Friday, October 21, 2016

Enjoy the fall.

Happy Friday!

The sun is shining bright and fall-y here today.  The air is changing and I can feel it in my soul.  The days are drawing shorter and time passes a bit quicker each dawn to dusk.  I look at the faces of each of my children and recognize the seasons for them are cycling through faster than my seasonal calendar.  Their youth is momentary and aging.

I see it like never before.  The dichotomy of the maturation process and the contending reaction to self-preserve and to keep the spark of our youth.  I see it in the new lines etched on my face and in my newly-turned teenage daughter's attitude.  It is everywhere.

Fall is here, and it will hang on as long as it dearly can.  Remembering the sweet moments of summer, and bracing itself for the wise, old moments of winter ahead.

Autumn gold is my favorite.  A time of reflection.  A comforting and crisp sense deep in my soul. Though I change, though my colors dim, though sometimes I stand bare...these are the signs...I am alive. Clinging with every waft to who I am, and also releasing myself to be blown away for what will come.

Enjoy your fall.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Netflix 13th

Check out  13th on Netflix, original documentary.

Please watch.  We'll be discussing soon...when my computer gets better and I'm not blogging from my phone. 

I am slowly digesting and processing this information.

In a personal aside, one of the hardest parts of homeschooling my kids is teaching them to read.  At the same time, reading has been one of my most treasured times with the kids. Good literature doesn't just tell a story, it weaves a parable right through your soul.

Today, I began reading The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes with Liv, my almost 9 year old daughter. The story is about a early 1900's Polish-American girl who is racially profiled and mercilessly teased, especially by some mean girls. I read this book five years ago with my oldest daughter, not remembering the forward by Helena Estes, the author's daughter. Helena explains the book was based on both fact and fiction, but really, was born out of her mother's, Eleanor's, own regret of not standing up for a childhood school girl that had been ridiculed. It was a regret that birthed a story.

How can a child be expected to stand up for others? How can we teach a child to risk their own comfort and open themselves up to pursue the safety of others? There is only one way. We must live it and show them...silence is not protection...silence is counterproductive...silence perpetrates the sanctity of safety for us all.

Adults are failing at speaking up. Failing considerably. And while we could each mind our own business and secure our own vulnerabilities, when we don't speak up we are truly solidifying a place for injustice in our land.

Acknowledge you have a circle of influence. Each of us must use our influence wisely. How you influence and love others may be the only thing left in the end. Speak up for the poor, the profiled, the ridiculed...and by this...we may just change the future of our regrets.

When our apologies are too late, they are still very necessary. Even if never heard, our apolgies teach us how to do better, they make us different, and give us the essential insights into the lives of others.

13th is educational and informative.  You don't have to agree with everything to acknowledge the premise. We watch documentaries to know our past, relate our present, and heal our future.

We don't need to make America great again. We need to start by making it healthy.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

breaking the code of white silence & 5 baby steps to begin

a few years ago,
i broke my code of silence.

it started with a facebook post.
you can view the article here

to begin, my code of silence was established before i was old enough to know it...
from history books to casual conversations.
for the most of my life, i was ignorant to the fact i even held this code of silence.
i was stirred as a child learning about the civil rights movement, but quietly understood history had already done its part. enough said.

slowly and, i believe, deliberately a spiritual film was peeled from my eyes.
my vision changed.
then, something grew inside of me.

and i knew.
the silence must be broken.

what happened next wasn't my voice.
what happened next was fear.

i thought i was afraid of my words, building inside me.

later realizing, i was afraid of the people who would hear these words.
i was afraid the people, my family and friends, couldn't handle my words.
i was afraid my words would be altered or used against me.
i was afraid people would think i was less "christian" and covering for "thugs."

i was afraid people would think this was all about my crusade fixated around my black daughter...
i was afraid people would think she was my cause.
i was afraid my words would be dismissed, thought of as "white guilt," or be interpreted as my own "savior" mentality.
and i was terrified my daughter would have to pay my consequences.

