Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Right, Wrong, or Just Different?

As my Facebook page is awash with the newest internet craze I find myself face to face with a very interesting phenomenon.


This little red box has become quite the internet celebrity. It stands for equality. To be more specific it stands for marriage equality. It stands as a silent vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States. As the Supreme Court hears arguments for both sides of this issue, Facebook profile pictures across the U.S. are being changed to this little box, as a vote in favor of the legalization of same-sex marriage.

This morning I posted a somewhat incendiary comment that was just ambiguous enough to light some fires, but was in reality in reference to a completely different social issue. I may or may not have been feeling feisty and was or was not possibly fishing for a good debate. Either way, my original post was as follows: 

"Sometimes I am just shocked at the outright bigotry and racism that still exist. And I'm not talking about people who don't support gay marriage. There's a huge difference in my opinion between disagreeing based on morals and hating based on skin color."  

 Let's attempt to dissect this statement, without regard to the current social environment. To me, key phrases such as "bigotry and racism" and "hating based on skin color" seem to denote the subject of the post. However, apparently those phrases were overlooked and the phrase "don't support gay marriage" was pulled to the forefront. Another phrase of note from somewhere in the middle of the statement is "IN MY OPINION". Fancy that. I even acknowledged that I was just stating an opinion. However, it appears that phrase was overlooked as well. Hmm. 

In truth I really was just expressing my dismay that in 2013 I heard a smart, educated woman make a racial slur based entirely on an internet photo. I really thought Americans as a whole had moved past that kind of hate. But the responses to my above post have cemented my belief that as a society we have not budged a single inch over the past hundred years, despite the pain and turmoil we suffered during that century. 

But based on the responses to my original post, I see that in reality while advocates for same-sex marriage boast that they are 'tolerant' and 'accepting of differences' really they mean 'tolerant of what I think is right' and 'accepting of certain differences'. 

See for yourself...

Comments on the post included the following:
  1. Comment: "Bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. Turns out morals have nothing to do with it."
  2.  My response: "Perhaps not in denotation. And in my opinion the keywords are 'disagree' and 'hate'. I may disagree with legalizing gay marriage but that doesn't mean I hate gay people. Nor does it mean I judge an individual solely based on their sexual orientation. (I realize many people do behave that way, but that's a whole other issue) What shocked me was that in 2013 someone openly judged a person based solely on their skin color."
  3. Comment: " How can it be anything less than hate to believe that a fellow American citizen should not have the same civil and human rights that you enjoy? Marriage is a civil institution that is awarded rights and privileges by the state. "Holy matrimony" might be considered a religious phrase but the legal state of being married should not.
    How in 2013 can anyone still, in good conscience, promote "separate but equal" and ignore the Establishment and Full Faith and Credit clauses of the Constitution?"
  4. My response: "I never said gay marriage shouldn't be legal. I also never said how I personally feel on the matter one way or another. I simply said I make a distinction between disagreeing with some idea/action and blindly hating. But thank you Facebook friends for exemplifying how quick most Americans are to pound home their own beliefs regardless of the author's original intention (which in my case was to express disgust at the flagrant racist behavior I recently observed)"
  5. Comment: I think Comment 3 was referring to this statement that you made: "I may disagree with legalizing gay marriage but that doesn't mean I hate gay people". It's pretty clear from that statement that you said gay marriage shouldn't be legal. Also, separation of church and state means that your beliefs (based on "religion" or "morals") should be unrelated to the legality of marriage. If you find it immoral, you don't need to marry a gay person."
  6. My final response: " I really meant the statement as "I may disagree with legalizing gay marriage..." as a rhetorical example. At the time it didn't serve me to keep typing the second half which would be "Or I may not disagree with it at all". I would like to rephrase my original post as follows, for clarification: A PERSON may disagree with legalizing gay marriage but that doesn't mean THE PERSON hates gay people. Nor does it mean THE PERSON judges an individual solely based on their sexual orientation. Also for clarification the term disagree is not synonymous with shouldn't."
As I was reading and responding to these comments it occurred to me: The social atmosphere of Facebook, with the marriage equality movement, had completely overshadowed my original comment. I originally posted that I was specifically NOT referring to gay marriage. However, every single comment that was posted was in reference to how ignorant and close-minded I was because I am not in favor of legalizing gay marriage. Only my original post was not about my views on same-sex marriage. It is amazing to me, that I'm ignorant and close-minded for thinking Americans had finally outgrown hate and racism. 

