Why Pinterest Can Save the World

Why Pinterest Can Save the World

 

I love Pinterest.

So much so that whenever I do something creative or make a new recipe the first thing the kids ask is “Mommy, is this from Pinterest?”. And 99% of the time the answer is an enthusiastic YES!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about and this is the first time you’ve heard of Pinterest or thought I just don’t want to do something else that ties me to the computer just stop one crazy minute. If there was ever a reason to be glued to your computer screen this is it.

Go here.

Sign up.

Let the magic happen.

Because you will thank me when you don’t have to use more brain cells to come up with that last minute teacher gift or toddler craft.

Or history lessons.

Or make-up tutorials for dummies.

Or decorating for the holidays.

Baking for a crowd.

Finding a new hairstyle.

Encouragement for the day.

Super adorable dog shaming pictures.

Dream home ideas.

Remodeling before and afters.

Oh sweet heaven it is a one stop shop of brilliant ideas that will make you a rockstar either in your home or in your own mind. Either way you’re good.

Here, within our four walls it’s my job to be creative and I’m okay with that. Now. Before I would fret and wonder how I would find a way to keep my two-years-old twins busy during our first homeschool year. Or when I’d bookmark a recipe and go back to find it, only to spend way too much time searching through hundreds of bookmarks that I never labeled correctly so they were just one unending list of web addresses.

 

Pinterest win!

pinterest win!

And then I found Pinterest. I thought it was so clever until I started creating Pinboards and pinning pins and making pins and posting pins and sending pins only to realize that it wasn’t clever.

It was genius.

And it could save the world.

Pinterest makes me have hope for a hopeless world because every day I see new and inspiring ideas that are an example of just how amazing we are as a people. That for most of us, we’re just putting one foot in front of the other to make our families and communities better. We’re using our time and talents to focus on things that bring beauty and laughter that can be poured straight into your home and my home.

I watched a video last night of a man who could cut and bag an entire watermelon in under 30 seconds. He had the precision of a surgeon and I was in awe of his ingenuity. He will make my watermelon cutting life so much easier!

Have you looked on the humor boards? At least three times a week, when  I am in need of a good laugh, (and maybe just a touch of adult humor-don’t judge me) I check out the funny boards and find myself laughing until I’m crying and snorting. It’s embarrassing and my husband probably thinks this is the time I’ll have to have her committed but it feels. so. good.

It is such a release to laugh out loud, to have your sides ache and the kids wake up confused because they swore they heard a hyena in the house because you just can’t stop.

That kind of laughter could bring world peace. I’m sure of it.

I think of this digital world, this small thumbprint on the internet and how it’s become one big community of sharers. Sharing ideas, thoughts and feelings that you can take or leave with no hard feelings. Where ideas are nurtured, built upon and shared again. Where it’s okay if you see something beautiful and make it your own and by repinning you’re saying hey world! I didn’t come up with this on my own and look how amazing it is!

With all of this beauty, creativity and thoughtfulness, how can we fail? With so much trying and doing how is it that we can’t find common ground?

Maybe there’s a small part of me that’s a little hippie-dippie. A part of me that wants to squeeze my unlovable neighbors and win them over with delicious banana bread I made after seeing it pinned 25,361 times and oh! I hope you noticed how cute I folded the paper plate AND tied a bow around it just so you would know I think you’re worth those precious extra minutes.

Maybe I hope if we’re all inspired to be better tomorrow than we are today, then beauty will outshine  the darkness that seems to creep into our corners.

I think deep down, we all have more in common than we think.

We are people that want to do better and be better. I know I do.

 

 

 

april
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Why I Hope All Dogs Go to Heaven

Why I Hope All Dogs Go to Heaven

 

Tonight the tears are subsiding. It was worse this afternoon, when she was away from me and getting ready to take her last breath. When I was waiting for the text-because he promised to let me know as soon as the vet agreed there was nothing else to be done.

Today was all about her because I knew it was time. I’d mothered her for almost fifteen years and I understood when it was time to start thinking about a life without her. So today, she got her spot on the couch, snuggled in my lap while she coughed and gasped. The kids all gave her kisses and pets and whispered secrets in her ear.

And when he said it was time to let go and promised to hold her until she slipped away, I let the tears come as we sat, pulled over on the side of the road-the kids and I-as we held hands and prayed.

Prayed that Maddy, with her long deer legs and always happy disposition, was there to meet her.

Prayed that there is a place in Heaven for our two, sweet girls that gave us so much joy.

For whatever reason, God gave us these amazing, four legged creatures to love. In His wisdom He gave us dominion over the animals of the Earth and in His grace gave us these beautiful spirits that become a part of our families. Loyal, unconditionally loving companions that bring out the best in who we are.

