Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category


Dear Kathy Griffin,

I hope today finds you, well, I hope it finds you well. I’m assuming that today, likely now to be known as Two Days After That Execution Video & Photo Shoot, you’re having some internal dialogue as you and your publicist continue with damage control. I’m not going to assume too much about your state of mind prior to that stunt; I’m not going to assume too much about your current state of mind either.  

I’m not interested in being part of your character assassination. I’m not going to flame you or try to hurt your feelings. My intent here is to try to bring you back down to Earth where the little people are. I’ve peripherally noticed your career, since I’m not a fan of your brand of comedy.  I do appreciate your activism and find your serious acting roles interesting.

So when Wednesday I only peripherally noticed your name in one or two vague Facebook statuses late in the evening, I assumed that you had simply pushed a sensitive political button for Republicans. I went to bed blissfully unaware. I had a nice balance of polite dislike-sometimes-like and respect.

Thursday morning (yesterday), the morning news and radio were kind enough to share all of the gory details of the “Execution Video” showing you holding the decapitated head of Donald Trump. They shared your interview about the video you made with Tyler Shields behind the camera. I saw the video with the blurred out “head.” Thanks to the internet, later on, I saw the more graphic images ie. no blurring. It drove the point home that the intended “joke” and the edginess, provocativeness of the juxtaposition between yourself and Trump and an ISIS terrorist and a hostage. They talked about your apologies, and mentioned how they’re not being accepted by organizations such a the VFW. They talked about CNN canceling your future job engagements with them.

It took a me a whole day to process what I had seen and heard. I’m appalled and disappointed. I’m sure you wish you had thought things through and considered that the only approving audience might actually be ISIS. I’m writing this because I’m not entirely sure that you understand why your apologies haven’t been accepted, and why many people won’t forgive you for a long time, if ever. Just think about the Dixie Chicks.

You’ve owned that what happened was wrong, yes. You say that you know it was wrong and won’t do it again. The tricky part here is that people aren’t convinced that you know why it wrong. I don’t think people are convinced that you know why people of all political persuasions and regardless of their opinions on Mr. Trump are as equally appalled. 

We’re already in a very precarious political situation. I know that I’m not saying anything new. It’s not a secret or anything even profound. It’s well known as a fact that it’s been a nonstop fiasco since this dumpster fire of a president announced his intent to campaign. I share the embarrassment over the fact that this man is sitting in the Oval Office. I share in the feeling of moral disgust and automatically-triggered rage and anxiety by simply looking at that man’s face.

We all want to have the balance of power restored. We all want to feel empowered in our lives, and to help others find that which makes them feel empowered.

This video didn’t come from a place of power or empowerment, and it doesn’t evoke those feelings in most Americans. There’s a shared shock, mortification, disgust, and genuine outrage across all party lines, and it’s one of the few things uniting those who support Trump and those who vehemently oppose him .

It doesn’t matter that he’s the most hated president in our history; that he’s made history by having the lowest approval ratings not only in his first 100 days, but of any president; He may be the biggest embarrassment in the international stage of leaders; He may be the most corrupt not-politician that ever politicked and the most corrupt individual to ever sit in that chair in the Oval Office; but none of that matters.

The problem is that what you decapitated wasn’t really Donald Trump. You didn’t figuratively cut off the head of the snake and speak out against his policies, ethics, morals, authority, or even his goings on in his personal life. Take Trump out of it. The decapitated head you held was not viewed as a symbol of removing Trump and his power and control. Those of us who are appalled could look at that head and blur out the features, and in our minds imagine any President in its face. We can imagine every President, past and future, in its place.

Because it’s not the current president whose head you decapitated.

It was the very notion of The President of the United States that you decapitated. You decapitated the very rich, full history, the respect, and honor of the Office of the President, and every other office. You decapitated the American People in a manner that was visually and morally repugnant; in a manner that was hateful, chilling, threatening, and violent. You decapitated the privilege, power, influence, giving the incredible potential and opportunity to do GOOD in that office, which is our right as The People under the Constitution.

