That one for sure.  I know how complicated my life is, duh... I live it every day.  And guess what? I am happy... even in my worst moments, my darkest times I find a way to be happy and to find something happy in the middle of crap.

Often people have asked me HOW I can do that.... HOW can I go through a lot of crap and still smile all the time. Still have hope, blah-blah-blah-bla-blah (said in the voice of Dracula from Hotel Transylvania, FYI)....I have hope because I always have surrendered my life to God... giving my bad stuff to Him, because I don't have to carry it alone. Sharing the good stuff with Him, because He makes it possible. I never question it. I never doubt it. OH believe me, sometimes I don't want to surrender to Him, but I need to... and it maybe takes my sister to kick me in the butt and remind me.

Maybe I am this way because I was raised in a non-denominational church, and I had a grandmother who TOLD IT. PREACHED IT. BELIEVED IT. AND made you feel the fear of GOD in her words...that is why I never doubted it. AND I will never doubt it.

This believe I have has been the deciding factor in a lot of areas of my life... business, relationships, and how I try and live my life every day. I know I am not perfect.  I am FAR from it... but I try to become a better person every day.  I try to remind myself of my walk and why I am here. And I try not to complain about my life, because at least I am here to live it, RIGHT? PREACH IT SISTAH.

So maybe bitter is to harsh of a term.  Maybe I am looking for something that doesn't exist... but until I find it, I won't settle.  I have met a lot of amazing people on my journey and I never regret those who have come into my life... but we ALL deserve to have someone in our life that meets the desires of our heart and who is perfect for us in our eyes and in God's... someone who completes the hollow parts of our soul.  Maybe this isn't even a someone but maybe it is a something... if that makes any sense. Like, I am comfortable being on my own... I am NOT good at dating. I am horrible at it. LOL

And to bring up a burr in my butt from over a month ago..... because it still frustrates me...
 
REALITY CHECK:

Being someone's "FRIEND with BENEFITS" is not acceptable for me or really for ANYONE out there.  It is a frikkin' cop out to having REAL feelings.  I don't care how many times you tell me you want me to show up half nekkid for you so you can do your thing... If I told you ONCE it is NOT GOOD ENOUGH for me, dude... it is not good enough. Don't stalk me, don't bring it up randomly... and DON'T ask me to wear fishnet stockings and an overcoat to your house. REAL LIFE IS NOT PORN.  AND better yet, I am not trying to get YOU to do something you don't want. I am setting MY frikkin' boundaries.  DON'T push me. This person is not anyone I have or will date, for OBVIOUS reasons, but don't come at me and be all GOD this and GOD that with misguided intentions.  I see YOU.  YOU pretend to be someone you are NOT... your mask only hides you from your real self and others can see right through you. SO friends, fine.  BUT do NOT think you will be able to EVER take the happy train ride in the tunnel, GET WHAT I MEAN? True Story.  The tunnel is closed for maintenance. LOL

 

Acknowledge. Accept. MOVE ON.


Here is the hard part though in my journey:  I meet people who are lovely.  They have wonderful personalities and are fun to be around, but I have kids... I have a conviction of how I want them to be raised.  I have deep routed beliefs that I cannot change, nor I wouldn't want to.  I need to stay close to my grounding... every time I am pulled away slightly bad things happen.  I need to stay focused and stay on track.  And I will not apologize for what I believe. I will not say I am sorry for who I am.  I will stand solid in my beliefs for I know I don't stand alone.  He will always be with me -- even though I have failed Him a ton of times, HE never left me. HE has always been by my side... I cannot and will not ever turn my back on Him.

Tuesdays... deep thoughts for Melissa....





Monday, April 7, 2014

Parents... Be the Adults You Want Your Children To Be!

Oh, what a great day today was. I worked, met a friend for coffee, grabbed my niece... met another friend for lunch... loved on my kids... played at the park, and then an ASSHOLE moment happens.

So I am running... (when I wrote this, I felt like Forrest Gump... "JENNY I AM RUNN-ING") and I am watching Madelynn play on the playground at the school by our house... there are a few high school boys playing basketball and everything is right in my world.

Until...