They are amazing aren’t they? With their constant excitement, an exuberance for life that makes us smile and cringe all at the same time. So excited their tails clear a table or leave a puddle waiting right under your bare foot. They slip through fences, tip over trash, climb on tables to devour a prepared supper and easily drive us to yell obscenities as we stand in the wake of terrible messes.

They also save us from fires, pull us from flooded waters. They search dense forests for a lost child, they are combat companions and heroes.

They ask for so little.

Yet they give so much.

I thank God for them because they’ve taught my children what it is to be gentle. To use their little hands to love instead of hit. What it means to sacrifice time and energy on something other than themselves. To appreciate walks in the heat of summer and learn responsibility because that poop? It’s not going to pick up itself.

Tonight when I go to bed I know there won’t be a wake-up call at 3am. I am relieved that she won’t spend the night trying to get comfortable in between the hours of coughing. I am thankful that she is resting peacefully, a life devoted to loving us and driving us crazy all at the same time.

I will remember her (and her sister before her) my whole life. She is gone but she will always have a piece of my heart.

And hopefully.

Just maybe.

She’ll have a little piece of Heaven too.

 

*for Reagan (7/20/14) and Maddy (5/2/12) with love

 

 

 

 

 

 

april
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Border Crisis: What’s the Right Answer?

Border Crisis: What’s the Right Answer?

There is no escaping the images of young hispanic children sleeping in crowded cells. They are alone, too many of them without families and I would suspect, most of them traumatized from abandonment and the subsequent perilous journey. I imagine they are confused by their current living conditions. Crowded, without proper food, clothing and support. How do you explain to a child that what they’ve done, what they were told to do in the hopes of a better life, has not made their situation better but possibly placed them in grave danger? That there are people waiting to capitalize on the vulnerability of unaccompanied minors and a system that isn’t designed to handle a mass influx of illegal immigrants.

I don’t pretend to understand what goes through the mind of a parent who sends a six year old into the dessert with a Coyote not knowing if that child will live or die alone. I don’t know what it is to live in a country where corruption and brutality are on display daily for everyone to see and fear. I do not doubt that there is unimaginable grief and heartache that comes with making the choice to send a child where you believe they will be immediately taken care of. I wish the parents who are pinning their hopes and dreams on the success of a young child could see the mess they have sent them into.

The argument being made for the thousands upon thousands of illegals flooding our country is that they should be given refugee status. That our borders should be open to the destitute, the downtrodden and afflicted. That anyone being terrorized in their home country should be able to seek shelter in the land of milk and honey.

What we’re failing to collectively and honestly recognize is that the United States already does that very thing. Our doors are wide open for asylum seekers and dreamers alike. My husband and his family are amazing examples of it.

But there is a process.

Imagine your private home is the US and your community’s homeless population illegal aliens. If they came to your door and asked to be housed, fed and supported financially would you let them in? If yes, you can expect to find a line at your door and eventually word-of-mouth will encourage others to take advantage of your open-door policy.

If you say no, that you don’t have the room or financial resources to take care of another person or family, would you expect that they would turn around and find other means to be fed and sheltered? What if they decide they like your home because the tree in the front yard provides cover from the rain and it accommodates their friends as well. They make your front lawn their new home because it’s in the safe part of town and panhandling in a suburban community offers more earning potential. Soon, others join them and squatters officially take over the outside of your house. Are you okay with that? Do you take into consideration their age and circumstances before calling the authorities or do you concede your home to strangers that have no legal right to be there?

What if a homeless family comes to your door and asks to be housed. You reply no, however, you offer to connect them with a local shelter or church that has a defined and stable structure in place to care for their needs. Is that fair? Do you have the right to refuse them even if you have the financial resources, space and means to do so?

Why is the American government any different?

It might seem like an oversimplification but I think the comparisons are valid. The United States has clear and legal parameters regarding immigration. The rule of law pertaining illegal and legal immigrants is not only to protect the social and financial structure of this country, but to protect the family or individual that chooses to leave their home country in order to become an American-and our hope should be that everyone coming across our borders and shores looking for a better life wants to be an American.

Not a Honduran living in America. Not Sudanese living and working in America. Not Afghani hoping to raise a family in America.

American.

We should hope the people who come, regardless of race, color or circumstance, want to become American citizens because America is what they ran towards, not what they ran from. That they will uphold the law and become productive and fruitful members of society, a part of our fabric and rich history, because this country was worth leaving everything they knew behind. And that doesn’t mean they forget where they came from and the culture they grew up with. It means that they look forward to the day when they raise their right hand and can proudly say I AM AN AMERICAN. That the wait, time and the effort to get here was worth every minute.

