Monthly Archives: February 2014

Time to Speak Up

I was at the Kansas Capital on Monday advocating for individuals with MS. I was there with others who care about issues that impact those living with a chronic disease like Multiple Sclerosis. There were lots of appointments scheduled with Senators and Representatives. I knew the “religious freedom” bill was up for discussion that day, but honestly didn’t think much of it. However as the program portion of the day wrapped up and we got ready to make visits, we received word that many of them would be cancelled because the House was still in session discussing the “religious freedom” bill.

I have a twitter account, but I don’t tweet. And honestly, I only use it to check up on my kids. But someone more hip than me showed me how to follow the action in the house on twitter. I was truly riveted to the feed. It was shocking to hear the 140 character descriptions of what was happening. {As an aside, I think we just figured out why I don’t tweet…140 characters?} Just as I was considering going into the gallery to hear the discussion live, I saw they had voted. And it passed.

I will be the first to admit, I don’t totally understand our legislative process. And yes, I’m embarrassed that I don’t know exactly how things work. It has kept me from speaking out when I probably should have. I like to know the facts, know and understand what I’m talking about before I run my mouth. Not completely understanding the process or the legal verbiage used in bills keeps me from talking. I know enough to know, that I don’t know a lot.

But what I did realize, is that I do know enough to have an opinion. I probably understand the issues as well as the next guy. Maybe better on some topics and undoubtedly less so on others. I also realized from participating in advocacy days…our Senators and Representatives are just like me and the next guy. They know enough to be dangerous on some topics too.

In the interest of not sounding like a fool when I express my opinion, I try to be a diligent consumer of information. I watch sources; look at who wrote a piece, where it came from, how well it is cited. Essentially is it worth reading? I try to go to the source. I have read more bills lately than I ever imagined I would, in the interest of knowing what I’m talking about. {I tried but didn’t make it through the Affordable Care Act, but then neither did those who passed it:)!} I try. I try to understand where they were coming from and more importantly, what injustice or wrong is being corrected. What travesty avoided, what problem solved by any legislation that comes to my attention.

So when I read this bill had passed the House, I felt the need to read the text for myself. Now I’m not a lawyer, but what I read is concerning at best. Down right frightening the longer I sit with it. By my read, in my understanding of English, it sounds to me like this bill gives every person the right, based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs” to not only refuse to serve someone, but refuse to recognize them in very basic ways. And then it goes further to say that the individual being refused does not have the right to claim they have been discriminated against. Huh?

Let’s play that out a little bit. So my “sincerely held religious beliefs” call me to polygamy. I believe with all my heart this is the way God intended us to live. I also happen to be the clerk in the county office that issues marriage licenses. I have the right to refuse to issue a license to someone who is choosing a monogamous marriage. The idea of marrying just one person goes against the way I was raised, the faith I follow and my personal beliefs so I will not issue a marriage license to someone who believes differently than me. And don’t think you can sue me for this, because this law makes it perfectly acceptable for me to refuse to serve you. It even adds adoption, foster care, social services and employment to the mix. And I cannot be fired for refusing to do my job.

Sit with that for a moment.

Government employees, private businesses, big corporations, small mom & pop shops. They all have the right to refuse to serve someone who goes against their “sincerely held religious beliefs”. Every employee of every agency, business or organization. That’s a lot of sincerely held religious beliefs.

Certainly there must be a horrible injustice being corrected by this legislation. Well…So if…Maybe…Nope, I got nothing. I cannot figure out the problem. I can’t figure out the horrible oppression religious people in our state are experiencing to precipitate this law. I don’t get it.

It doesn’t pass muster.

The reality is, it is a thinly veiled attempt to take a preemptive strike against the inevitable ruling of the Supreme Court rendering gay marriage bans unconstitutional. It is a blatant attempt to single out a group of Kansans as less than. Less worthy of the pursuit of happiness we are all promised by our Declaration of Independence. It is glaring discrimination! Yet they have said it is not and just in case you don’t believe them, they will prove it by declaring you cannot claim it is. This legislation is dangerous. I don’t care where you stand on gay marriage, homosexuality or polygamy for that matter, this is scary legislation. And it is a giant leap back in time to a day when it was normal to fear those who are different from us. A time when our world views were so narrow, we would rather hate than learn about someone else.

On our vacation last spring break we drove through Montgomery, Alabama. We made a quick stop at the Greyhound bus station to read about the Freedom rides. One of the things that struck me as I stood there was how certain the whites were that they were doing the right thing. And how easy it was today to see how wrong they were.

If you live in Kansas, please get involved in the legislative process. Make your opinions known to your Senator and our Governor before it’s too late. This link will take you to the bill so you can read it for yourself. Go to openkansas.org to find your legislators.

If you don’t live in Kansas, please know that many of us are feeling like our state has been hijacked by a few with beliefs that I simply can’t understand; a real fear of those they don’t know. I am a conservative Christian and these people do not speak for me.

