In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.















Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love really is Louder

We’ve been talking a lot about love at our house this month. Of course the little’s were excited about Valentine’s day. From the time they came home with letter’s about the upcoming “love” holiday, the talk began about decorating a box for Valentines and then of course picking out the special Valentines and treats to give each of their classmates and teachers. Oh the joy that I had completely forgotten about, that takes place with children and this holiday.

Oh the joy of writing out every single one of those Valentines with them. At one point, little lady was getting pretty sloppy writing her name and I asked her what it was that she had written because it surely didn’t look like her name. She responded with, “I can’t help it, my brain is telling my hand to write something else.”

The fun of making their boxes with my creative daughter…boxes they claim they are “never ever” throwing away…thank you dear daughter for doing this with them.

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Little lady with a love bug. Little A man with a monster(he claims this is what our monster Franklin looks like) Little man with a puppy.

Quite naturally the topic of love has been brought up a lot these past few weeks. I like to use these  teachable moments with the little’s because I not only have their complete attention but they are still young enough to think I know what I am talking about.

We talked about how important it is to keep our love buckets full because we act our best when they are full. We also talked about how important it is to make deposits or delivery's into other people’s love buckets.  We talked about how when  love buckets get empty they leave room for things of hate to come in.

We talked about the opposite of love being hate. Which led us to discuss what happens when people have hate in their hearts…which led to talking about why we say “I’m sorry” and why we forgive each other and why loving is so much better than hating…and so on and so on. This is what gave birth to my previous post on love beating hate.

We’ve had some really interesting discussions. And a lot of funny one’s. Okay, mostly they end up being funny one’s because how can they not with a 3, 4 and 5 year old? If you were a little mouse in the corner of our house your ears would be full of our nonsense and silliness.

In one discussion we some how started talking about how people  can be mean to people that are different.

Little man say’s seriously, “I’m different. I have brown skin.”

Little lady excitedly screams, “I’m different. I have really really blond curly hair.”

Little A man, really excited, screams, “I’m different too Grandma. I’m a boy and I pee standing up.”

Obviously, the younger two are not completely getting what I am meaning by being different but I still attempted to go with it for little man who had been seriously into this “talk”. Yet once again he was swayed by the 3 and 4 year olds because  they couldn’t get off the topic of peeing while standing up and he thought this to be quite funny. To no avail this led into them counting who can pee standing up in our family. At least their getting good at counting.

With the many days of sub zero temperatures, we had way too many days of togetherness.(except we are having beautiful weather right now)  As you must know it gets pretty loud around here so one day last week I asked them, “Is this what love sounds like?” This led us to ponder what love sounds like. Which led into us asking what hate sounds like. In the midst of this discussion, little man responded with, “I think love should be louder than hate so all the hate can go out of this world.”

Amen Little Man. Amen!

Oh the sweetness and heart of this little boy.  This little boy who has been mistreated for the color of his skin and because he doesn’t go to church. Still he loves proudly and he doesn’t care who you are, he will love you. He loves big and loud and is not afraid to let anyone he loves know it. Just ask the lunch ladies, the janitors, the recess lady’s and the teachers at school.

I had heard about the love is louder movement on Facebook and since they had so much fun doing the “love beats hate” signs with me, I asked them if they wanted to write on their hands, “just this once” and of course they were all over it. I asked my eldest Granddaughter to take part in it with us and she created the love is louder hands picture in the middle.

Love is louder was started as an anti bullying campaign and it became something more. What I appreciate about these group efforts is that it causes people to stop and look at their own actions. If just one person changes their behavior due to this movement it is worth it. It also helps those who are the target of such bullying to know they are not alone and gives them a voice.

Love is louder proclaims that real love is more than romance, mush or just mere words. Love is an action.

 

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On Valentines Day, we declared that love is indeed louder.

Love is louder than hate, meanness or bully’s.

Our voices and hands are made for loving and building up, not hurting and tearing down.

Our actions speak louder than our words. If we say we love but act the opposite, we are but a noise.

If we say we love and back it up with our actions, it speaks loud and clear.

Love sounds so much sweeter doesn’t it?

 

Love tastes  more delicious valentines day pizza 007 when made with hands that love doesn’t it?

Love makes every day worthwhile when it’s this kind of love.

Can you hear it? Can you hear the love?

Love gets pretty loud here…we love loudly and fiercely…we love bigger than the universe…bigger than the highest mountains…to the moon and back…we clash and bang around…we make a lot of noise in this family that could be filled with turmoil, sadness, hate, anger, bitterness, and resentment. Love chases things like that away when you let it.

There are day’s I wish for more of the quieter kind of love and there are moments like right now that I get a few moments of it…and you can better believe I relish in it.

Little Man said it so well when he said. “I think love should be louder than hate so all the hate can go out of this world.”  I couldn’t agree with him more.

I close with this photo taken recently of the little’s playing outside on their “mountain”…

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Love really is louder.

Until next time my dear friends, love & hugs, Lori

 

 

 

 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love Beats Hate-The answer is Love

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The word “hate” is not allowed to be used in our home. It is not part of our vocabulary.

