ending 2017 a little bruised and a whole lot worse for the wear

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

First thing in the morning this past Sunday, New Years Eve 2017, the shower nozzle fell from the sky and hit me in the face.  Good morning to me on that Lord's day.  No broken bones, but it was touch and go there for a minute checking my nose for a status update. And I found this particular incident completely representative of the entire year, a year that left me feeling broken, but because of sheer luck, or God's infinite mercy/sense of humor, mostly just a little bruised and a whole lot worse for the wear.

I'll jump right into this post by saying that the past few weeks have found me climbing and staggering and hanging on to whatever solid hold I could find in and for this family - and y'all, that's just not how I saw this motherhood thing going.  You know what I'm talking about .... those times when you feel all accomplished because your kid did something great or grand or even just passed all his classes for the semester and you threw a happy party for your own awesome contribution in birthing him in the first place.    Or maybe you were in the midst of such an organized and handy streak that you got mixed up  - and confused timing for skill, and experience for the promise of future success.  I can honestly check all the above boxes and add the one that says, Thought she had it all figured out but quickly figured out that she didn't.

I know.  I'm speaking in Kristi code.  It's mostly blog code for things I want to tell you but if I do I can be assured of  an ugly text from an un-named and un-numbered kid saying that he doesn't appreciate me or my blogging super strengths and wishes I would fall in the nearest hole and stay there for a while.  Because it seems there are covert spies all around reading the Kristi blog and reporting back to my children all my faults and shortcomings as a mother.  There are also those that have walked through  my online sites and used pictures to create memes of my kids  - and not in a Hallmark greeting card sort of way.  More of a teens are generally mean and can use anything against you in a cyber bullying situation to make you feel self conscious way.  It's hard when your mom is a tell - all sort of gal, and you're walking through a dark and dangerous time known as school

I've been asked to edit my post from here after being critiqued by the teen crowd.... the crowd mentioned above... that loves to troll my public spaces in search of material to use against my kids.  It totally makes me think of that creepy movie, Gone Girl, where the main character's parents were authors who wrote about the girl's life and drove her to be a psychotic killer.  Here's hoping a better future for you, Kids 1, 2 and 3 - and that I haven't planted blogging seeds of ruin in you thus far.  

Y'all, I wish had some of that invisible, mystery ink to tell you something of great importance, but I just have to leave you with this riddle..... What has now become a popular part of teenage culture recently found its way into our own home.  And what I saw when I discovered its presence made my eyes burn with sadness for the young person involved. I wish for her better things, and a better understanding of herself and all that she has to offer the world other than what can be seen with the eye. 

Anyway, y'all.  Y'all.  These last weeks have found me lost in more ways than one, and I can honestly say that I've been at the point of giving up more than I would like to admit.  We're struggling, and I say that with all confidence because it's just the truth.  We are at a stage of family that is hard to take, and just as hard to explain.  And in dealing with all that goes with five people trying to grow into new and hopefully more mature skins, sometimes we get some bruises along the way.  Much like my face after the shower scene the other day.  

And in navigating the ins and outs of all the people involved,.... teachers, friends, other parents... I've found myself organizing, scheduling, planning and to my complete surprise, defending - not only my kids, but our family, our beliefs and values.  And the saddest part of this story? My character.  

I've been accused, insulted and questioned;   hearing a description of myself from a complete stranger as more soap opera star than the mom that I think and hope my kids see when they see me.  And y'all, this is the absolute truth, and beware because the danger is out there everywhere - when the desperate and broken reach out and try to bring others down with them, nothing is off limits.  This time, my parenting history and practices questioned and ridiculed without even a breath of a pause.   

And yet, here I am,  a couple of weeks out from the conversation; and honestly - after being knocked down a bit from the fight, back to a mid range level of energy to take this ship all the way to its designated shore.  And I'm hoping and praying that the shore we're aiming for is called responsible adulthood. 

These last weeks have been a good reminder to be watchful of my heart and diligent in my faith, because both have been attacked from places that I never expected.  You know that phrase about the devil being in the details?  Um, yes.  I'm reminded more than ever to be aware of even the tiniest break in my prayers for my boys, because it only takes a sliver of space for darkness to creep in. 

I'm not much for the thought of the new year always meaning a new beginning.  I prefer to think of any day being a perfect opportunity to start over or again - no matter when, where or how.  And trust that if I had a dollar for every start over I've done in my life, especially on this low carb journey of the last several months, I'd retire both early and to someplace fabulously warm and sunny.  I tend to think that comes from practice and experience.  And the good news is that new chances and fresh beginnings are all the rage right now in the eyes of a God that graces us with endless opportunities to get things right.  