i was afraid my cry for injustice would be translated into my own white pride.
and the things white people hate more than black pride...
is white pride for black pride.
and black people don't want a white-momma-of-a-black-child pride, either.

that is how twisted the code became.
and that is where the code holds its power.
to break my silence would seem prideful and would utimately be painful.

wikipedia says,

code of silence is a condition in effect when a person opts to withhold what is believed to be vital or important information voluntarily or involuntarily.

when, at first,  i kept my code of silence out of ignorance; then, i held to it dearly out of fear.

as to the conditions and effects in this country...
they are numerous and overwhelming.

why are whites silent?
why are the police silent?
why can't we give validity to the fact that while all lives matter,
black lives need to matter more right now.

we need voices to break the silence.
silence is not an option.

we must stand up for injustice.
the days of unwillful ignorance are gone.
the film has lifted.

like never before, we see in live streaming time.
we aren't completely able to decipher it all with our linear timelines,
 but our responses are beyond real time live...
they are eternal.

willfully remaining silent in the face of racism is being an accomplice.
the code of silence is as harmful to justice as a white hooded horseback rider.

white friends and family...
white police officers everywhere...
white leaders, politicians, and law makers...

break your code of silence with truth.
replace fear with love.
allow your peace to beckon out as a light into the worthy anger of night.

there will be a price to breaking the code,
believe me. believe them.
but every life is worthy of that price.

change happens on a personal level.
the code of silence must be broken on a national, state, and local level.

it will start with me...
and you.

if, like me, you have decided your realm of influence must be reached...
you are ready to break the code of silence.

five simple things you can do to speak up:

1. stop talking.
listen. read. research. pray. learn.
your voice will depend upon these things, not merely your opinions.

2. talk to your children about race issues and current events.
leave out all your opinions to start.
explain both sides from each perspective.
let your child talk.
remember to base your conversation in love, truth, and justice.
kids need to trust that love wins.
show them when it doesn't.
they need to understand our Creator's intentions towards the sanctity of life.
explain to them how things can be better if things were done differently.

3. my next move...wear clothing that says what you believe.

we've heard the saying...
put your money where your mouth is.
since, for the most part, this is an awkward topic to approach...just go ahead and say it up front.
wearing a black lives matter shirt is a peaceful way of saying...
 black lives aren't mattering like they should.
although a one-sided conversation, you could be surprised as to where your garb might lead you.

4. start small.
challenge an idea. challenge a picture. challenge your friend. challenge your family.
be polite and kind.
but speak the truth.
keep it simple.
be wise.
thank the person for the dialogue.
don't apologize for what you believe.
learning from experience,..
perhaps your public challenge could be done privately?
don't bash...raise a question.
or simply say, "i can't agree." or "that really saddens me."
your small initiative will lead to bigger.

5. remain confident and assured.
you will speak simply and quietly. sometimes boldly and unwarranted.
and then you'll feel afraid.
you might not get the response you were hoping for.
i recently told my kids,
"i wish doing the right thing always felt good."
when you give voice to truth...
ugliness will rise up.
it will try to intimidate you, throw you on the ground, and make you afraid.
it will try to silence you again.
this is what your black equals have been experiencing for centuries here.
you can do it, too.
this is not new and it is certainly normal.
stand up and stand strong.

with quiet conviction we stand.
and with bold assurance we must speak.
your words are important,
they are vital.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

teaching them "NO"

recently, i've been reading a book with my kids.

one of the chapters is on teaching your child the art of saying, "no, thank you."
to be polite.
to show kindness to the giver.
and to be appreciative even if you don't want to accept the token.

the chapter also addresses times when a strong, "NO," is in order.

while i want my kids to be polite, kind, thoughtful, and sincere most of the time,
i also must teach them to be strong in their "NO's" when the proper time arises.

like, obviously, stranger danger.
or people you know who tell you to do something that is wrong or makes you feel uncomfortable.

are we comfortable with saying NO, too?