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We are an anti hate family.

We refuse to make room for hate in our hearts.

I learned a long time ago that hate will kill our spirits and steal away our souls.

I believe nothing good comes out of hate.

I believe that answering things such as racism, judgment or bullying with hate is not the answer.

I believe that hate perpetuates the evils of this world and keeps them alive.

I believe that hate in the heart is where injustices begin.

I believe  that if hate is allowed to fester it can grow like a wild fire.

I believe that the wild fire puts out joy and peace and leaves the heart charred with blackness.

I believe hate breeds with evil and gives birth to things like murder, bullying, racism and abuse in all it’s forms.

Even if it doesn’t cause one to commit injustices, I believe it can make us unhappy, miserable, sick, depressed and toxic.

I may dislike something or someone. I may feel really angry because of injustices that are done to myself, someone I love or to another human being. I may even want to hurt someone back for what they did. Still the answer is not to hate.

I believe the answer is love.

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100% unequivocal love. Love that is not just a feeling but a verb. An action. Love that is not about mush or sex. Love that in unconditional. Love that doesn’t expect or demand it’s own way. Love that makes room for imperfection. Love that wakes the dead heart and makes it come alive.  Love that accepts. Love that sets free and doesn’t hold back. Love that isn’t jealous or unkind. Love that doesn’t seek revenge. Love that forgives. Love that doesn’t deny or take away. Love that doesn’t leave room for hate.

I believe that love   CIMG0009    hate any day.

I believe love can knock hate to the ground. If we let it. If we don’t stand in it’s way. 

I’ve taught this to my children, my children’s children and all the children that have ever been in my care. I teach this to my little’s now.

Most of all, I’ve tried to live it in front of them so that they could learn by my example.

Because love beating hate begins with me.

It is not always easy to choose love over hate.

There was a time that my heart was full of hate. Towards myself. A thousand times I will tell you that living a life with hate in your heart is not a good way to live. Hell actually. And I will tell you that having love set my heart free was the most beautiful feeling in the world.

It is not as though injustices haven’t happened in my life or in our family.

Things like abuse, rape, racism, bullying, suicide, incest, divorce, death and loss are not strangers to my life.  These might be ugly things but I refuse to allow them to make my heart ugly with the hate that could color my heart if I allowed it to.

Do not think for one second that when my daughter was raped at the start of her freshman year of college that I didn’t feel moments of hatred for the man that did this to her. I choose not to hate him.

When little man experiences racism I want to come out of my skin but I choose to not hate the racist. When my step daughter lies or behaves in way that hurts one of the little’s I want to come unglued but I choose to not hate her.

Having put on weight over this past year and a half due to health issues  brings out my old battle with anorexia as a young woman and causes me to struggle with self hating once again but I am choosing to not hate myself.

Being attacked at my job not only cost me my livelihood but has kept me from being able to work full time. Not to mention that I now live with pain 24/7.  Even though this person attacked me and left me with permanent injuries to my skull and neck I do not hate her. Even though the company that employed me didn’t protect me and I hold them the most responsible, I don’t hate them.

There are weeks, like this week,  that it feels like the pain is swallowing me up and I start to feel panic. This is when I have to face what has happened with love. I refuse to allow hate to enter into the picture because hate would keep me locked into  the past. Hate would hold me in bondage so tight that I would never move past this.

Hate takes up too much room in the heart. It doesn’t leave room for the good. 

Choosing love to handle the injustices in my life instead of with hate stops the cycle from repeating itself. It stops hate from having anywhere to go.

Love makes room for something more.

Hate keeps a person stuck in the muck of bitterness,  unforgiveness and in bondage to “it” so in order to be free of the muck, we must choose to lay the hate down.

Hate puts up walls and imprisons us to whatever it is that hurt or angered us. I don’t want to be owned by whatever “it” is.

Love unlocks the door.  It allows us to move forward instead of staying stuck behind the cold black bars of hate.

Love, like hate, can grow and spread like a wild fire.

I believe that both love and hate are contagious and we each have a choice as to which one we are going to spread around.

I choose love because I believe love is the answer.

Love feels and looks  much better than hate.

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I wrote this post as  part of the love beats hate campaign. Please join me in choosing love over hate.

Love beats hate is a campaign to raise awareness about how hate affects all of us.

 Click the daisy to add your voice on to the Facebook page called Love Beats Hate.

Better yet, join me by writing your own love beats hate post. If you do, please let me know that you did this!

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori

 

 

 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Color of Your Heart is Beautiful

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter Brittany, gave me a book called “I’m Gonna Like Me” by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell because she knows I am seeking to embrace myself. It is actually a children’s book but it is quite fitting for what I am seeking. My daughters know that I love children’s books and we are really loving this one.

It is not only a fitting message for myself but for the little’s as well.  When the little’s express to me that they want to be anything other than what God created them to be it hurts my heart….like when little man says he wishes his skin was the same as everyone in his family or when little lady say’s she wishes she had black straight hair like me instead of her blond curly hair… it hurts my heart because I want them to embrace and love who they are.