We have problems in our nation, no doubt. That’s not news. Our country shares many of the same social issues and political issues as other countries. There’s corruption, racism, classism, ableism, and every anti-something you can think of. We have people that are anarchists and hate the government and authority. We have things to be embarrassed about and to apologize over.

But we are also a nation of advocates, allies, lobbyists, writers, artists, journalists, actors, parents, self-advocates, people that care and can make noise when our elected officials do and say things we dislike. We can speak out with our votes; writing letters; attending peaceful, non-violent protests; making phone calls; and anything else that’s protected by the Constitution regarding free speech. We want our messages to come from a true place of power, empowerment, peace, dedication, passion, advocacy, activism, patriotism, and non-violence as is our Constitutional right. This is what we take pride in, and what retains and maintains our Freedoms and our Civil Rights.

This is what Americans do.. we advocate, not decapitate.

I know it’s unlikely that you’ll stumble upon this entry, but if you do read it Ms. Griffin, I hope you read it with an open mind.

Sincerely,

Jessica

 

After The Press  Conference

EDITED TO ADD because I listened to that disaster of a news conference:

Back up the truck.

Kathy Griffin, you made a horrible mistake holding this press conference today. Justifying your actions and going on the attack and listing all of the horrible, disgusting things Trump has said and done as your excuse simply proves that you don’t understand why what you did was wrong. I’m no fan of Trump. I’m no supporter of the suppression of women’s rights. That doesn’t mean I can’t be appalled at that press conference.

It’s not appropriate to tell people to stop being angry because your feelings are hurt that no one “got” your joke and no one appreciated the art.

It’s not appropriate to accuse people of trying to suppress your right to free speech or violate your 1st Amendment Rights. You took offensive photos, and people are reacting. The nation is reacting. You say you don’t have a network behind you, you’re losing jobs. That’s not silencing you. It’s a business decision for them. It’s a consequence for you. People, men and women, have been fired for far, far less than what you did.

You have the right to free speech as long as it’s not hate speech; incites violence; can be considered a death threat or threat of violence upon someone else especially the president. You forget that people have a right to react to your free speech and what you believe is art.

I’m disappointed that you turned this into an equal rights issue for women. It would have been just as horrifying coming from a male comedian. It would have been considered just as inappropriate. This is what rich old white men say when they accuse us of “playing the woman card.” Turning on the tears and pointing out how you’re such a small frail woman doesn’t do any favors for you or for women. Your behavior in that news conference perpetuated every negative female stereotype, and as much as you want to claim Girl Power and pretend that this is about you being a woman, and there are some big bad good ole’ boy men silencing you poor little tiny female, you stomped feminism under your precious little feet.

There’s this thing where you tell a joke, and people laugh, and you know it’s funny. There’s this other thing where you tell a joke and no one laughs and you know it’s not funny. Then there’s this final thing when you tell what you think is a joke and literally everyone is angry and appropriately outraged, and you have to accept that maybe the problem isn’t everyone else.

Chastising others wasn’t the way to go. Humility was. Laying low and refraining from having a press conference where you said all of these things that you should have kept to yourself until you gained more perspective was the way to go.

You’ve only made it worse.

People don’t tolerate sorry-not-sorry nonpologies.

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There’s a reason I haven’t blogged in the past week, and it’s because I’ve been struggling in being gracious inside my head and on paper regarding the results of the 2016 Presidential Election. I’ve been having some very difficult conversations with my daughters and others regarding realistic expectations, graciousness, positivity, advocacy, self-advocacy, fairness, how to deal with life when things don’t go your way, legitimizing their feelings, etc. It’s hard having those conversations when in your head, you’re thinking,

“Fuck it fuck it fuck it fuck it fuck it fuck it fuck it fuck it fuck it fuck it oh my gosh just fuck it awww look my dog loves me.”