One boy starts making fun of the other.  They start throwing down words and saying crap like, "YOU BETTER WATCH OUT OR I WILL CUT YOU" to which I think... not on my watch... NOT on my watch. WHY? Because I am cool like that... I feel like I am the neighborhood watch all of a sudden (OH did you see that movie? OMG it was wicked funny)...where was I... yeah....

So, I am pretending to be listening to music but watching and listening to the boys.  The one boy who was being tormented got on his bike and just left.  I was like, BRAVO.  BRAVO. Be strong, and walk away.
 
I kept RUNN-NING JENNY...

Madelynn kept playing... All is right in the world.  The three boys who were left playing basket ball calmed down, and I wanted to have a little talk with the one dude who caused drama, but I am not his mama, and well... what if he did have a knife and decided to cut me? I just ran....

All of a sudden, as I am in "cool down" and helping my Madelynn... this couple come barreling into the play ground YELLING at the boys who are left.  Now it is two of them, not three... and what I assume is a mom starts screaming at them...

WHICH ONE OF YOU THREATENED MY BOY? I am F*CKIN' talking to you??? YOU need to have some respect and F*UCKIN come over here... this is a F*CKIN' play ground with kids.

(ANYONE BESIDES ME SEE WHAT IS WRONG HERE??? OR AM I OUT OF MY MIND??)

NOW, these young men walked over and said yes ma'am.  They were polite to this REDICULOUS mother.  As a mom...I was embarrassed (which you know takes a whole lot).  I walked over to them and was pissed for the two boys left.  I said to the mom, 'Hi.  I was here for the altercation between your son and the other boy, what was his name?" and they boys told me.  I then went onto say that the two boys she was yelling at did not say ANYTHING to her son.

She did not apologize.

I was so upset. So here is what I learned:

1) If you want to be treated with respect, I don't care who you are dealing with... show some respect

2) If you don't know if someone caused an issue, DON'T assume, it just makes an ass out of you. Not me....

3) DO NOT... I mean DO NOT treat someone inferior because of their age or color... I think this pissed me off the most. Here there are two young, polite black men.  They were so kind to Maddy and I-- and it was the OTHER other kid with them that caused the problem... HE was the one who was mean, and guess what... he was white and making fun of your son. Don't EVER assume that someone is in the wrong based on their skin color, hair color, or eye color... if you do, that makes you an asshole in my book.

4) If another child says your child started it by calling names (and in my book this was a serious one, he called the young gentleman who was talking the N word... you NEVER use the N word, I don't care who you are... you will see me cut you, kind of like if you called me the C word... watch out now) -- you need to talk to your child.  And the kid who was basically bullied by this parent's son did NOTHING to retaliate... HE was in the right here! And parents -->This world is diverse and your child needs a wake up call.  Teach them by leading them.


We sit and say how entitled our youth are... yet we are the ones entitling them. AND we need to remember to lead by example.  The parents were WRONG in my eyes.  Sitting there using the F bomb like candy with other kids at the park, talking to two teens who did NOTHING to their son in such a ferocious tone.  WHO DOES THAT? Maybe we need a parent intervention....

So yes, I was pissed and apparently I still am.  I come from a very diverse family.  NO ONE EVER does that kind of stuff around me, I tend to get scrappy.  So what did I do?

I decided to lead by example.  Not for my 4 year old sake, but for those two boys.  I did intervene and I did tell the parents that I was running and that they had the wrong boys.  And I thanked the boys for helping Maddy and I and I told them how much I appreciated how they stayed out of the altercation between the other boys.  I patted them both on the shoulder and told them to keep up the positive stuff in their lives... enjoy their child hood.  To the parents? I did say something to them... I said it was worse having parents yell the F bomb at the playground than what else occurred.  And that my 4 year old now wants to know what the word fuck means.  I brought her over and asked the mom to explain it to her. (I did this with some teenage girls once at a KFC in Sioux City with my friend Shannon and it worked that time, LOL)



AND THAT is how I roll....

I waited and waited... and I finally said, "No? You don't know how to explain it to my 4 year old? Then maybe we shouldn't be saying it on the playground." (in that condescending mommy tone we mommies get)

I winked at the boys, smiled and walked away....