I have observed that proponents of freedoms such as equality of marriage advocate claims such as tolerance, and yet are highly intolerant of people who disagree with them, and have no problem mud slinging in order to defend their beliefs. They say things like 'How can disagreement be anything other than hate". How about it can be different because hate and disagreement are not the same thing?  I disagree with the legalization of same-sex marriage. That is a statement. Moreover it is a statement of opinion. Did you, O Defender of Gay Rights, stop to ask me why I disagree with it? Did you consider that perhaps I don't think it needs to be legalized because I don't think it is inherently illegal? No. You judged me based on that one statement. And not only did you judge me, but you attributed all kinds of evils to me as well. You decided that I cannot be accepting of same-sex couples. You assumed that I hate gays. That may be true, but it may also be false. You don't know because you hated me before you bothered to find out. You are just as much a bigot as you THINK I am. The only difference: I don't hate gays. I don't think any of those things you have attributed to me. But you, your stripes show clear as day.

Rick Warren, a well known Christian pastor and author once said "Our culture has accepted two great lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle you must hate or fear them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate." This statement is not inherently meant for only Christians. I do not expect anyone who has strong convictions to simply lay them down to accommodate my convictions. However, I also do not expect my own views to be trounced and/or assigned to a category simply because they are different. 

When people can learn that the differences between us are what make America balanced, and dynamic and wonderful maybe we will advance to the place where we are not constantly arguing about who is right.

My views are not right. Your views are not wrong. We are just different.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sleep is a Funny Thing

Since Baby's arrival in mid December Sleep and I have been redefining our relationship. At first I thought Sleep was going to have a hard time adjusting to having Baby around. After all, Baby was going to be telling Sleep when to visit, and how long to stay. That's not an easy transition for anyone. In the hospital Sleep only visited occasionally, and at really odd times. So I thought bringing Baby home was going to be rough on Sleep. But then the first night we had Baby home Sleep came right away, and stayed for 5 hours. I thought, we can totally do this! And we did, for a few nights. But alas, Baby decided I needed to spend more time with him and less time with Sleep, so Sleep and I had to adjust. We agreed on a new routine of visiting each night several times, for 3 hours at a time.

After the first week I adjusted to this new visitation schedule and Sleep didn't seem to mind. We settled in just in time for Baby's first growth spurt. If you don't have children you may not understand, but there is no time for Sleep when Baby is nursing every hour for at least 40 minutes...It's a good thing babies have short, frequent growth spurts instead of marathon growing that lasts more than a week, or mothers everywhere would be dead.

After our 1-week break, Sleep and I were granted a glorious reunion by Boo: 8 hours (nearly uninterrupted) together to get reacquainted. After our catch-up, we settled back into our routine of visiting for 3 hours at a time. It really isn't all that bad. Sure it's not as deep of a relationship as Sleep and I used to have, but we are getting by. And Sleep doesn't even seem to mind all that much. Even through Baby's second growth spurt Sleep and I managed to keep our schedule relatively steady. We had even had a few blessed nights that we spent 6 hours straight together. I was so happy to be getting back to the way things were.

Until the time change.

Seriously! Never in my life did I think a one-hour time leap would leave my relationship with Sleep in shambles! And I certainly never expected Sleep to adjust so well to having Baby only to abandon me over a routine Daylight Savings Time clock change! Sure Daylight Savings weekend has been a bit of a rough patch before, but nothing like this. Baby's schedule got turned completely upside down, and on top of it Sleep apparently went on vacation.

For the first week post DST Baby was growing again and Sleep and I should have been on 90 minute intervals. But I found myself putting Baby to bed and Sleep was nowhere to be found! I looked for nearly a week! Nothing. Finally, when I thought my life would end if Sleep didn't come back there he was, waiting for me. Before DST I thought 6 hours with Sleep was a blessing, but that night the 3 hours we spent together were truly miraculous.

I could tell Sleep was feeling a little hurt that I had been neglecting him, and so for the past few weeks I've been doing my best to catch up with my dear friend. We had to again adjust our meeting schedule to fit with Baby, but this time Baby was granting us longer periods together, and I've been making an effort to visit with Sleep a little longer in the mornings. It's been working pretty well.