I’m having some difficult conversations with myself, as you can see. 😉 I’m not a poor loser. I’m struggling with what it means to be gracious, and how not to throat punch those who are pompous enough to believe they can order others to “be gracious losers” and “accept the results already” when in fact they haven’t learned to be “gracious winners.”

I’ve mastered “gracious loser,” you see. I haven’t mastered grieving on someone else’s timeline.

The difficulty lies in the fact that it has nothing at all to do with a lack of acceptance over the election results. I accept him as the president, and I’m willing to give him a chance. Well, I was until he hired a well known white supremacist, but even I can suppose a second chance is on the table.

Anyway.

The difficulty lies in the fact that I, like so many others, am in a true grieving process. There hasn’t been one single day that I haven’t cried over the results. It doesn’t mean I’m a crybaby. It means I grieve for what our nation has become when 46% refused to turn out to vote. It means I grieve for the clear message that the misaligned in our nation don’t matter to most of the country.

I grieve because I know what’s ahead.

I may be part of one or two or more privileged segments of American society, but I’m part of multiple significantly marginalized groups. I paid attention during the campaign season to what all of the candidates said and what their platforms were, and I’ve been living in this body experiencing what it’s like fighting against the Republican ideal for years now.

I’ve paid attention over the past several decades regarding what the various political parties have been doing to marginalized groups or for marginalized groups. I’ve paid attention to how the parties have been evolving or devolving. I’ve paid attention to how various individual politicians have evolved or devolved over time. It’s how I came to choose “my” candidate.

It’s why I’m in genuine mourning now. I get to grieve over the loss of stability. I get to grieve over the worldwide embarrassment that the election results have given the U.S. We outdid Brexit, after all. We thought no one could do that. America has to be the best at everything.

We had to outdo England, though, didn’t we. So for 2016 we outdid them at Most Embarrassing and Dangerous Political Fiasco of All Time. We fucked up. In the most disastrous way possible. Every nation except Russia, and maybe the Korea with that crazy ass dictator that wants to nuke everyone, recognizes it. And ISIL and al queda welcome it.

It’s why I support the peaceful protests.

The protests aren’t against the results of the election. They’re not a bunch of whiny babies. They’re marginalized individuals and groups speaking out against the proposed policies of the Trump campaign, and the moves that have already been made during the transition that’s begun.

The protests are a reminder that those of us who are marginalized, and those who are our allies and those who are advocates alongside us, will not be quiet regarding rights and protections. A Trump Presidency isn’t acceptance for bigotry, misogyny, violence, bullying, racism, religionism, spiritual abuse, physical abuse, anti-immigration, acceptance for the KKK and white supremacy. The protests are a reminder of the ideals that this nation is supposed to uphold, and the people we’re supposed to protect. The protests are supposed to be a reminder of everything we are prided for, and everything that other nations have been envious of us over.

The protests aren’t so much protests as they are a reminder that the voices for freedom, advocacy, and equality will always be there to hold back the hand of abuse and suppression.

And that will not, absolutely will not, go away graciously.

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I have a request. If your opinions and feelings are different from those of your friends, family, and neighbors please remember that they’re people just like you. I don’t care if they have a different political viewpoint; a different religion; different ethnic cultural background; a different parenting philosophy. Chances are that you still have something in common with those people.

People are not disposable. It’s so easy for us to click a button online and stop seeing them in our newsfeed; block someone; or “unfriend” them if we dislike them enough. It’s a lot harder in real life where you have to face consequences for your own contributions to the negativity in the relationship.

Treat people the way you’d like to be treated. It’s not a difficult concept. It costs NOTHING to be kind to other people. It costs nothing to cast a smile to someone who may be having a difficult day. It costs nothing to give an initial benefit of the doubt before turning your back.