I wish this was a happier new year post.  Maybe in a way it is, if you twist it and bend it into the shape that isn't as much recognized by us right now as beautiful, but in the end, can turn out to be.  

Y'all stand back because she's gonna blow

Sunday, December 17, 2017

It's one week till Christmas, and in the event you happen to be a crazy house burglar, just lettin you know that we have zero presents under the tree.  Y'all, I've tried, but can't think of a thing the boys need except an extra big helping of good sense.  But oh how to wrap that up in a pretty package with a bow.....

So... blogging.... oh blogging I have missed you this past month.  First I was super sick after our Thanksgiving trip, thinking I left half my brain in the air on that flight home.  The dizziness pretty much rattled me beyond recognition with this bout of vertigo and I had to take motion sickness medicine just to go to work.  And then, still, there probably wasn't all that much greatness happening. 

And in kid news, we have at least one that is failing generally everything this six weeks in school, but still holding out hope for a search and rescue mission from some sort of school super hero that might save the day.  There's another kid in severe anxiety and distress over some other things, and another kid that is just about to be the death of his mother.  I won't identify any of the above, but really... each is so capable of all of it that it doesn't really matter. 

And then this....

Y'all, I stood in the pouring rain last night, late, filling the empty tank with gas at a shady 7-11 on the corner of Dark and Scary, after leaving Kid 3 at the hospital for the night.  And I stood there hoping that if anyone talked to me that it would be a true angel from Heaven because I so needed that right then, but if it wasn't, that I was wearing some pretty dangerous boots and a sucky and exhausted attitude so I figured I would be at the advantage.  

Kid 3 came home from school Friday with a sore arm, and a fever,... all of which turned into a larger scare than I had planned for the busiest shopping weekend of the season.  And let me just put this out there because you already know it to be true... the law of fire wives states that if anything will break, explode or die, it will be while the fireman is on shift saving everyone else but his own family.  I've lived  it for 18 years and counting......

So I called the pediatrician Saturday morning and they sent us packing straight to the emergency room since whatever was happening was happening right on Kid 3's elbow joint, an obvious thoroughfare for all sorts of evil and disease.  So 8 hours later, and some prompt medicating, they admitted the kid for the night to continue IV antibiotics, treating it as a worst case scenario, mrsa staph infection.  Now everyone can say yuck all together , and join with Kid 1 in his despair over catching something.  Nope.  It doesn't work like that and we're all fine, but God bless him, they got right in there and stopped a whole lot of bad from getting worse.  

Now Fireman Dave and I are taking bets as to which will be most costly - the giving of life at Kid 3's birth - which took us a full year to pay off - or the saving of his life this time.  Probably another good year of investing in the financial future of the hospital on this one, too.   But Kid 3 - you are worth gold and rubies and even me standing in a dark and scary spot in the dead of night to be on your care team.  

And I have to add this because.  Just because I want everyone's sympathy, just as I did yesterday at the hospital, texting everyone I knew who would ooh and ahh over me and Kid 3 starving to death in the ER.  I had left him at the hospital in the very capable hands of the nurses for the night so I could go home and supervise a very sneaky Kid 1 and his sidekick, Kid 2.  Which turned out to be good for an entirely different reason that we should totally discuss later, and I had occasion to put the fear of God in the oldest over this, that and another - then swelled with pride at all I had managed to accomplish in one day.  

Anyway, I woke up at 3AM to find a flooded laundry room and a backed up kitchen sink, and longed for the days of being a kid and having a parent to do all the hard stuff.  Turns out the main pipe between the kitchen sink, the dishwasher and the washing machine is old and fussy and needs to be cleaned out more often than not.  So when I started the last laundry load before bed, it all went to town and left a hellacious surprise in the house.  But since Fireman Dave is working a 48 hour shift during all the excitement, I called him to be of assistance and he came home and did his side job as plumber as quick as a flash, then went back to being everyone else's hero till tomorrow.  

But I think this is where I reached my full capacity of emotions for the wasn't the sickly waiting room, the crowds, the masses of illness packaged up in rough and rude people.  It was the long waiting, the time, and the thinking of what could've happened with Kid 3 had we not gotten to this infection as quickly as we did.  And it was that the hospital that we went to happens to be the one where my dad was when he died. 