But last night I discovered something about Sleep. Sleep is a funny thing. For months Sleep and I have been spending less time together than usual, and I though if we could just get back to longer visits on a routine basis everything would be fine. I know I've been a little tired and draggy, but I thought if I could just get some more time with Sleep that would change. Then last night I got more time with Sleep. Baby had a great night, and Sleep and I spent nearly 12 hours together, with only 2 short interruptions. But this morning I found out that Sleep has been leading me on. Sleep implied that if we could just spend a little more time together I would feel better, and be back to my old self. But today after a long night with Sleep I am more tired than usual!

So now, Sleep and I must have another talk about our schedule, and find the happy medium. Too little time with sleep make for a Mombie (that's a Mom that's really a Zombie) but too much time with Sleep leads to lethargy and a severe drop in motivation.

Oh Sleep, you are indeed a funny thing!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Diaper Cake

The Original Diaper Cake - A Pinterest Adventure

So my cousin and his wife are expecting a baby girl in late April. As Mom and I were planning for the shower we agreed to split a gift 60/40 with Mom taking the lion's share of the expense and me taking the responsibility of the leg work. It's an agreement we use often, and it works well for us.

As I was looking over the baby registries and thinking back to my own shower I was feeling uninspired about a gift. Everyone wants to give a gift that won't get returned, isn't a duplicate (and therefore TOTALLY anticlimactic at the shower) and that the new parents will actually use. But even with Baby still so young it's hard to pinpoint the things that I would deem 'essential' and separate them from the 'do I even ever use that' items.

So I went for two easy-peasy items off of the registry, picked them up on a quick shopping trip, got myself some clearance baby wrapping paper and was prepared to call it done. Then I found inspiration: a raffle at a maternity store to win a diaper cake. A diaper cake? What on earth is that? Oh yeah, it's an awesome idea! That's what it is. It's a giant pile of diapers and baby things made to look like a wedding style layer cake. Awesome!

I immediately determined this was what I had been wanting to do all along. A gift that combines practicality with design, and is as much a gift of time and thought as it is money. Definitely more my style than a plain old gift from a registry. And as I thought more about it, some of the best things I have for Baby were gifts that were made. Don't get me wrong, I'm very thankful for the magical puts-baby-to-sleep-everytime swing that someone 'just bought' off the registry. But I can't afford that. So to me, a gift where I can spend time (which I do have) instead of money (which is harder to come by) is a good solution.

So off I went to get my supplies (and return my boring registry gift):
  • 1 pack of 4 burp cloths
  • 1 pack of 4 receiving blankets
  • 2 packs of 6 little girl hair clips (so cute!)
  • 1 pair of tiny little newborn slippers with adorable purple flowers (the same ones fell in my cart for Baby on a previous shopping trip - they were blue with dinosaurs)
  • 1 pack of 36 newborn size diapers
  • 1 pack of 40 size 1 diapers
  • two rolls of 1.5" ribbon (really I only needed one roll, but I wanted to have two different colors)
  • rubber bands
Then I scrounged up a few odds and ends from around the house:
  • a cardboard box
  • a wrapping paper tube (I always have some of these lying around because my husband, yes my husband, once chastised me for getting rid of such prime sword fighting utensils...)
  • my hot glue gun
  • curling ribbon
  • baby wrapping paper
  • scissors and an ink pen 
  • a cellophane gift bag (the big kind for gift baskets etc)
**I intend to make another of these soon for a friend and post the How-To instructions then. So definitely check out that post to come. For now, I'll just show you the finished product.

The tutorial for this project is here. Go check it out!

A little time and a little magic later...TADA! An AWESOME (at least in my opinion) diaper cake!!

EEEEE! I love babies!


Monday, March 18, 2013

More About the Author

Since my hiatus from the blog I see that there is quite a bit missing about who I am and what I am about. The easiest way I can think to remedy that is with a short introduction, and a list of the cast of this blog. The rest, I will leave to appear from between the lines.