I don’t really care if anyone has a differing opinion than I have. That’s great. Have it. It doesn’t hurt my feelings that there are ideas, thoughts, emotions, opinions, ideations, needs, wants, wonts, etc. that are different. Other points of view are important. There can even be valid points on both sides of the same argument. Not everything is a competition. Choosing sides doesn’t mean one side is good and one is evil. I believe that most people are inherently good, and that only a rare few are actually literally evil.

There ARE times when we have to take a stand and do what’s right, but destroying relationships isn’t the way to do it. Becoming the very thing you claim to hate the most isn’t the way to do it. There are ways to stand up for yourself and your causes that aren’t harmful to others and make a good example to those others and to your children. Be kind and respectful in how you express your difference in opinion to others, and show respect for others’ differences. You don’t have to feel it, but you still need to show it. You live in society, and you therefore agree to live by the rules of society.

Free speech? It doesn’t mean what you think it does. Just as you may be able to speak your mind, so do others… and when you speak your mind, how you speak your mind matters and that means that other people have the right to respond to you. You have the right to speak, but you also have an obligation to receive whatever consequence comes from it from friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, and others in society even if what you say or do isn’t illegal. There are still some things that are socially wrong, morally and ethically wrong… and sometimes that might actually mean that you should consider that your side isn’t the just, right, good side. I know that I’m not always right. Hey, I can accept that. We do all make mistakes. Not all sides are always valid, even in my world view. Some points of view shouldn’t be tolerated and yet… and yet there’s still a way for those points of view to be rebuffed.

If you want to change the world you live in, then you must enact change in a way that is meaningful. Violence, whether physical or verbal, is never an appropriate way to enact positive change, and it’s never a path to peace. What leads to peace is a change in conversation and a willingness to change attitudes and behaviors. Social change leads to peace. That starts within each and every one of us. For me, that’s maintaining a conversation and connection with God.

You may still believe anything you choose, but be peaceful. Respectful. Use meaningful conversation. Behave in a way socially so that others trust you. These things are so important.

So, you don’t have to be “with” me on several issues. That’s okay. I’ll still love you. We’ll likely agree on many, many other things.

 

Mahatma Ghandi quote

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As it so happens, thanks to recent news, Jill Stein and that other guy, um, Gary Johnson are completely out of the question as well as long as Senator Clinton stays in the race.  As of today Gary Johnson has as chance of less than 0.1%. That’s not even a quarter of a percent of a chance of winning. Jill Stein isn’t even placing a fraction of a single digit percentage. They would both have to completely change their platforms to gain any sort of traction with anyone; and they would have to, well, not be Independent or Green Party. 😉 Because with their individual platforms and the ideals of each party? I have to go with,

“Thank you, hell no.”

 

If you’ve followed my blog at all lately, you’ve probably noticed that I’m not a Trump supporter. 😉 I’ve questioned why people support him. But then… I may have been a little insulting at times in my passion for my intense dislike of Trump regarding just how little I understand why reasonable people could even consider voting for Trump, but then again ‘m not running for office.

You’ve probably guessed by now if it weren’t obvious that the only option I find reasonable is Senator Clinton. She’s by far the safest choice.

Anything she does is under a microscope. Things from three decades ago are brought under scrutiny, twisted into half-truths and outright lies, and turned into spiteful memes. Present non-issues are “trumped up” if you will and blown into nontroversies until every single Trump Supporter and I Already Hate Hillary Clinton Frother laps it up with a big fat ladle.

They’ll pick apart her statements where she apologizes, even when she has no need to apologize. They’ll comment on how that’s a lie or only stated to gain voters or it’s rhetoric. That’s to be scrutinized crumb by crumb, ingredient by ingredient, until it’s lost all meaning. She can talk about her grandchild or daughter, and that has ulterior motives.

She coughs, and the world is on notice and thinks she’s not being transparent enough in her campaign or in regard to her health.