People looking to start a new life here must be protected and given the same opportunities to succeed as you and I. That doesn’t mean handouts. It means sponsorship, English classes and job integration and training. The system collapses when it is overburdened and underfunded and protecting the people who come here legally should matter to all of us. Children who are here legally waiting for the naturalization process must continue to be offered the same programs without delay. Rape and genocide victims, women and children who have faced unspeakable atrocities at the hands of warlords, must be able to count on the reliability of the immigration process because for them, time is a matter of life and death.

We should not accept an overtaxed bureaucracy pushing aside the legally filed paperwork of deserving and desperate individuals in order to deal with the hundreds of thousands of new immigration cases now needing investigation by the federal government. Those choosing to follow the law of the land should not be penalized by the very government they are turning to for asylum.

The United States government’s unwillingness to enforce border control puts lives in danger. It potentially harms those experiencing persecution in their own country and creates further instability and chaos for those that are now swarming our southern border, not to mention US citizens who have found themselves victims of crimes perpetrated by illegal aliens. This is not a chicken or an egg scenario. If our government followed the law there would not be dead children floating in the Rio Grande. There would not be disease spreading through makeshift refugee camps and there wouldn’t be this partisanship bickering that continuously fails to solve a growing crisis.

So where do we go from here? Every day I read articles and blog posts espousing the virtues of compassion while really just supporting blanket amnesty. That if someone is desperate enough to send their child here alone, then they must be afforded the opportunity to stay and we should pay for every dime of it because it’s worth it. Because human beings are worth it.

Children must be worth it.

I understand the sentiment but find the idea of corporate compassion hypocritical. Those fighting for the 300,000 and growing illegal aliens to stay are doing nothing but encouraging the federal government to take on the cost and care of an endless number of people without considering the long-term ramifications. Yes, we must take care of the children who are here for the moment. They must be documented, clothed and fed (and most importantly kept safe) with the intention that they will be returned to their native country without delay. It is our duty to treat help them while they are here but that kindness must be tempered with reality. The glaring reality that we can not afford an open border policy for our neighbors to the south.

For everyone that cries for these children and screams amnesty for the people relegated to conditions we would find deplorable in a state penitentiary, consider a solution driven by your own compassion-not the bureaucracy that got us in the mess to begin with. If these people break your heart, if you are up at night wondering who will comfort those little faces when they are scared and alone without a mother’s warm embrace, then find a way to make their time here more comfortable. Donate here, give to a local church that is meeting temporary needs such as clothing and toys. But stop expecting the government to solve the problem as if there is an endless supply of money and resources.

Stop slinging around loose phrases like these people deserve our help. We need to do somethingWe need to let them stay.

Who’s this “we” you’re referring to?

When my husband and his family finally came to the States, they were greeted by sponsors. People who offered to open their home to complete strangers. They fed them, helped them find a place to call their own and navigate a largely unfamiliar culture and language. They did it because they believed in people coming here in search of a better life. Families wanted to support people who filled out miles of paperwork and waded through red tape just to be a tiny part of America. Just to belong to a country where they can write their own story.

In the name of compassion we’re asking others to sacrifice their place in the freest country in the world. And there are American children who are hungry tonight. They live in neighborhoods that are dissolving into chaos from a culture of drug abuse and violence. They are in foster care waiting for families. They are victims of abuse and sex trafficking in need of mercy and arms to hold them.

Our first priority should be to encourage our government to finish what they started. Create a safe and iron-clad border that discourages families from separating and keeps the paper line moving forward for families waiting to begin a better life here LEGALLY. When the system is no longer overwhelmed we can petition our lawmakers to make the process smoother instead of giving preferential treatment to certain countries in the hopes that more families can enjoy the freedom and prosperity that is the American dream.

It’s never easy when you talk about the life of a child. Especially a child that risked their life to get here. We have a fundamental responsibility to protect our country and the laws that have been put in place for our safety, security and stability. We are hurting ourselves and anyone who comes here legally by allowing any person coming across the border illegally permanent sanctuary. We can not use compassion as an excuse for lawlessness.

These children break my heart. How can they not? But they shouldn’t be here in the first place. Our failure puts them at risk and it needs to be stopped.

My hope is that we stop expecting the federal government to be a compassionate extension of ourselves. The government shouldn’t be in the charity business and their job isn’t to function as a mother or father or endless bank account. Their job, first and foremost, is to protect and defend the United States.
Our job as a community is to help and comfort those who can not do for themselves. It’s time we stop pointing the finger at everyone else-the collective “we”-and do the hard work when we feel called.

To give up the notion that hashtags put food in a child’s mouth. That status updates do nothing more than give lip service to a real and tangible problem.

 

april
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