You have to leave a strong, good lasting impression with kids... even if they aren't yours. 

I really hope I see the boys again at the playground on Wednesday when I go do my run. They taught me a valuable mom lesson. To think before I say ANYTHING in front of kids... show them what a strong adult is...

Be a role model....

I think I have ADHD.... Random Thoughts


I think sometimes I try to mold myself to other's expectations of what I think they want me to be... I try not to, but I do and I think we all tend to do that a bit... but when I can be my quirky, silly self and play on a playground and NOT feel like an old lady playing on a playground with a child... that tells me something....

Sometimes a person needs to just be comfortable in their own skin.

I love my friends and family to the moon and back.


Coffee is my favorite beverage of choice... I do like a glass of wine from time to time.  My favorite color is green. 

I really do have HAZEL eyes... although they appear blue most of the time...

 



I am the reason we watch FROZEN almost every day. I try to blame it on my 4 year old but truly it is me. I want to sing with the characters, and when my daughter let's me be Anna it warms my heart.

I love to sing...I will sing at the top of my lungs every given chance.

I care for people easily which I will not change...ever.  Sometimes I get told I care too much... but I would rather care too much than not at all.

I love Ritz crackers, and I don't eat a lot of sweets.

Have I mentioned that coffee is good? 
 
I love my kids so much it hurts sometimes. 

I started going to a hip-hop dance class that is so much fun... I laugh so hard I snort.

OH, I snort when I laugh from my belly....

I would like to do stand up comedy one more time before I get too old to tie my shoes.

If I could change the world I would. (DUH people, DUH)

I do have prejudice.  I am prejudice against people who are prejudice.  I don't understand how someone can hate another person based on their gender, skin color, sexual preference, happiness level, marital status... I just don't get it. So I am prejudice... I used to say I am not prejudice, but let's face it... I get really pissed off when people cast judgment against someone without even knowing them based on those "things" that make that person a PERSON.... TRUE??? I think so. How dare you judge someone like that without walking in their shoes. OK?

I get freaked out when the University hospital calls me on a Monday asking for me to bring my daughter on Tuesday for an appointment... Even when I know it is just probably a medicine update or blood work that needs to be rechecked... but it freaks me out.

When a friend tells me something I listen... I may ask a lot of questions... I may try to problem solve because that is my nature, but if you tell me to just listen I will.

If you tell me you don't want to talk about it, I won't.  If you tell me you want to talk about it but you don't want to be asked about it, I won't ask you about it but I will want to....but I will wait for you to bring it up. MAKE SENSE?

I am smart but sometimes not so much. Sometimes I am a ditz.

I love to dance.

Cheese is one of my favorite food groups. I know it is NOT a food group but it should be, as well as tacos.... tacos should be a separate food group...or they could develop another part of the food pyramid that is called, "CHEESY SPICY MEXICAN FOOD" and it would make me happy. Get on that FDA... get on that.. Make it happen (LOL).

I love flip flops. I would wear them in the snow if my feet wouldn't get cold or wet. 

I'm just a girl.

That statement is powerful for me. I mean, I am a business woman, a mom, a crafter, a toy player, a chauffer, a best friend, the biggest cheerer in the stands at a game... but at the end of a the day... I may be older, but I am still a girl.  A girl who maybe someday doesn't want to walk through this life all by herself.  BUT alas, I can do it.  I have this far and I can do it... if I am lucky enough to end up walking it with someone, I know I will be truly grateful. But until then, I got this.... this crazy roller coaster called life...

Say What You Mean

So many times I have heard -- "say what you mean, mean what you say."  Most of the time from the lips of my mother, but she taught me well.
 
 
 
I am going to random babble about this because I always try and say what I mean, and mean what I say, but man... AM I communicating properly?
 
Have you ever took a few minutes to really reflect on the fact that the words you say, the words you put out THERE (wherever THERE is) you cannot take back? 
 
They are words and they can either lift up or tear down someone else in an instant.
 
So why say things to someone on purpose that you KNOW will tear them down?  I guess I don't understand that.
 