If only any month’s worth of comments Trump has made were scrutinized by the media so much as any single comment made or cough and antibiotic taken by Hillary Clinton at any given moment. Pneumonia is viewed as a death knell, apparently, and deceitful to boot. Who knew that allowing herself to become dehydrated and catching the common cold now and then wasn’t transparent, was deceitful, and she was on her deathbed. It apparently adds to the mountain of criminal activities she’s involved in while trying to destroy America in her conspiracy with President Obama.

Then this landed in my lap today from a friend on Facebook:

Pundits claim Clinton had a bad week. Next to Donald Trump’s seven days of gaffes and scandal, that is insane.

Source: An absurd week in America’s two-tier election – Macleans.ca

 

Well, I look forward to the day that we can call it the Ovulation Office, thank you very much.

Now, I’m not giving Senator Clinton a free pass. I don’t believe she’s perfect. I haven’t always supported her. In fact, for the majority of my life, I’ve “hated” the Clintons. The thing is, I’ve grown up. I’ve done research in unbiased sources. Some of what I thought I knew, I was proven right except not in the way I thought and most of what I believed was disproven.

For instance, calling half of Trump Supporters “a basket of Deplorables.” I mean… Trump likely doesn’t even know what the word means but most of his fans do, and many of his supporters are educated and are on the fence on whether to support him or her.  I might agree with the sentiment that there are many, many deplorable Trump Supporters, and there’s very good reason. But the fact is that TRUMP is deplorable.

There are many HRC supporters who have been asking what the big deal is in her insulting Trump voters when Trump has been nothing but crude, rude, crass, vulgar, and outright insulting to every voter out there except for racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic voters. In fact, the wording she used wasn’t crass or vulgar.

She was composed and used a relaxed, almost humorous tone of voice. She was speaking to the educated of America. She was speaking to those whom she knew were already on her side and didn’t need rhetoric or cajoling or politicking. She was in a safety zone.

That was exactly the problem.

Due to who she is, and what she is ie. a female AND a Clinton, she doesn’t have a safety zone.

She’s automatically being held under a much greater microscope and to a much higher standard than Trump or any other male. She’s always had to hold herself to a higher standard, and she always has just like any other woman in virtually every career that exists. She’s always carried herself with dignity and grace under pressure, and this was a slip. It wasn’t even as bad as that slip that Mitt Romney made when he denigrated all voters during his campaign for President.

During election seasons, when you’re running for any office but especially for President of the United States, you simply don’t insult the voters. You don’t insult the voters of your opponent because of the off chance you might have had that they would have become your voters at some point in the near or far future. If you call your opponent’s voters “deplorable” even if you specify “half of them” then those people are going to wonder if you really meant “all” and therefore…. you’ve personally insulted every single voter of the opponent. They now have a personal reason to hate you. They don’t simply hate Hillary for the lies spun from half truths by the GOP, or because they dislike that she’s female or a lawyer or a former first lady or a Democrat or “too liberal” even though she’s practically a Republican, or her wardrobe, or who she used to be friends with, who donates money to her campaign, who her husband used to be friends with, the colors lipstick she chooses, the sound of her voice, etc.

They now believe that even if they momentarily supported Trump, HRC finds them deplorable and will automatically assume them to be racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic. You have to be careful with the voters. Most of them may be harsh to each other, even in their own circles and families, but they have very thin skins if they think the spotlight is on them. Anything that seems critical of anything they support and it’s a personal insult. And even if they do have these deplorable qualities, are they really irredeemable? Is that really a judgment on their character that any candidate should make? No, it’s not.

Even if they do have these deplorable qualities, who wants to say that those qualities are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, or any sort of -ist or -phobic or a bigot? Not when they have justification after justification after justification for being anti-whatever it is.