besides with my kids,
"no" is not a comfortable word for me.

fast forward to grown up.
fast forward to current events.
racial tensions.
america 2016.
fast forward past all our parental rhetoric and best intentions.

is it ethically acceptable for people to yell, "NO, NO, WE WON'T GO!"

it depends, right?
if it is stranger danger.
if those someones are making you feel ugly and uncomfortable.
if those people are out to harm you rather than do you good.

 a woman is walking on a trail and gets grabbed and pulled behind a bush.
her rights and body are being violated.
she yells, "NO."
she struggles.
she fights.
her NO is aggressive.

and for good reason, and we like that.

a black man is sitting in his car and is instantly surrounded by cops and guns and threats...
in a state that is historically substantiated on racism.
his rights and body are being violated.
he yells, "NO"
he struggles.
he fights.
his NO is aggressive.

but we don't like it.

when is non-compliance okay and when is it not?

if the man's non-compliance isn't acceptable simply because his "NO" is directed at a peace officer,
then we have a statute of limitations to our no's.

i get it.
it 's my thing to abide by an ethical and moral code of conduct.
i get the role of law enforcement.

when we find someone, anyone, including a police officer...
asking us to do something we know is for our harm and not good.

it is a misconception that police officers are above the law or are the law.

there are so many correctable problems in our country right now.
they are correctable with...

the best possible solution would be for people over the perpetrator to tell them NO.
to protect the victim.
but what if everyone is afraid to say NO?
only one person is left to yell NO...
and usually it is too late.

i know i'm simplifying all of this.
but isn't it meant to be simple?

kindness, truth, justice, and love.
and NO when it isn't those things.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

moving on.

time is marching on.
and we can't help but step in pace.

it has been some time since my last post...
excluding the one i published two months ago and quickly took down.
the post was personal, maybe too personal.
and maybe i'll post it again soon.

i'm personal.

i'm not much in this world.
there isn't much to my name and i don't have a long list of accomplishments.
pretty much the only thing i have...
is personal.

how does a little, personal shelly...
make great, big, and bold accomplishments.

by being personal.

i want to touch the world.
i want to be with people.
to help, to hold, to laugh, to cry.
to listen.

and it all happens by being personal.
 my personal mission.

one of my personal expressions is writing.
and i've decided to pick it back up.

so maybe the blog will change a bit...
from all the things i am doing,
to all the things i want to be.

each of us has a voice.
and when we all speak at the same time...
it's noisy and confusing.

the written word waits.
it is patient.
it is carefully spoken.
and begs to be heard...
in time.

ribbon in the sky is what i have to live and to leave.

it is my voice. my love. my legacy.
and sweetly, our first dance song.

be your voice. let your words be your legacy.
and may they be the creed you live by.

Stevie Wonder
Oh so long for this night I prayed
That a star would guide you my way
To share with me this special day
Where a ribbon's in the sky for our love
If allowed may I touch your hand
And if pleased may I once again
So that you too will understand
There's a ribbon in the sky for our love
Do Do Do Do Do...
This is not a coincidence
And far more than a lucky chance
But what is that was always meant
Is our ribbon in the sky for our love, love
We can't lose with God on our side
We'll find strength in each tear we cry
From now on it will be you and I
And our ribbon in the sky
Ribbon in the sky
A ribbon in the sky for our love

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

life is a chalkboard.

we began homeschool 2015-16 this past week.
it was nothing short of extraordinary, long, tiring, hard, refreshing, and productive.
let's just say after the first day...
my only comment was,
"169 more days to go!"
by friday, we were running more smoothly, and less tired.
gives us a week or two...
and we'll be in our game!

this little cutie is also a rascal.
she loves attention,
and dislikes it diverted.
she grabs people's pencils and pokes them.
she rips up math worksheets.
she paints her fingers instead of the paper.
and she has a telegraphic memory.
it really is astonishing.
she's too smart.
nia is full on preschool!

