Let’s Talk About Ferguson

I have white privilege. Sometimes, it’s hard to admit because I don’t want our society to be that way. I don’t want the color of my skin or of anyone else’s to matter. But the society, the world we live in – it would just be ignorant of me to pretend it didn’t matter. because in our society, it is still a big deal. People are still judged on the color of their skin.

I wasn’t introduced to the term or idea of white privilege until I was in college. I had no idea that I was moving to what is tied with Detroit for the most segregated city in America. I had no idea that friends of mine would experience discrimination. And I will never, ever have any idea what it is like to be anything other than white.

I know a bit of what it’s like to live in this city. I know I can go to the bank in a white part of town and it looks like the banks I grew up in. I know if I go to the bank in the black part of town, there’s often much more security, one I’ve been to even has a double door, that you can’t enter until the second door closes, a sort of airlock (I don’t know if I’m describing it right but that’s what it like). But even seeing and experiencing these things, observing around me that way one part is different from another, I know that I will never experience what it’s like to be racially profiled.

That’s why I’ve hesitated to say too much about Ferguson. I don’t know what I can say. What can I say that isn’t clouded by my privilege?

But I realized what I can say today. And I know my words will never be complete or enough, but even imperfect words are better than my silence. Because I do not want to give the silent endorsement that by not saying anything that this is okay. I can say that we, as a country, can do better. That we need to do better.

Because journalists are being arrested. Here. In America. Normally when we hear about that it’s in the Middle East or in certain oppressive regimes in Asia. But now? In America? We all suffer if we lack a free press. Arresting journalists usually means that you don’t want people to know what’s going on. You don’t want the truth to get out. Which has to make you ask, what is it they are trying to hide?

We need to do better because people are being tear-gassed. Here. In America. I looked to see what other recent (past year or so) examples I could find of tear gas being used around the world: Liberia, West Bank, Bahrain, Egypt, Turkey are some of them. (Al-Jazeera America has pictures of many of these incidents).

You know what it reminds me of? In Jericho (a show about the United States after a nuclear attack wipes several US cities off the map) there’s an episode where Mayor Anderson tear gasses a church full of refugees that he’s decided can no longer stay in town because they threaten the survival of everyone else, because there are not enough resources for the townspeople and the refugees and so it’s the others who have to go. They didn’t grow up here. They’re not like us. They’re not a part of this community.

Because in some ways, that’s really what this is about. Seeing people as other – because of the color of their skin. And feeling threatened by that otherness, instead of realizing we are ALL human beings, no matter what color our skin happens to come in. There have been, over history, lots of lies spread about how that other person, with that other color skin, is not like us. And many of them still remain deep in our culture. And when you look at another person as other, it is very easy to degrade them, to do things to them you would never think were okay if it happened to someone like you.

And that is not okay. I can not say a lot, but I can say that is not okay. We are human beings.

And lastly, we need to do better because Michael Brown was shot in the street. He was a human being and he did not deserve to die that way. Amid all the questions about what happened that night, what we can know is that no one deserves to die that way. No mother deserves to find out that her son died at the hands of people who are supposed to be good, people who are supposed to protect, people who are supposed to serve.

I started this article by talking about white privilege and I’m going to circle back to that again. Because all I can think about is his mother. Michael Brown’s mother. I can not even begin to imagine what she is feeling. She loved her son. I know she loved her son in the way I love my son. I know she loved her son in the way all mothers love their sons.

But I will never know what she experienced. Because as this post so elegantly puts it, I have a mother’s white privilege.

“For a mother, white privilege means your heart doesn’t hit your throat when your kids walk out the door. It means you don’t worry that the cops will shoot your sons.”

I encourage you to read the whole post I linked to, because it’s extremely well written.

And now I guess it’s time to hit publish. I do experience some of the fear that my friend Marla talks about over in her blog as she too hits publish. The fear of saying the wrong thing. The fear of losing friends.

But I have reached the same conclusion. Saying nothing at all is worse.