Those things are very true of Donald Trump. And yes, those things are very, very true of many of his fans. But at the same time, there are people who are voting for him not because they support him but because they feel they can’t support any other candidate. Many people are single issue voters, or can’t get past a particular story they heard and don’t research well enough to find out if something was as true as they believe. Many people don’t care to know. Many people just won’t vote for The Woman or A Democrat.

I think she knows these things, and even if it’s more rhetoric, she nearly immediately apologized and expressed regret for her comments. She then dropped the other shoe, and that cracked me up.

Trump has tried that maybe once or twice, and it backfires. It’s always a crass and backhanded nonpology. Hillary Clinton backtracked quite eloquently, regretting that she generalized so grossly and shouldn’t have said “half.” She put the onus of lifting up individuals that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, etc. back onto TRUMP. Essentially she called him out for glorifying those traits in people who find those qualities admirable… even if they don’t like the words used to describe those qualities. She called Trump’s social media contributions to be offensive, hateful, and mean-spirited rhetoric. She did state that some of those people are irredeemable (which is true) and “Not America” which is also true of the IDEAL IDEA of America.

She also said that his supporters are people that are looking for change in any form because of economic anxiety and she urged her supporters to empathize with them.

Oh yeah, and the e-mails too. What started as a non-troversy to begin with, and is turning out to be one of the BEST things she ever did. After all of the investigations and committees and waste of tax dollars, because the Republicans have this need to discredit her and try to make her look foolish; after an FBI investigation found her to have done nothing criminal; it turns out that just as it was stated early on in the first week or two that her servers were FAR MORE SECURED than the government servers at that time. It also turns out that if her servers were being used today they’d be more secure than the currently updated servers the government uses. Because her servers were SEPARATE and therefore much, much harder to hack. That was the whole point of several government officials having their own servers.

So I found this below, which was written last week. And to think, I was almost THISCLOSE to thinking that the e-mail stuff actually was a bit more scandalous than I originally believed, and I’d have to eat a bit of crow. That I didn’t actually know what I was talking about way in the beginning.

 

The attention paid to it has far surpassed the boundaries of the facts.

Source: The Hillary Clinton email story is out of control – The Washington Post

You know, I just realized that I never once commented on the positive aspects of HRC’s campaign. I pulled a stunt that I HATE from certain Trump fans. My apologies. I clearly had some purging and pontificating to do! LOL

So, I’ll save the, “why I support HRC versus other candidates” post for another day. This one got out of control and too long. 🙂 Ta, loves!

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Yesterday, ASAN’s Ari Ne’eman announced he was stepping down at the end of the year. That was important. Here’s the announcement.

Organizations go through many stages. One of the most challenging and important are transitions in leadership, particularly when they involve founding members. Over the last ten years, I have had the honor and privilege of building and directing the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. That experience has been one of the single most important and impactful …

Source: A Message from ASAN President Ari Ne’eman | Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Then, prompted by the announcement, an entry was posted on ASParenting Blog by Melody. I credit and thank my friend Nora for making me and others aware of this disappointing report. Nora writes the blog A Heart Made Fullmetal.

I’m sharing Melody’s post about ASAN because as a mother blessed with an autistic daughter, I’ve looked to ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network) as a guiding hand. I’ve shared them as a valuable resource to other parents and to autistic individuals that come into my workplace.

While I realize that the majority of experiences of employees are likely possibly maybe positive, if any of what is reported in this blog is true and a pattern, and indeed is policy then I don’t believe I could support that sort of agency.

In fact, I know I can’t. I wouldn’t encourage my daughter or friends or consumers in my agency to take advantage of them with what I now know, and therefore I wouldn’t encourage you. You are just as important as someone face to face with me when it comes to accurate, compassionate, gentle representation by people who are being treated well in their employment.

If it were ever guaranteed and proven that changes were made, that Autistic people were being treated with dignity and respect, being paid fair and competitive wages, being give reasonable accommodations, I might change my assessment. Trust is cornerstone. I know that. Accountability is, as well, and so far, ASAN has not taken accountability or responsibility.