 And as I tried to tell Kid 3 about that last visit there with my dad, long before Kid 3 was even born, I felt such an amazing sense of this..... THIS.... Y'all stand back because she's gonna blow.  

I remembered being there with him that day, rushing up there with an 18 month old and a 4 month old, trying to get there fast before they turned off the machines.  And I got there in time to stand by his bed and tell him not to worry about something in particular.  At that time, Kid 2 was having his own share of health problems at just about 4 months old, and we were challenged to the top trying to figure it out.  But I remember telling my dad not to worry, that the very next day I was bringing the baby to that very hospital for a specialist appointment that I just knew was going to be our answer.  And it turned out to be.  

And for just a minute, I was the comfort in a long line of him being that for me.  I just think that yesterday - hospitals and scares and having to face some challenges -  brought me to a spot that needed to be looked at from this new perspective.  The perspective that it's totally okay to cry for a while.  Then I have to put on my tough girl boots and do what needs to be done.  Granted, I've been doing my fair share of stress eating the Christmas fudge, too,  so I'm not fully empowered.  But maybe just a little. 

Today I am thankful for challenges that make me aware.  For obstacles that give me motivation to climb.  And for walls that dare to be pushed down.  I am thankful for doctors and nurses and caring friends who put up with my texts for attention since I no longer have a parent to be my guide.  And I'm thankful to write a story with a happy ending.  

Merry Christmas to you and you and you.  I'll be back in the new year with some new fun and juicy topics.  Yep.  There's some good ones. 

post script - Kid 3 got to come home from the hospital today.  He has a lifetime of medication in his future, but his wonderful teacher/basketball coach stopped by the house with Krispy Kreme donuts and all his cares were erased.  As for me, I'm thinking a long Christmas nap.  

I hate your blanket and it's hiding my football greatness!!!!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

I just finished scrolling through everyone's happy Thanksgiving posts while I sit here for the first time, up right, in my bed with a bad horrible case of vertigo.  Vertigo of the post migraine, post airplane flight type.  Make that a post migraine during an airplane flight type.  It was bad.  I did get a bonus bottle of water from the flight attendant since we told her I needed to take medication - STAT.  And the guy next to me used my special health emergency to request an extra package of cookies for the road. 

So anyway, I've mostly been laying down with a heated tube sock full of rice across my head.  Which sounds weird, maybe, but years ago the boys made these stuffed socks as crafts at Vacation Bible School or somewhere and they have been the #1 best gift I have ever received.  I loved my new diamond ring and all a few years back, but diamonds don't cure headaches so they get ranked lower on the list. 

But we had a nice trip to North Carolina, all the family minus Kid 1.  I would've loved to bring him too, but knowing what I know now about his responsibility rating as a near adult, and coming home to find a sick dog complete with household smells, it was probably a good time of separation for us all. 

I actually took my laptop on the trip and started this post days ago, with thoughts of thanks and giving trying to work their way out of me.  But then I  hung up the phone with Kid 1 fussing at him for this thing or that, and realized that it's nearly a crime to be wasting a beautiful beach worrying about what I can't take care of with my toes buried in the sand.   So I chose to beach it instead of write about it.   

Leaving a kid home this week was just weird for me.  But since his football team made the state playoffs -  for the first time in 32 years -  we gave him the choice of what would mean the most to him over his holiday break - stay home so he can attend daily practice and get to to play in round 2 of the biggest game of his high school life.... or come with us on vacation.  Of course he chose football - I totally expected that -  and we left him in the care of his buddy, Kid 4's family, but also with the strict expectation that he come home twice a day to take care of the dog. 

But on or about day 3 of the trip and having had time to monitor his comings and goings via secret neighbor spies and various other parental tactics, seems we set our hopes too high.  Which means that my sweet Rita had to hold her horses on the the way to the bathroom until Kid 1 could squeeze her into his holiday plans.  Really, to save time and energy, refer back to paragraph 3 where I refer to his responsibility rating. 

So I ended up calling a friend and passing along the dog duty, and when Kid 1 came home to find out that he had been discovered and discarded, more than a Happy Thanksgiving was shared between us on the phone.  And as much as I hated to leave it like that, I hate more for a 17 year old boy to give his word to me on something and show that he has yet to learn how to keep it.