A Very Important Cheese Question

Okay, so it’s honestly really not that important, but every once in a while I want to ask you guys a question, find a way to get the readers involved. I want to hear from you! Your thoughts and your feelings.

And because contrary to popular belief, I don’t like to be so serious all the time. So while I will post about very serious matters on this blog sometimes, I also like posting about the lighter side of life.

So here is your question for today.

What is your favorite kind of cheese? 

Personally, I’m partial to Colby Jack. But I want to hear from you! Tell me your favorite kind of cheese or your cheese stories or anything else cheese related you can think of :)

Books We Read – August 18, 2014

Here’s the list of books we’ve read – it’s been a while since I’ve updated, but the list is not overly long. I may have lost a page, but it’s also because I don’t include books we own that we’ve read again and again and again. And I’m sure, inevitably, I missed writing a few down. I only add a book we own to the list now if it’s one that we’ve newly obtained. Stars for favorites, but I will note when it comes to the kids’ books, they are not always equally loved. Some of these favorite books are Dominic’s favorites but drive me nuts or they are my favorites but Dominic is only meh about them. Some we do both love, however. :) Bold for books we own. All are Amazon links, but I was too lazy to make so many links affiliate links.

Dominic

*All Fall Down by Mary Brigid Barrett
*The Big Night-Night Book by Georgie Birkett
-Caillou At Grandma and Grandpa’s by Joceline Sanschagrin
*Caillou Be Careful! by Joceline Sanschagrin
*Cheese Belongs to You by Alexis Deacon
*Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Bed? by Barney Saltzberg
*First Numbers with Tiger Tales
-Getting Ready for New Baby by Harriet Ziefert
*Getting to Know Ruben Plotnick by Roz Rosenbluth
*Gossie’s Busy Day by Olivier Dunrea
*Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
*Hello Baby! by Mem Fox
-Hi New Baby! by Robie H. Harris
*Hug by Jez Alborough
-Humpty Dumpty Illustrated by Anthony Lewis
*The I Love You Book by Todd Parr
-I’m a Big Brother by Joanna Cole
*I Scream Ice Cream!: A Book of Wordles by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
*Little Elephant Runs Away by Wolfram Hanel
*Llama Llama Zippity Zoom by Anna Dewdney
*Look Who’s There! by Martine Perrin
*Lots of Lambs by Laura Numeroff
*Money, Money, Honey Bunny! by Marilyn Sadler
*Mouse Says “Sorry” by Michael Dahl
*Mouse’s First Summer by Lauren Thompson
*My Truck is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk
*The New Baby by Anne Civardi
*The New Baby by Mercer Mayer
-The New Baby by Fred Rogers
-The Night Before the New Baby by Natasha Wing
*No, David! by David Shannon
-Oh Say Can You Say? by Dr. Seuss
*Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss
*On Beyond Zebra! by Dr. Seuss
*The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
*Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehler
-Red Boots by Rosemary Wells
*Seahorses by Nicole Corse
*The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss
*Spot Loves Sports by Eric Hill
*Spot Says Please by Eric Hill
*There’s a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss
-Will It Be a Baby Brother? by Eve Bunting
*Zoom, Zoom, Baby by Karen Katz

Melissa

*Allegiant by Veronica Roth
*All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior
*How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough
*Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
*Talk with Your Kids: Conversations About Ethics by Michael Parker, M. E. D.

Day Seven Photo Challenge: Fruit

You can find the full list of the photo challenge here.

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Parenting Book Challenge Update: All Joy and No Fun

So, I’ve probably read more than just this one parenting book since I took on the challenge, but this is the one I’m officially adding as my first one and crossing off my list.

I chose the toddler level, so that means I need to read 6 to 8 books. So this is the first of that.

The book I read was All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior.