I should warn you that there could be triggers in this blog article below as it mentions abuse tactics towards Autistic people, but it’s important to read. It’s a tough read.

With Ari Ne’eman’s announcement that he will be stepping down at the end of the year today, I knew I was out of time to find a large source to post what you are about to read. Please sh…

Source: ASANs Past Abuse and Moving Forward – ASParenting

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I forget where I got it, other than Google

Candlelight Vigil

In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, a three hour nightmare, I’ve realized that the moment it occurred and was made public was a moment that changed America forever.

I hope that none of us loses sight of what’s really important in this tragedy. These people matter. The 49 who were massacred. They’re important.

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 | Stanley Almodovar III, 23 | Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 | Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 | Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 | Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 | Luis S. Vielma, 22 |Kimberly Morris, 37 |Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 | Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 | Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 |Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 | Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 | Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 | Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 | Martin Benitez Torres, 33 | Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 | Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 | Amanda Alvear, 25 | Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 | Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 | Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 | Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 | Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 | Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 | Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 | Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 | Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 | Cory James Connell, 21 | Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 | Luis Daniel Conde, 39 | Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 | Juan Chavez Martinez, 25 | Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 | Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 |Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 | Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 | Jean Carlos Nieves Rodriguez, 27 | Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 | Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 | Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 | Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 | Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 | Frank Hernandez Escalante, 27 | Paul Terrell Henry, 41 |Antonio Davon Brown, 29 | Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 | Akyra Monet Murray, 18 | Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25

The 53+ people who were injured, maimed, and hurt matter and are important. Their families and friends are important. The first responders, the police, and the nurses and doctors at the hospital who interacted with them, tried to save them, watched them die, are important. The people outside the club who watched it happen are important. The 9-1-1 operators who answered those calls are important. The off duty officer who was outside and realized something was happening and was the first to engage is important.

As a Christian, as a Catholic, I believe that above all else, we need to remind each other to make it a priority to choose love, compassion, empathy, generosity, loyalty, humanity, kindness, open mindedness, duty to our family and communities. This is my call to Faith. This is my call to Action. The only way we can make sense of things: remembering those who have died. Praying. Giving blood. Giving hugs. Communicating with Equality Florida (click here). Letting our LGBTQI+ family and friends and coworkers know that we support them, love them, need them… ESPECIALLY when we’re Christian… ESPECIALLY when we’re Catholic.

We all have such a capacity for love that most of us are still learning to tap into the potential of it. Well, it’s time to put down the chisel and grab the wrecking ball. We need to break open the dam and forget about the flood gates; we need to forget about holding it all in.

We’re a nation that is filled with diversity, and therefore intersectionality. We all experience the same emotions and have the same needs.

Everyone has an opinion, and they’re clamoring for their voices to be heard about what they believe is the most important thing. I have some opinions. I’m not so sure they’re lining up with what other people are talking about. I don’t really care. It’s my blog. I can talk about what I believe is important, especially based on what I’m experiencing in my home with my children.

I’m trying to imagine how hard it must be for the people who were actually involved. But I imagine the people I love who are in the LGBTQI+ community. I imagine my daughter’s friends that in that community, and how she feels when they tell her about their fears and grief. I imagine them going on vacation to Orlando, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I imagine it happening here, in a place that’s supposed to be a safe zone for them when “out there, somewhere outside” isn’t so safe. Fear and grief clutch at my heart, and again, I try to imagine that feeling in someone with more ties to the community.  Those are the people who deserve the empathy and connection and consideration. Those are the people who need protection, love, generosity, caring, and a sense of safety equal to that of what anyone else feels.

I have a difficult time with the people who choose to identify with the murderers, to the point that they become apologists and empathize with them. In this instance, there are vile people out there cheering him on believing he should have been hailed as a hero.

I don’t want to empathize with the shooters or those assholes who do.