So I flipped back and forth this Thanksgiving, being both thankful for the opportunity to parent, and being sad that I may be a total flop at the whole thing.  I went between being happy that I got to spend special time with Kids 2 and 3 and enjoy a beautiful week at the beach, to feeling lost because we weren't all together the way I had hoped.  Together is hard to come by these days, football and girlfriend, and whatever else sounding better all the time over time with the family.  Maybe we gave him such a calm sense of security as a young child that he feels totally okay with running away full speed ahead and trusting that he can come back whenever he decides.    Maybe I should've have lost him in the grocery store a few times when he was little so he would appreciate us more. Or maybe it's none of these - and just is, just because.

Maybe some of you saw the picture I shared earlier of post game fun with Kid 1. This is right after they won round 1 of playoffs.  Looks very sweet and celebratory if I do say so myself.   But here's the rest of the story.....  And yes, seriously, I need a spray tan on my legs.  I know.  Gift cards accepted and welcomed to help with that.  

Y'all, when the team won their first playoff game last Saturday, I was honestly thrilled for them - for about 5 minutes, because then this happened....  First you need to know that it was about 20 degrees below zero out there and for whatever reason, I decided to wear a mini dress and adorable boots, of course in team spirit colors.  And I looked super cute till about 15 seconds after this picture.  And let me say that I have never been more thankful for a blanket in my life than the one in this picture - the one that not only did I use to block out the 90 mph winds, but to hold my skirt down if I even tried to stand up.  So in these pictures, I wear my stadium blanket as a stadium toga, because it was basically the only clothes I had on all day.

So right after the game we made our way down to the field because other parents already had.  And here's more truth than I wish I ever had to share -  but I hesitated because I wondered if we would be welcomed by Kid 1 in his celebration.  And I think this little doubt is a good indication that there is already a natural fault line forming in the world of Walters. 

Then we posed for these pictures  ... And if I may paraphrase the conversation going on between pics 1 - 4, it went something like this:

Family:   We crazy love you and want to be near you - give us some of your attention please Kid 1 !!


So as you can see in pic 2, Kid 1 grabbed the blanket, tossed it in pic 3, and left me streaking across the football field for cover on my bottom half in pic 4.  

I still love you Kid 1, but holy moly, those cotillion classes and millions of prayers obviously haven't kicked in yet.

And then we went to eat, and I went home and cried.  True.  I cried the happy tears of a mom that is proud that her son is happy and involved and all that jazz, mixed with the tears of a mom feeling left out of her son's life, dare I say even feeling like an intruder, seeing our lives even more divided.

So I say this today because I've spent some time looking around at a lot of Thanksgiving posts.  I've followed plans and preparations and saw pictures of the big day.  But I just know in my heart that there are others out there like me -  who don't crazy love the holidays.  And some of us, the every days, near as much as we would like our pictures to tell.    And I share our football fiasco pictures to show you that even though there are some good ones that are worthy of a good story, it's often the good ones that don't tell the whole story.

But I ended up loving this week, and needed it and had been counting the days till it came.  And I loved the time with Kids 2 and 3 and got more time with them than a mom could ever deserve.  And pretty sure they enjoyed it too, except for that time when we ambushed them and made them get haircuts at the Great Clips in small town North Carolina the night before Thanksgiving - just so I could finally give thanks that I could see my children's eyes again out from under the disguises that they had been wearing.

But on Thanksgiving day, after my less than loving talk with Kid 1, and being bit by my in-laws' old dog, I was teetering on the brink of sad and despair - enough so that I consoled myself with macaroni and cheese of the full carb variety - and had to curb my emotions at the big bonfire.  And as I stood out there looking into the fire and burning old tax returns .... because, why the heck not? - I swear it was like a Moses moment.  Like that time the burning bush got his attention, but without the deep voice of God.

I watched that fire and stood there and prayed.  Not long, and not loud, and definitely not pretty.  But God doesn't care about any of that which should be on all our thankful lists.  And I decided that I'm giving a whole lot of power to one  kid -  and not enough to me.  And that I'm letting the worry and stress over that same kid take away the joy that I should have in my time with the other brothers. 

AND, Y'all, I decided that maybe this sadness that I battle on and off has a whole lot more to do with me than it does with Kid 1 or anyone else.  And that burning bush looked right at me and reminded me that I've been dealt a whole lot of hurt and fear and rejection in my time, and that because of it, I can feel those things coming at me from miles before they're ever actually in sight.  And that maybe all that anxiety I feel about watching Kid 1 grow and explore is reminding me all too much of what it felt like to be rejected by my own family at an even younger age - and how maybe I'm confusing my own hurt with his need to grow.