I will have to say this is a book that was not on my to be read list. It was in the new books section at the library. I have tried really hard not to pick up new books from there since I already have over 3,000 books on my to be read list (yes, that’s not a typo, it’s really a problem haha) so if I want to make any effort to finish that, I have to try to not get too distracted. But sometimes, the new books are just TOO alluring. They are right by the hold shelf so it’s pretty impossible to avoid seeing them. I saw the title of this one and it looked like something I would like. I said to myself, “No, I just got a new book from the hold shelf, that’s enough to read for right now.” So I walked away. Then I walked back. Then I picked it up and read the inside cover. Then I put it down and walked away. Then I picked it up again and read the inside cover again and it was at that moment that I knew it was going to come home with me.

Hi, my name is Melissa and I have a book problem lol.

But, at least I do not regret picking up this book. The book that I had on hold I ended up quitting because it just didn’t jive with me and this book that I picked up from the shelf I ended up loving. It was completely up my alley.

This book did not attempt in any way shape or form to tell you how to parent. Instead, it really came at it from more a historical/sociological standpoint. It really did its best to look at the ways that parenting has changed with time. It was chock full of real parents, studies, quotes, history and more. Most parenting books focus, in large part, on your children, but this one really sought to explore how having kids effects parents. It made me really think and reflect about what I am doing as a parent, what our society is doing, and whether or not all of the changes were good and on top of that, it gave me a few ideas for some future blog posts.

There are things in this book that probably could be considered depressing. There are some stats in there that might depress you, but more than anything I found it fascinating and in a small way, a little freeing. Things weren’t always the way they are now and I don’t have to do everything the way everyone else around me is doing things and my kids will still turn out fine.

Yes, I definitely see a future post in the works. So stay tuned.

A “Peasing” Solution

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When my mother-in-law was visiting she told me that Nick and his siblings would sneak frozen peas out of the fridge when she was defrosting them for dinner when they were kids. While I was waiting to dump these in my casserole, I wondered if Dominic might like them too. He had a lot of fun eating the peas from the measuring cup. Yay veggies!

Vlog: Don’t Take Water for Granted

Don’t take water for granted – it’s important! Hopefully you made it through all my rambling.

When I talk about synthetic water what I mean is that water is, of course, H2O and so if you can get hydrogen and oxygen together, you can make it, but it is extremely difficult and it’s not that simple and I don’t think (at this point and possibly ever) we have the technology to do it on such a large-scale as to make a feasible drinking solution. But you could synthesize water, that’s why I kind of say both in the video.

Detroit: A Right or a Privilege? Detroit Residents Split Over Water Shut-Offs

Toledo: Water alert affects more than 400,000 in Toledo, Ohio

Book: Drinking Water: A History

Homeschooling Carnival at Living Life and Learning

 

Pinterest Tip: Clothespins as Toothbrush Holders

So, I am sure you all see those long list pictures going around Pinterest that have a bunch of tips that supposedly work. Now, as with the internet, you can never be too sure of anything until you try it because a lot of things on the internet flop or they leave out crucial information that you need to make it work for yourself. Well, I tried one of those today, from this picture here.

Among the many things it claims, one of them is that you can use a clothespin as a toothbrush holder.  As I went to the basement and actually grabbed a clothespin, I began to get skeptical. I wasn’t sure how it would work or even if it would work at all. The legs of the clothespin in the picture seemed more spread apart than I felt they were going to be in reality.

But you always have to give something a shot right?

Soooo, to my pleasant surprise, it totally worked. It took a little adjusting on the first one, but once I did it one time, it was easy peasy to do it again. I’ll even show you proof. (Please pardon our toothbrushes! Writing this post has made me realize they really need to be replaced so I’m going to get on that ASAP. Also why does it seem like sharing a picture of your toothbrush is really personal or something? Haha. They’re in our bathroom and I’m sure many people have seen them).

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I also decided to try it on Dom’s toothbrush. I wasn’t sure if it would work because Dom’s toothbrush is both chunkier and shorter than ours, but to my surprise, that worked also.