Most people in the world agree to live by the codes, laws, mores, and social systems established in the societies they live in. Most people who don’t enjoy the society and have the will to change it go about changing the system legally and without violence. Most people live in a world where they care about their community as well as their core family.

We need to accept that we belong to more than our simple family units; we belong to our towns and cities, our states, our nation and yes, we belong to the Global Community. We all need each other. We have more similarities than we do differences. No single one of us deserves more than another, or is worth more than another. We form closer bonds with our parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends, and that makes them important… but our value as human beings is all the same. Our needs are all the same. We’re all equal in God’s eyes, and so we should all be equal in each other’s eyes. We must be. God loves us all. Maybe he loves all of us enough for himself, but I believe that we were all put here to love and be loved. To respect and be respected. To learn. To build relationships. To see God in each other. To see ourselves reflected in others. To appreciate where we are, and the wonders of the Earth and the Universe and each other. To learn as much as we can before we look forward to the big pearly gates. Doing all of this while still honoring a relationship with Jesus, with God, while accepting everyone BECAUSE OF their differences can only fill our lives with more love.

I’m certainly not perfect. I have a hard time with this. I try my best to at least “not hate.” I may not love murderers or Donald Trump but as my daughters point out, “It’s not Christian to hate them. Jesus would say don’t hate anyone.”

So trust me, it’ll be hard for me to follow certain aspects of my own Call to Faith and Call to Action, but I beg you to try with me. Please. Let’s pay it forward with a kind act each day. It shouldn’t be a token act, but it doesn’t have to be a grande gesture all the time either. It SHOULD come from the heart and be genuine.

I’ve written far more than I intended to write. I had hoped to be much more succinct. My brain is just so full up. So sad. I don’t know what to do with it all.

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Good morning, Loves! I know it’s belated, but I hope that you had a wonderful Easter weekend. I hope that you have an equally wonderful Easter week.

It was wonderful seeing most of our immediate family. We missed a couple of my husband’s sisters, since they took their families to Florida, but we’ll see them this coming weekend for my eldest girl’s Confirmation.

It’s been hard for me to get to Church lately due to the pain, but it doesn’t reduce my spirituality or love for Jesus at all. It doesn’t reduce how amazing Easter is for me. It’s my favorite holiday, actually. It’s my favorite not just because it’s in the Spring and usually there isn’t a hint of snow (every now and then, there’s snow on Easter in Connecticut).

It’s my favorite holiday because of all of the typical reasons we usually give, the reasons that sound trite and cliche. This year we have two babies that are a year old running around, and baby that’s a month old. We have a four year old giving my three girls a run for their money. We have teen and tween nieces for my girls to get in trouble with. We have each other.

More than all of those things,  Easter lets us know that there’s… what’s the word… potential? promise? We have potential and promise to make the difference in our lives that we want to make. We can make changes that we need to make. We have get to be the ones to make the decisions if we choose to make them. We have the potential to affect change in others’ lives if we change our behavior and attitudes. Just as Jesus died and came back, every Spring we have the chance to remember what he did for us and grab onto his promise and take advantage of it. We can look at life with a more positive view if we choose, and slow our lives down even for just a few days.

We can reassess our schedules, routines, budgets, friendships, entanglements, careers, diets, etc. We can simplify our lives. We can choose what makes us happy, but is also considerate of and is a positive change for those we live with and have very close relationships with. We can choose which relationships need more attention, and which are toxic and need to be released without anxiety.

Easter is a release in so many ways, as well as a chance to focus, eh? It’s a reminder for us to take care of ourselves, our families, and friends. It’s a reminder to tend our relationship with God. God is in every positive change we make. He’s in every bit of potential, and every single promise. He’s in every lift of attitude and release in simplification. He’s the strength in the chain that holds our relationships to family and friends together.

Take good care of yourselves and Happy Easter. If you don’t celebrate Easter,have a beautiful day and take care.

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