So I'm working on that.  And yes, I admit that I overreacted a tad when I got home to find the smells of doggie irritable bowel syndrome in my house.  And for that, Kid 1,  I apologize.  I actually think I would've left it there for Daddy to clean up, so I applaud your efforts.  But that aside, I'm going to try on some different ways of communicating in times of trouble.  Silence, and thoughtful pauses may be a good place to start. 

And as for me right now, I keep hearing in my head the most beautiful verse, ... 

She is clothed in strength and dignity, 
and laughs without fear of the future.  

Did the burning bush whisper that to me?  No.  Don't be silly - I think I already knew it.  But y'all, I also know me.  Me of the stubborn, choose not to listen sort.   
But gosh I wish I had known a million years ago that I could just pick up some dignity while out and about living through some challenges.  That would've been over the top awesome.  

And honestly, I think I've got the laughing part just about figured out, from years of choosing it over crying - but the part about choosing not to fear?  Why didn't someone tell me about that sooner?

post script:  The team lost their second round of playoff games to a Goliath of a suburban team - a team of literal giants says Kid 1 -  well fed and trained in far fancier facilities, and coached by the best of private lessons their entire lives.  But our little inner city, public school team?  Yes sir and God bless them one and all.  They stood up to their giant, despite the odds, and came out with a better knowledge of what's out there beyond their little playing field.  And the fact they accomplished something that no one in over 30 years has at their school, that's a big plus along with a really great trophy.  

And Kid 1 said he didn't have time to miss us because his freedom was just so much fun.  I'm sure it was, but hope it was even more than that when he looks back on it.  

And as for our trip?  We had great weather and great company.  We enjoyed the beach, saw some movies, walked to the beach store for some things we didn't need but tasted all the better because, and we fished.  Fishing seems to be our Thanksgiving go to of late, and I can't help but think of my dad every time I pick up a fishing pole.  I'm thankful for that.  But mostly we were given the gift of family for Thanksgiving, and that's all I need on my list.   

And though she be but little, she is fierce

Sunday, November 12, 2017

" And though she be but little, she is fierce..."   

So seriously, when you write a blog it's kinda like standing out in front of the mall with a sign that says,  Here's a peek into my life, and oh, yeah... please feel free to send me nasty comments, replies and try to start trouble.  Yet I go on.  And that's exactly why I began this post by quoting Shakespeare - Because you know that's SO me, right?  

Y'all, so much has happened in the last week or so and I'll get to the bigger pieces in a bit, but first, let's just say a big ol' congratulations to Kid 1, and the rest of the Bryan Adams High School Varsity football team for being District 12-5A Champions.  Yes, you heard me right.  District 12-5A Champions.  And since this hasn't happened since 1985, I think an even bigger congratulations is in order.

And would they argue with me calling this one cute?  How about sweet?  Argue away Kid 1 and Kid 4, because this is all that plus more.  Go ahead and happy dance your way to the trophy and a giant dose of satisfaction for some hard work and a job well done.  

And I'm applying for the title of Most Hard Football Stadium Seats Sat Upon in one season between Kids 1 and 3's games.  Now I move to the basketball gym and me not knowing what on earth is going on in that game.  I just watch to make sure Kid 3 doesn't get any teeth knocked out because that happened - really - to Kid 2 before.  

And then this weekend we did this.....   

Kid 1 getting in some highway driving time taking the family to his very first college tour.  Yes, we're starting early but he is a Junior this year and with big heart eyes for only the game of football and Princess Chatterbox, I think it wise that we expand his view a bit and force him to notice a little bit of opportunity beyond his Friday night plans.  So we drove to Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas for the university's open house event and had a great family day together.  Meaning that no one got into a fist fight, we ate fast food, and Kids 2 and 3 slipped ever so stealthily into the college football game without buying tickets.  Should I be bragging about that skill of theirs or should I be ashamed?  I'm actually torn on that one.  

And last Wednesday I was honored to be invited to a Fall menu tasting event at the original La Madeleine Cafe here in Dallas.  And by honored, I mean excited, surprised and ready to ditch my low carb-ness for the sake of being part of a super fun and tasty media event.  So when I said earlier that blogging has some highs and lows to it?  Being invited to things like this is definitely a high.  But trust that my picture of the food comes nowhere near how good it really looked and how I wanted to eat every dessert on the table.  

 Here is the invitation I received because, well,  Yay for holiday fun things.  May there be more for us all to come!

Fa la la la la la Madeleine!