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I’m not going to say it’s going to work on all toothbrushes, because I haven’t tried it on all toothbrushes, but I would guess that it would work on the majority of them. I would also guess that it wouldn’t work on electric toothbrushes, but who knows? Either way, if you would like to keep your toothbrush off the counter while traveling, test out the clothespin method first at home and then if it works, take it with you. It will take up hardly any space in your luggage so it is a simple and cost-effective way to keep your toothbrush from touching questionable surfaces.

 

 

 

Short Story: For I Am Her Mother

This is just something I was working on this afternoon. I was trying to write something less dark than I usually write, but I’m not sure it worked? Haha, I might just stick to writing darker stories because I think that’s where I do the best, but I don’t want people to think there is something wrong with me. Ehhh, do people think there is anything wrong with Suzanne Collins or Veronica Roth? I don’t think so, but I don’t know. Anyways, it’s a very rough cut, so let me know what you think. I think I will probably edit it extensively in the future to try to take it more the original direction I was thinking. But either way, it’s a good exercise in stretching your creative muscles to try something different.

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Every day is a new journey. But today seems like the biggest journey of all. This will be my new life, there’s no turning back from here. What happens now, can never be undone. This moment . .

this still . . .

that everyone else around me seems oblivious too. All around me people rush and talk and do what needs to be done, but here I am. Immersed in this still. I am waiting, anticipating for that new moment, for the new beginning and none of it around me matters so I block them out.

Until it is just her. Her and me. Here in this still together.

But someone takes her – she can not stay, it is too risky, I know.

I take a deep breath and am plunged back into this world, with its sounds and lights and people. Its frenzy of activity and my heart suddenly seems like it is as loud as ten million jack hammers, all pounding in tune in my heart.

I wish I could go back to that still, because all I know here on this side is fear. But for that moment she was mine and I will find a way to make her mine again.

Criticism

From http://witanddelight.tumblr.com/post/10128568991

I have written this quote out for myself many times ever since I was a teenager. And over time, this quote has come to mean different things to me. It’s funny the way that the same thing can mean different things to me at different stages in life. When I was a teenager and then in college, this quote really spoke to me about moral issues. Not to say that it has stopped speaking to me about moral issues, but nowadays, it speaks to me much more strongly about parenting issues.

In some ways, the moral issues are easier than the parenting issues. Ha! With the moral issues, I know clearly that something is right or wrong, but with the parenting issues, I don’t always know that’s the case. There’s a ton of gray area, where neither decision is morally right or wrong, but you still have to make some kind of decision. Some of the decisions are easy – I’ve made them without hesitation and not once looked back. But others are harder, the ones I’ve agonized over for a long time, made and yet still agonized about. Because the internet, love it or hate it, has put SO much information at our fingertips. Most of the time I love that. I’m kind of an info junkie so to read as much about a subject as I can is usually wonderful. But it can also be scary sometimes when you are trying to make decisions for your kid, because you can almost always find someone out there who will tell you that the decision you’ve made it awful and that you’re going to ruin your child. It’s a lot of pressure!

That’s what I kind of like about this quote – it helps remind me to stick to my guns. Not to be closed down to new info necessarily, but at the end of the day, when I’ve looked at all the options and weighed my choices (which I have done, most of the time, extremely thoroughly) to do what I think is right and not to waver when the criticism comes because I know that even if I switched sides, I’d still get criticism from somebody somewhere. You can’t win most of the time, somebody will always criticize your choices. That’s the truth.

It also speaks to the importance of not changing your opinions just because you’ve been criticized. It’s easy to want to change your opinions sometimes when you face criticism, because you want to be liked. I want to be liked, let’s be real. But deep down, I would know it wasn’t right if I switched just so somebody would like me. And then I’d just face criticism from a different set of people. I know that my heart is informed by the Bible and my faith, by my experiences, by my research, by input from my husband and other people, and those are the things that matter, not some critical naysayer who may or may not even know me that well.

Eleanor Roosevelt was definitely on to something when she said this.

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