I was at an event yesterday and I cringed.  I know I am not the best mom ever, but I am a great mom.  I listen to my kids and I love them a lot and they know it. With that said, I cannot handle it when a parent SCREAMS at a child and tells them how horrible they are.  Are they horrible or is the action horrible? I mean, my kids can be obnoxious, out of control... and sometimes downright naughty... they are NOT inherently naughty, it is the action that is naughty... so why scream at your child and tell them how horrible they are? And then when you do it in public, that means you are wicked comfortable doing it which is another topic for a different day.
 
Don't get me wrong.  I have a child who has an autoimmune disorder that destroyed most of her thyroid. SO she doesn't have traditional and normal hormone function, with that comes other "THINGS" that took her  to see 8 different medical specialists.... And to be honest, she can be a total asshole.  BUT, there is a difference... I may say she is 'acting like an asshole' to my friends as a joke because they know she has behavioral challenges but I would never TELL her she is an asshole... or even really believe that she had the power to be asshole-like her whole life.  She just has asshole moments (don't we all?).  She is my miracle baby and she is an amazing child. But she challenges me.
 
So truly, live on purpose.  Don't just do things on accident, do them with fervent desire to change your world and the world of others around you. 
 
Think before you say a word, think about the impact it will have on those around you.  Truly to take a moment to live outside yourself.
 
OH and while you are at it, when you talk to someone... look them in the eye. Engage, and if you truly want to know them, ask for more information about them.  It is OK to show you care a bit.  Try a few times to be vulnerable.... and it is ok to set expectations... with relationships, with your kids, with family.  Setting expectations is key... I think this is what I need to really work on.  Boundaries and expectations... That may be tomorrows blog. lol So be expecting it. HAHAHA
 
 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Comfortable Place

OK.  So this single mom stuff sometimes is for the birds. I kid you not. But I would say that given the good, the bad, and the ugly... I would NEVER take it back. I would NEVER change my life decisions and I would never want to go back to the way things were.


In life we make decisions and we live with the consequences of those choices for a lot longer than the day we make the choice... sometimes they can haunt us or champion us for many days, years, decades to come. 

As parents we make a lot of choices we may tend to regret, but here is the thing... did you learn from that choice? Did your child learn?

As long as we are continually learning then sure... there will be mistakes, it is normal... just don't repeat the same damn mistake over and over and over and over and over again.

So I am speaking to myself.  Sometimes when we make choices that are wrong --it is because we cannot say no.  We tend to be yes people (I was gonna say yes men, but let's face it... I am not a man and I don't pretend to even understand what goes through a man's head let alone...nor have I played on TV). 

Why is it hard to say no?  Lately I have found that I am so overextended with obligations by CHOICE that I cannot say YES to things I really want to do, the things I desire.

So why is it... Why can't I say no...

Fact:
1) We don't want to say NO because we don't want the other person to NOT like us
GET OVER IT.  IF YOU SAY NO and they don't like you because of it they really weren't worth it to begin with.

Fact:
2)  We don't want to say NO because we don't want to let the other person down. 
Really? There are how many other people out there who can say yes?  Quit with the guilt.  Say no, be confident and if you let them down it is temporary, but be true to yourself. You live with yourself EVERY SINGLE FRIKKIN DAY.  Don't let yourself down.

Fact:
3) If I say NO I seem selfish.
SO WHAT.  You are allowed to be selfish

Fact:
4) If I say NO I am a horrible person.
No you aren't and you are not a martyr so just say no and be done with it.

Fact:
5) If I say NO but I have time it will seem like I am ungrateful to the other person for what they have done for me in the past.
Not true. You show your gratefulness through your actions and words.., and everything has a season... maybe you need to take a season off...


So here is the thing.  Be in your own comfortable place with you. Don't feel like you have to do something, go somewhere, have your kid involved in a multitude of sports and cultural activities.  Spend time together... get in that comfortable place where you can just be....

Challenge yourself to stand up for a cause... stand up for your own sanity and your own comfortable pair of slippers and a nice robe...

Just try it.  Saying NO may be one of the most healing things you have ever done, especially if it comes from the very root of your being and a genuine place.  And just to keep it real, making a conscious choice to say no to something or someone else, means I am making a conscious choice to say YES to my children... this is the kind of consequence I choose to live with.