You're invited to a holiday menu tasting at our original bakery-café on Mockingbird Lane. Hosted by la Madeleine’s VP of Culinary, Susan Dederen, be the first to try new and returning holiday recipes.
  • French Lentil & Kale Soupe: A savory roasted vegetable stock soupe with lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, kale, onions and celery with a unique blend of spices and herbs.
  • Turkey, Cranberry & Feta Salade: Diced smoked turkey, cranberries, pecans, feta, grape tomatoes and field greens tossed in balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Turkey Cranberry Melt: Sliced, smoked turkey with cranberry sauce, stuffing, provolone melted on a Cranberry Orange Ciabatta roll.
  • Holiday Café Sampler: The Holiday Café Sampler features the Turkey & Cranberry Friand with Gruyère cheese sauce and served with a cup of soupe and petite salade.
You will also get to enjoy a taste of our homemade holiday pâtisseries, including the Pot au Crème Parfait, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Tart, Christmas Tree Linzer Cookies, Poinsetta and Christmas Tree Iced Cookies, Gingerbread Crème Brûlée and a holiday favorite the Bûche de Noël.

So I went and lunched and then wanted to tell the world to go out and try La Madeleine which is probably exactly why they invited me.  So Y'all, go try La Madeleine and tell them Kristi said thanks for a good time.  

So I think that's pretty much the fun stuff.  I should probably mention that Fireman Dave almost fell off the roof of the he-shed he's building in the backyard, but hung on like Spider Man instead until he could reach the ladder with his foot.  I guess they teach you Spider Man skills at the fire academy.  But the good news of this bit - o - news is that the he-shed actually has a roof now and is beginning to look a whole lot like something out there.  It is truly a labor of love that is going on for months dependent on work schedules and the weather.  I think it looks like we're building our very own church out  in the yard.  Bring a steeple and join us for prayer meeting at Walters Baptist next time you're in the area.  

And speaking of churches.  Here's what I was going to share with you mostly this week.  Y'all know I write for a few other blogs, right?  You can find me here almost weekly and this is my own home on the web.  I also write for The Dallas Moms Blog which is awesome for young moms trying to not pull their hair out raising kids.  And then I write for Wilshire.  And this is where we come to the great divide of sorts.  Wilshire is a Baptist church.  But don't start shaking your head and nodding in disbelief just yet.  We are not THAT kind of Baptist.  We're the other kind.  A church that is both kind enough and brave enough to voice some pretty hot topics in the land of Christian do's and dont's. And I am beyond thankful each week when they let me do a bit of the talking. 

So this past week I wrote THIS.  Go ahead and click on it when you get a chance then come right back here to find out about the continuing saga of Facebook comments.  Go ahead.  I'll wait for you.  

So the post was about guns.  And this may be where the water divides you and me along the river of humanity.  But I'm willing to cross that line to get to you if you promise to cross half way to meet me.  Or you might just decide that this whole Kristi blog thing isn't for you anymore.  I totally get it and respect the heck out of you for standing up for your beliefs.  But I will stand up for mine at the same time, and in this post for the church, I felt like I needed to speak up about how easy access to guns is affecting us in ways that maybe we haven't thought of.  Y'all, this is simply a post about a mom trying to guide her son through a difficult time.  That's all.  But I had comments wanting to make it so personal over their guns that I had to stop and wonder if speaking up was the right thing to do.  

And I've decided that YesYes it wasYes it is.  And Yes it will be.  It hurts me to see people who put more value on the possession of a weapon than the value of a life.  And y'all, this young man that Kid 3 has been grieving over the last few weeks was a precious life lost.  And the fact that so many other young people were influenced by it? Go ahead and start counting the numbers that will be lost in the future - maybe to more gun violence, maybe to violence in general.  Maybe from desperation and lack of choices to get out of the endless cycle of gangs and violence. 

Maybe I care so much about this one because I was a middle school teacher years ago.  And y'all, I loved loved loved those kids like they were my own.  And I saw each day how many of them felt they had no power other than what was placed easily before them.  And sadly, if that power came from a gun or negative affiliations, then it was still power.  I wanted then, and I want now for these kids to find power in themselves, in their teachers, in their families, churches, and especially in their educations.  

So yes, when I wrote that post for Wilshire, there were a lot of things going through my head.  They're still there.  And as I've told my loudest critic so far.... I hope and will continue to hope that the voices of thousands of moms will band together to yell the same thing enough times, and loud enough that we can bring about some important changes.
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