On the most basic level I'm a woman. If I have to start categorizing past that point I guess the next step would be that I am a wife and a stay-at-home mom (SAHM for the acronym lovers out there). I have many passions, and even more interests. I love learning and growing and sweets. I don't like introspection but I do it anyway because I want to be a better person. I pray to God, yes God, everyday that I will be a good example to my children (present and future) and that I can learn to love unconditionally. Other than that, I don't know how I would describe myself. Maybe someday I'll let Boo write a post about me. He probably has less bias and more perspective. :)

The Cast of my Destiny:
Me - That's me. Obviously.
Boo - My husband. 
Baby - AKA Tater. Our first Baby. Making his debut December 2012.
Mom - My best friend/mentor/role model/therapist.
Sir - My dad.
Bro - My brother.
A&A - The two delightfully aggravating hounds we call pets.
God - I think this one is pretty self explanatory.

Obviously there are other cast members. But I'm pretty sure these are the leading roles. 

Like I said, the rest will just have to come through the pages.


Pin, Pinning, Pinned, Pinterest.

I realize now while writing this post that I should probably update my "About the Author" post, as the old one is going to leave quite a few things unexplained. But that's not near as exciting as this post, so I'll do it later...

This post is about my new obsession...Pinterest!

Starting about 3 months ago I have been spending a lot of idle time with my iPhone (more on that in the About the Author update) and I have been looking for interesting apps. Enter: Pinterest. I was already a member of Pinterest but had only perused it casually. I hadn't really delved into all the wonderful things that Pinterest really has to offer. So when I found that there was an app for that I started looking around. I have now amassed roughly 12 years worth of home renovation projects, craft ideas, recipes and even construction projects for my retired father. It has been so much fun!

Now I see however that pinning to a board on the internet is just the same as the old school method of cutting out a photo from a magazine (do they even make those things anymore) and pasting it to a real life bulletin board. Or the side of the fridge, or a pile in a shoebox in the basement...At any rate, all that ever becomes of it is the statement 'I like this idea, but I'm not going to actually do it myself'. So I'm taking charge and crossing my pins off as completed one by one.

Granted some will take longer than others, as I can't remodel my entire house tomorrow on my SAHM salary :) And some of the pins were only ever designed as inspiration and aren't meant to be directly copied. But for the remaining 10,000 I'm going to try them. As a matter of fact I have tried some of them already with great success!

Each time I've made some kind of small modification to a way that I thought would be better. Sometimes I was right :) and sometimes dreadfully wrong :( but with each new recipe, craft, or design idea I have had the satisfaction of knowing that I didn't merely stop at the idea of something being neat, useful or pretty but that I actually went out and attempted to do it on my own.

I'm so obsessed now, that I've added "Be Pinned" to my bucket list :)

And now that the blog and I are back on speaking terms, and hopefully hanging out regularly I am excited to share my trials and successes here.

And if you haven't checked out Pinterest before, do it! It's so much fun!

Happy Pinning!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Coming Back to a Neglected Blog

Lately I've been thinking a lot about returning to the blog. I found myself thinking 'I should write a post about this' or 'I could blog about that' and then stopping myself. How do you return to a forgotten and neglected blog? I didn't know what to say, or how to come back. I was worried I would just end up in one of those awkward situations like when you bump into an old acquaintance after years of not seeing one another. What would I say? Would my blog just stare blankly at me as if to say 'Oh sure, now you want to come back. What do you have to say for yourself?'. But today, I decided that however awkward it might be I must face it.

And as with so many things in life, I had nothing to fear. How wonderful it is to decide to take action despite the discomfort it may cause only to find that there was nothing to worry about in the first place. Coming back to my faithful blog hasn't been awkward at all. I typed in and to my surprise I was already signed in. No need to fret about remembering a password because the blog was right here waiting for me. As I clicked on my last post I wondered what it would say. Oh the irony! I had posted a to-do list for myself, promising to log in with updates throughout the week. That was nearly a year ago! Needless to say I'm sure I did everything as planned. :)

So much has changed in the past year and sadly I am certain I will never be able to recount it all. Those months that I could have shared with my blog are lost. But I hope the lessons I have learned, and all of the joy, happiness, pain, sadness, anxiety, and excitement that I experienced will be reflected in how I write about the days ahead. I know truly that the past year has made me a different person. A better person. I look forward to coming back to this forgotten and neglected blog, and telling my story to these unassuming pages.

See you soon!