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Filed under Faith, Intention, The State of Affairs

But Wait…There’s More

I got a text from Oldest Son tonight.

“So we picked an apartment.”

My response?

“Ahhh!!!”

What I really wanted to say is, “Wait, just hang on a second. I forgot to tell you some things.”

Lots of things actually. Things like deposits and renters insurance. Utility deposits and the cost difference of gas verse electric heating. The importance of reading the fine print before you sign anything. I suddenly felt apprehensive, like when we first left him with a baby sitter. Or when you drop them off at their first overnight camp. Did I remember to tell him…

I think that’s the hallmark of parenting; always feeling like there is more to teach. More life lessons to share. I know¬† I continue to learn from my parents, the lessons just come differently. More of me asking and less of them telling if that makes sense.

The reality is, he’s a smart kid. Actually, he’s a smart man. He’s 20 years old. That happened when I blinked. He is smart, and grounded, and responsible. There really isn’t anything to worry about. And I’m not so much worried as maybe awakened; brought back to reality. I think back to how terribly hard it was when he left for college. How I was so happy for him, but really unsure of how I would survive with him gone from our daily routine. I survived and we settled into a new normal. He does his thing and we love having him come home every few months.

I guess this was just one more step on his journey to creating his own life. It’s all good. He will be fine.

The bonus is I have three sons! That means I get three chances to do it right:). Next up, Middle Son heads off to college in the fall. And then I learn to have kids at different colleges with different schedules and a long ways apart. And we will go back to having one son at home. Youngest Son has never been the “only child” in the house. What will that be like?

Life is again changing at break-neck speed, just like when we went from a couple to a family of 5 in 4 years and 4 months. It will only take 4 short years to go from a family of 5 to empty nesters.

Life it is a changing.

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Switching it Up

Hubby and I are switching it up! Doing a little role reversal. It’s exciting and scary.

For the last 16 years he has done inventory the end/beginning of every month. Let that soak in a moment. And think about what happens the end/beginning of each month…New Years, Super Bowl Sunday, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving. Yup. He works every one of them. And not just works, but stressful work. So today, he is doing his inventory for the last time! I am beyond excited!

16 years ago this month we made the move to the Kansas City area. It was a crazy time for us. Oldest Son was 4, Middle Son was 2 and I was 8 months pregnant with Youngest Son when Hubby made the move – 4 hours away from us. It really sucked, but it’s what we needed to do at the time. He took a job as Bakery Manager with his company and it was a great career move. I stayed behind and continued working my full-time job. I was overwhelmed with my job, being Mommy and growing that third son. Hubby was overwhelmed with his new role, being away from family and adjusting to a much bigger community. It was hard. Right after Christmas Youngest Son arrived in speedy fashion and we were finally able to move to KC and have the family all together again. We moved when he was one week old and I knew exactly 2 people in this new town; Hubby and his boss. We were 5 hours from family and way stressed out. To add to the stress we made the decision for me to quit my full-time job to focus on our boys.

In all honesty, I think we were pretty ignorant about the cost of raising three kids in the area we live. The cost of living is high and the affluence abounds. I don’t think we had any clue how hard it would be. But we made the decision and didn’t look back. I worked part-time jobs and short-term gigs to supplement our income. We made it work. Hubby soon learned he didn’t love retail management. Finding people willing to work tough hours and do physical work is hard in this community. And the hours required to be successful were brutal. This isn’t earth shattering news, but I think it needs to be acknowledged. He did a lot of things he didn’t enjoy for a lot of years. He has always loved to bake, but management often means getting further from those things you love and spending more time crunching numbers. It means the stress of turning a profit, monthly inventory and managing difficult personalities.

All those part-time jobs and short-term gigs I worked led me to a full-time job a few years ago. I’ve learned so much along the way by having the flexibility to do things that didn’t necessarily pay big wages, but paid big in experience and connections. That all led me to where I am today. I took a new job this month as executive director of a small non-profit. It is exciting work! I love the challenge.

Hubby took a new job beginning next month as a baker. He’s going back to what he loves. As a result he will have more flexibility, less stress and a chance to explore some hobbies. It’s about time. Working the job he did, gave me the freedom to stay home with our boys- something that was important to us.

So we are switching it up. Now it’s my turn to feel the pressure of making payroll. I’m the one who will be stressing over the numbers on a regular basis; worrying about funding and outcomes. He will be picking up the slack at home, making sure one of us is at the kids activities and keeping food in the cupboard. It will be different, but good.

I hope what our sons get from all this is the understanding that when you love someone you make sacrifices for them. In a relationship it’s give and take. It’s about compromising, doing things you may not love for the good of the family. It means talking things through, working together and being willing to be a little (or a lot) uncomfortable for a while. Life is full of seasons; some you love, some you work through. That’s part of living in relationship. And I hope, actually I know, they see the sacrifices we have each made for them and for each other.

Wish us luck. And if you are the praying type, maybe you could say one for us. I didn’t say change is easy! This will be a good change for us, but it won’t come without growing pains.

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