this one is my sleeper-in.
she warms up slowly.
and that's pretty much how she does her arithmetic.
did i mention she's an excellent reader.
 she's amazing.
she is more thoughtful than most girls i know.
which can lend to more drama than most girls i know.
 plus, she could run this home if i couldn't.
my a super second grader!

and just like that...
this guy is a fifth grader.
he's kind. he works super hard. he gets the job done.
he's chill.
and basically i have him working ahead with selah.
basically, i'm excited about josh!
he also likes to tell really long narratives of specific accounts.
just the cliff notes, buddy!

and her!
a full-on middle schooler.
i'm so thankful i still see her smiling!
i see other middle schoolers coming home,
and they are not smiling.
partly her resilient attitude, partly naivety (she refuses to play into girl drama),
and partly because...she just smiles...big.
and i'm so glad she hasn't lost that.
i want to see selah shoot for the stars...
cause she's got it!


life is our chalkboard.
and so it has been for a little-long time.
we began this homeschooling journey seven years ago, which seems like a super long time, but has passed all too quickly.
when we started i was afraid.
afraid i would mess up my kids.
but as each year turns to the next, i am increasingly thankful and ever less frightened for our alternative schooling approach.
although a lot of our work is mundane just like the rest, our growth shows in each individual and our family as a unit.

homeschooling is not easy. and certainly not glamorous.
and when mommas tell me,
"i could never do that."
i think,
"yeah, me neither."

i work against stereotypes.
and culture.
i work against my own fears and the fears others put on us.

i work...
with my kids.
i work against attitudes,
and i work with attitudes.
but i work with my kids,
mostly because,

 i believe in them.

more than money.
or a job.
and certainly,
not because i believe in myself.

and it is work.
hard work.

education is important.
for school this week we are watching the documetary,
on the way to school.
(find it on netflix.)
i want my kids to understand their education is important.
incredibly important.
i want them to be thankful how easily their education comes.

even more,
i want them to have an understanding that this is their world.
they didn't create it...
but they can help make it.
and shape it.
they have a role to play.


life is our chalkboard.
we scribble.
we erase.
we err.
we create.
we learn.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

The Latest and Greatest.

i'm not doing so well on this blogging thing this past year.
often, i miss and miss out on documenting our latest and greatest.
my regrets are simple...
mostly because i know the days are slipping by,
and i want it all recorded...
with a narrative.

 when i feel the memory,
i also will have the written words.
the written word remains...
longer than the moment,
and even longer than the memory.
our simple stories.

it's so hard to give your all each day...
and then have the energy to give voice to those little moments that would otherwise remain silent.
even now,
my baby girl has suddenly come down with a cough in her sleep.
mostly i want to shut this down and go watch or read something.
lay in bed to facebook and everybody else's lives.
because that would just be easier.

but, then...
i would have NOT downloaded these pics sitting on my camera.
and i would NOT have found nia's first selfie.

and so now i know why my lens is blurry in all the other pics!

life is constantly changing.
we are wrapping up summer and starting our 2015-16 school year.
our lives have changed.
we have had a lot of experiences this last year that have dictated our growth.
for the record, i typically like to dictate my own growth.
but, that just isn't how it works.

and our latest and greatest is just today.
in all the glory of growth.
the heartache.
the pain.
the joys.
the laughter and tears.
but mostly in the embrace of these lives that i love with all my heart.
as my children grow, as our love grows, as my marriage grows, as i grow...
i worry less and less about the glory 
and more about the growth.
so our latest and greatest is here...
each and everyday.
documented or not.

and as long as we are growing...
i call that glorious.
but all the more growth.
all the more glory.

we had a wonderful summer of sweet, old-fashioned, boring, long-hot-summer days.
and we needed just that.
i feel a foot taller.
and thirty pounds heavier.
but seriously,
why i gotta grow like that, too!???

sip your summer-ade.
and say adieu to all those good intentions.
 and shout out...
 to all those true-to-life moments. 

put a post-it on our soul.

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