While I know it is normal and part of our human condition to want or desire other traits or looks, I do want them to embrace their beauty which is something I never learned how to do.

When little lady literally sobs because she didn’t get to be inside my tummy or little man cries because his other Mommy said something to him about taking him away from us, it not only breaks my heart each and every time but I am not always sure what to say to them.  I do not have all the answers. While children are not born with a manual, raising your grandchildren definitely does not come with a manual.

I am not so na├»ve that I don’t know that some day they will question why we raised them and not their other Mommy. Some day they are going to want to know about their birth fathers and how do you explain to children about prison, one night stands and fathers that didn’t want to be a dad? They will have questions and we will have to have answers that won’t tear down who they are and where they have came from. As much as we can say they were wanted by us, will that be enough? Will our being here or wanting them  be enough to lessen the pain that those that birthed them did not step up to the plate, let alone want them?

I know that some who are adopted question and seek out to know where they came from. While we did choose to take them in, it is still not the same as adoption. We did not pick them out and we were not seeking to be parents.

I do not want them to take what their birth parents did personal or to think they were some mistake. I want them to know that in spite of everything, we wanted them and that when the time came, we chose to be their parents. And I hope and pray with all of my heart that this will be enough for them.

For my little’s it is normal to them that while we are Grandpa & Grandma, we are mostly and foremost Daddy & Mommy to them. Their normal includes having a “other Mommy” that they see for a couple hours, once every 4-8 weeks and talk to on the phone.

We are a different family and while I am fine with being different, I don’t want my little’s for one second to think that different is bad or means they are less than anyone. The more they get out in to the world, the less we are able to protect them from the ignorance or cruelty of others.

A couple of weeks ago a little girl in little man’s class told him that he is going to hell because he doesn’t attend church. I asked him if he knows what hell is and he said, “No but it doesn’t sound good.” 

That same girl told him yesterday that she isn’t sure if brown skinned people go to heaven either. I told him, “Apparently this little girl doesn’t know much about this because if she did she would know that going to hell or heaven has nothing to do with going to church or the color of our skin.” He responded with, “Nope, it’s about the color of our hearts.”  That’s right little man, and the color of your heart is beautiful.

I want their love buckets to be so full that when they realize the truth about where they came from and how they came to be with us that they will view this knowledge with a fullness inside each of them that help them handle it and see it as their beautiful story instead of a negative thing.

I want to fill their love buckets so full right now  that when the truths of life hits them or others are cruel, they do not crumble under the weight of it. I don’t want them to be susceptible to the germs of ignorance, hate or discrimination.

I have parented long enough to know that I cannot put them in a bubble and prevent them from ever feeling hurt. My prayer is that having a full bucket will keep the hurt from sticking. 

Wouldn’t we have a different world if everyone knew they had value and worth and thus liked themselves? Wouldn’t it benefit all of us if all people embraced being different? 

Wouldn’t it be great if the picture perfect ideal was each person looking and being their beautiful selves? For each of us to say I am beautiful like me?

 

 

I’m Gonna Like Me

by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell

 

I’m gonna like me when I jump out of bed, from my giant big toe to the braids on my head.

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I’m gonna like me when I grin and I see the space in my mouth where two teeth used to be.

 

I’m gonna like me wearing flowers and plaid. I have my own style. I don’t follow some fad.

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I’m gonna like me when I climb on and wave as the bus pulls away and I’m feeling so brave.

I’m gonna like me when I’m called on to stand. I know all my letters like the back of my hand.

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I’m gonna like me when my answer is wrong, like thinking my ruler was ten inches long.

I’m gonna like me when I’m sharing my lunch cause just like bananas friends come in a bunch.

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I’m gonna like me when I jump up so high. I’ll twist and I’ll stretch straight up to the sky.

I’m gonna like me when I don’t go so fast. Then they pick teams and I’m chosen last.

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I’m gonna like me when I do the right thing and return what I found even when it’s a ring.

I’m gonna like me when I’m feeling strong. I walk with a smile, arm swinging, legs long.

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I’m gonna like me when I sit with my mom and make a get well card for my sick friend Tom.

I’m gonna like me when I eat something new, even if Grandma makes octopus stew.

I’m gonna like me when I make a mistake and put out the candles on Dad’s birthday cake.

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I’m gonna like me when I open the box and smile and say “Thanks” even though I got socks.

 

I’m gonna like me when I try a new task. I bring in a plate before I am asked.

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I’m gonna like me when I clean in a flash and play with my brother and take out the trash.

I’m gonna like me when I cuddle up tight and know as I’m sleeping I’m safe and all right.

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I’m gonna like me cause I’m loved and I know it, and liking myself is the best way to show it.

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I’m gonna like me. I already do! But enough about me- How about you?

 

I can barely get through this story without crying because the desire of my heart is to truly say, “I like me.” and mean it. My hope is that each of us could say these words and not only believe them but with a smile on our faces.

Here’s to beautiful you(and me!)!

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori