Tag Archives: choice and accountability

Thoughts of Mother’s Day

For all you mothers, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is always interesting in our home. In the early days of our marriage, we didn’t have children, though we wanted them. In those days, I spent a lot of time crying when the little children sang to their moms and talks were given honoring mothers. It filled me with despair, believing this would never be my joy.

After four years, and three miscarriages, I brought our first-born to church, gladly listening to the children and the speeches of honor given to mothers. Other years of songs and addresses followed, usually wrestling our little children. Five young children were not easy to handle in a long meeting on my own. My sweet husband spent many of those years on the stand, conducting the meetings, leaving me to deal with the children on my own. By child number 3, though, our oldest son and daughter were more of a help. For that, I was grateful. Each year became easier, until one day, they were gone.

Now, I am the grandmother, sitting with my husband with no children in church, again. My children and grandchildren live elsewhere and don’t come to my church building. One Mother’s Day in the future, we’ll all be together again. (A mom can always hope.)

This year, we left the next morning for Arizona to visit our youngest son and his family, including our youngest grandchild, a little guy not yet 2. We reveled in his joyous play, and spent time as adults together. We enjoyed a baseball game together—my first “big league” game.

Soon, we leave to visit the grandchildren north of us. It will be a time of love and joy. We’ll enjoy a couple more games there, a Little League baseball game and a softball game that our grandson and granddaughter will play in. I’m certain those games will be more fun than the professional game.

Over the past week and into the next, we will have seen all five of our children and seven of our nine grandchildren, plus all of our foster grandchildren. These times with the children and grandchildren are the best gift I receive from my family—time to love the little ones and share time and love with our children. I can’t think of anything better.

What did you do for Mother’s Day? Did you take the time to visit with your mother? I hope you spent a happy weekend together with your children and mother.

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The Consequences of our Actions

It’s funny how people do stupid things and expect to get away with them and yet if that same thing is done to them, they scream for justice.

We passed a driver on a busy freeway who was texting while driving. We’ve all seen the advertisements about the dangers of this. If this person caused an accident, she would have wanted to find a way to avoid all consequences. However, if she had been the recipient of an accident because another person was texting, you can be certain she would press a suit for as much compensation as possible.

A story recently made the rounds on Facebook about a young teen boy who put on a set of brass knuckles and decided to hit a smaller, younger boy. He didn’t want to face the legal results of such stupidity. But you can bet he would be crying for protection if a man, bigger and stronger than him, beat him up with brass knuckles.

In his laws of motion, Newton said something like, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This fits well when considering personal actions. I think a better saying would be:

For every action there is a consequence, not always equal, not always immediately visible.

Recently I announced the pre-sale of my second book in my Ancient Matriarchs series, Into the Storms: Ganet Wife of Seth. A friend asked me “What are you most excited about writing this one?”

After some thought, I responded.

“There were some things about in this book that reminded me that choice and accountability for those choices are important to remember. Sometimes we have to face the consequences for the choices others make. Others times, we are accountable for our own choices. Regardless of who made the choice, how we respond to the consequences makes all the difference in our lives.

I have made some decisions and choices that have been good, and others bad. I’ve had to live with the consequences of other’s actions. It helps to remember my ultimate goal to understand and respond well.”

In Into the Storms, Ganet learns to be responsible for her choices and live with the consequences of other’s decisions and actions.

When have you made choices that led to consequences you were required to face and respond to? How did it go for you? How have you moved through the consequences of these choices?

I look forward to hearing from you.

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Thoughts of Earth Day

April 22 is celebrated as Earth Day. People celebrate this day as a day to remember the Earth, a day to consider the ways to keep the earth healthy and protect it from pollution in all its forms. The ocean is filled with garbage and filth, killing off species of ocean animals. The skies are filled with pollutants, making it hard to breathe, and destroying plant and animal life. Because of the numbers of people in cities, there is a light pollution that prevents us from seeing the stars and the wonders of the heavens. All of this is caused by humans.

Some claim the melting of the ice caps and warming of the earth is also human caused. Perhaps, though ice melting and refreezing has been one of the natural cycles of the earth. Add to that the, also natural, recent increase in volcanic activity.

I think the Earth cries at its pollutants, all of these I’ve mentioned, and others. Consider the pollutants of evil pervading the earth. Violence, wars, abortions, selfishness, pornography, and calling good evil and evil good.

We need to be more careful of the ways we manage our resources, throw away less, work to keep the pollutants out of the earth, water, and air. Each of us, in our own understanding of God, need to return to Him, become obedient to His laws, and work to live better lives.

We cannot force others to live by our standards, but we can live the best lives we know how. Perhaps living well will encourage others to follow our examples. I think of the lives Eve and Adam lived, trying always to be obedient to the laws of Jehovah. They taught their children, and worked to help them understand. The battle for righteousness over evil continues. Until it is won, we must choose, in every way we can, to cleanse the earth of the pollutants of mind and soul, as well as the filth that destroys the physical earth.

What can you do to cleanse the earth of its pollutions? How can you be a better example for others, and encourage clean living?

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In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lamb?

 

Do you remember the old saw: If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb. Or: If March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion.

When I taught kindergarten, many years ago, we created lions and lambs on the first of March and talked about the old saying. We decided if the weather was acting like a lamb or a lion. Often, in the Rockies, that weather was snowy and miserable. The children, rightly, determining that the weather was lion-like. It was amazing how many times the saying was right.

At the beginning of the month, it was beautiful and warm here in southern Nevada. The weather was on its way toward 90, much too hot for this time of year. I looked at my husband and asked if he thought the old saw would follow for this year.

Here it is, the end of March and oh, how the lion roars!

The weather forecaster on our local channel warned of overturned semi-trailers, huge dust storms, and uprooted trees last night. We hoped he was wrong, but usually he isn’t.

Around noon, my husband returned to the living room from the end of our apartment facing the west, telling me, “It feels like we are back on Adak.” Adak, Alaska, is a place we lived twice during our sojourn in the U. S. Navy known as the “Birthplace of the Winds”, and well named.

This evening I went outside for something. A gale of cold wind about blew me over! He was right. I love clouds and sunsets, so of course, I had to stop to take a picture. I was nearly blown over!

My kindergartners would have loved it if they had predicted lion weather.

How is it for you? Lion or Lamb?

Windy Day

 

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A Sneak Peek

Happy Spring!

My next book is nearly ready to publish!

Ancient Matriarchs 
Into the Storms,
Ganet, Wife of Seth

The manuscript is receiving a last review by my editor. I finally found a new cover editor and now have a cover for it.

What do you think?

 

I have been thinking about Eve, First Matriarch.

My favorite part of the story is also the saddest for me. I was amazed when her first children, Absalom and Bilhah chose to leave their home and their family because of differences of belief. I loved how Eve and Adam allowed them to leave, giving them the right of personal choice. It was hard for them, allowing them to think, act, and believe differently than they did. Yet, they allowed it. The right to choose is a gift from God, and no one can take it away. Thus, they allowed it, though they sorrowed for the choices their children made.

What is your favorite part? Please share it with me.

Have you shared your review with Amazon? As an independent author, I publish my books without the backing of a major publisher. That means no six-figure advances and no advertising budget. One of the best ways you can help me is to give an honest review. I’m not asking for a school book report—horrors! I would appreciate a star rating and a couple of sentences on Amazon. Or, tell your friends about it on Facebook or Twitter.

If there was something you didn’t like, or that needs work, share that, too. I’m all about constructive criticism. It helps me write a better book next time.

But, please, No Spoilers!

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Share Peace and End Fear

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War continues to scourge the earth. The Royal Army and the Royal Navy (Great Britain) have had only one year without some kind of conflict since the reign of Queen Victoria. We, who abhor war and killing, are disheartened by this. Additionally, we see increased numbers of murders in our cities and states. When will it end? Will it ever end?

If you read popular fiction, the end will arrive in some sort of apocalypse, followed by a dissolution of civilization. If you read the Bible, it will end with the return of the King of King and Lord of Lords, even Jesus Christ. He will bring a peace beyond all understanding, and a certain a cessation of war, murder, hate, and anger. If you read neither, what do you expect?

As we observe the hatred and fear caused by the recent elections in the United States, added to the fears and frustrations caused by  stories of atrocities caused by refugees from Syria, a subterranean shudder fills our hearts and rattles the soles of our feet like a San Francisco earthquake. Social media quivers with fear mongering. Like a virus, the plague of fear spreads across the land.

Natural gas is odorless, colorless, and highly flammable. It can fill a room or a building without anyone knowing—until there is some kind of spark. Then, the resultant flames burn hot, wild, and long. The effects of hatred and fear spreading among us will be like natural gas, exploding out of control.

There is a constant plague: man’s inhumanity to man—and women, as Mark Twain so eloquently described in Huckleberry Finn. There must be a way to turn off the gas, blanket the fire, minimize the fear, and reduce the hatred.

In this season of remembering the birth of Christ, the God of this earth, who promised us Peace, the challenge is to air out the fear and spread kindness. It is easy to focus on spending money on children, loved ones, and friends. That is nice, but there is more you can do.

My challenge to you is to give of yourself in a way you don’t usually. Give things that cost no money, and spread peace. Choose one or more of these things to do as your gift to humanity this month.

  • Smile at your neighbors.
  • Smile at strangers in the stores.
  • Say hello to someone who looks sad.
  • Strike up a conversation with someone in a store.
  • Laugh at a joke, even if it is stupid.
  • Give each family member a hug.
  • Read a story to a child.
  • Complement others~
    • On their dress
    • On their beautiful eyes
    • On their hair style
    • On their children
    • On their smile
    • On something~

I’m certain there are things I forgot. Add to my list.

What did you choose? What did you add? I look forward to hearing what you are doing! Leave a comment!

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Decision Time

san-marino-1Tuesday is a day of decision—the day many of us will enter our polling booths to cast our vote. Or not. It has been estimated that two-thirds or more who are registered will not take the time or trouble to actually vote. Some will believe their vote doesn’t count. Some believe it won’t matter, due to election fraud. Others can’t find someone to vote for. Others simply can’t be bothered.

I have a friend whose father was a popular elected official, so popular everyone expected him to be reelected. The expectation was so widespread many who supported him did not bother to vote. When the vote was counted, his competitor won by less than ten votes. Just ten friends, ten supporters, ten people who cared enough to take the time to vote would have changed the election and reelected the man.

This scenario has been multiplied many times every year, in all levels, of government, whether you are discussing local or federal elections. If a few hundred more had voted in each of the past elections, the results would be significantly different.

In addition to the big question of the presidential election, most localities have other questions on the ballot. These questions have the ability to significantly change lives in those localities. Some will impose increased taxes. Some may change attitudes about federal laws. Many states question the ability of individuals to use marijuana, either for medical or personal use. Other important questions are on ballots across the country. Those who do not vote will find their lives changes, happily or not

Do not be one of the two-thirds who choose not to vote. It is much too important, this year and every time there is a vote. Your vote makes all the difference, whether you cast it or stay home.

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Should Kaepernick Kneel?

20150914_185748Last week the news was filled with outrage that Colin Kaepernick would choose not to stand for the National Anthem at the beginning of football games. He stated that he refused to “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” In my city, many were outraged at his lack of respect.

Today, another sports figure chose to take a knee during the National Anthem in solidarity with Kaepernick. I’m certain the outrage will continue.

I do not agree with his reasons for not standing. I admit there continues to be some bias towards people of color. The media has highlighted excessive force, especially that force directed toward black people.

Excessive force is not appropriate, no matter who the offender is, no matter the color of their skin. Unfortunately, it happens to offenders of all nationalities. Though some say that the best way to avoid excessive force is to obey the laws, that is not always true. Some are treated badly, regardless of their actions.

I suspect refusing to stand for the National Anthem is a more responsible action than targeting random police officers for murder or participating in riots and destroying property belonging to others.

One of the benefits of living in the United States is the right to choose. We cannot choose which laws to obey or disregard, but we do have freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We all have the right to choose to stand,or not stand, for the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem. Kaepernick has a right to show his frustration by not standing.

Eve and Adam carefully protected the rights of their children to choose, even when those children chose things they did not like. As I wrote about their struggle with this, Eve and Adam discussed what they could do.

Though they wanted to insist, to force their children to obey the commands they were given when leaving Eden, they could not. Forcing them would be acting like the Destroyer, taking away their rights to choose. In order to allow agency, they had to accept alternate choices.

In the case of Kaepernick, we must allow him the same opportunity, to choose a behavior many of us would p

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Another view of the Transgender Issue

When I read this blog, it gave me a lot to think about. I discussed this concern last week. Since then, I received permission from Kaeley Triller to share this with you. It further illuminates the problem of transgender toilet and dressing rooms.

By Kaeley Triller
NOVEMBER 23, 2015

A few months ago, I registered for “The Story Workshop” at the Allender Center in Seattle. Primarily aimed at helping survivors of sexual abuse find the purpose and weight in their fractured personal narratives, the conference promised to be intense but deeply healing.
So when three unrelated friends randomly mailed me substantial checks with notes that said, “I don’t know why, but I think God wants me to give this to you” all within the same week, I took the hint and signed up for the workshop. I had been waiting more than seven years.
I don’t know exactly what I expected. I was naively hopeful that I would get a few good writing tips that would enable me to beautify my past and approach it like one of Aesop’s fables—third-person fiction with a perfect little moral at the end of the story.
Hating the Little Girl I Once Was
That’s not what happened. One of the pre-assignments was to write 700 words about a painful childhood memory. I was surprised at the one I chose. It wasn’t a heavy hitter, so to speak. I wrote about a Polaroid picture I kept rediscovering in a shoebox at my parents’ house, and my inability to figure out why looking at it made me want to rip it to shreds.
I’m about ten years old in the picture, with scraggly hair, pale skin, and a vacant expression. I’m wearing my mom’s oversized knit sweater and Oxford shoes my dad had bought me. In my hands is a piece of green felt I’d cut into the shape of New York for a school report about a U.S. state. Coincidentally or not, New York is the place my abuser had recently moved. I think I wanted to be closer to him. Don’t try to understand it. I still don’t.
‘Why do you hate the little girl in that picture so much?’
My small group dissected the story with grace and insight that could only be offered by those who spoke the same horrific language of shame and rage and grief. I felt nothing as I spoke about it. “It is what it is,” I remember saying, committed to my ambivalence. My group leader brushed away a tear and said, “Kaeley, this story breaks my heart. Why do you hate the little girl in that picture so much?” I couldn’t access her understanding or her empathy. I recognized the accuracy of her assessment, but I didn’t know how to change it.
Later that evening, one of the workshop presenters tasked us with a seemingly benign activity. We were instructed to play with crayons and miniature tubs of play dough on the tables in front of us. I hated these types of exercises. I thought they were such a waste of time. I reached for a purple crayon and reluctantly complied. I drew a picture of a flower and rolled a snake out of my play dough. And I burst into tears.
Someone Protect This Little Girl
The invitation to engage as a child had revealed my whole dilemma: I didn’t hate the little girl in the photo. I hated her need. I hated her anonymity. I hated the visible proof that she loved her abuser. I hated that she didn’t know any better, that it took her another ten years to figure out why she still slept with the light on and showered in her underwear and vigilantly lined the crack under the bathroom door with a beach towel and destroyed her teeth with gum she relentlessly chewed as a means of escaping the recollection of his breath on her face. I hated that he fooled her. He fooled everybody. He was really good.
She still slept with the light on and showered in her underwear and vigilantly lined the crack under the bathroom door with a beach towel.
“Wake up!” I wanted to scream at her. “Can’t you see what’s going on? Do something about it!”
It’s the same desperate inclination I’m fighting today. Everywhere I read in the news, there’s talk of another school or gym or business that is boldly adopting “progressive” new locker room policies designed to create equal rights for people who identify as transgender. These policies allow transgender individuals to use the locker room consistent with the sex they identify as their own, regardless of anatomy.
While some have proposed a third option for transgender people (single-occupancy restrooms and showers), this option has been largely struck down, and employees are prohibited from suggesting it, as it is considered discriminatory and emotionally damaging to a group of people who are working so hard to fit in. The solution? Anyone can use whatever restroom he or she wants without being questioned.
Victimizers Use Any Opening They Can Find
I read these reports, and my heart starts to race. They can’t be serious. Let me be clear: I am not saying that transgender people are predators. Not by a long shot. What I amsaying is that there are countless deviant men in this world who will pretend to be transgender as a means of gaining access to the people they want to exploit, namely women and children. It already happens. Just Google Jason Pomares, Norwood Smith Burnes, or Taylor Buehler, for starters.
There are countless deviant men in this world who will pretend to be transgender as a means of gaining access to the people they want to exploit.
While I feel a deep sense of empathy for what must be a very difficult situation for transgender people, at the beginning and end of the day, it is nothing short of negligent to instate policies that elevate the emotional comfort of a relative few over the physical safety of a large group of vulnerable people.
Don’t they know anything about predators? Don’t they know the numbers? That out of every 100 rapes, only two rapists will spend so much as single day in jail while the other 98 walk free and hang out in our midst? Don’t they know that predators are known to intentionally seek out places where many of their preferred targets gather in groups? That perpetrators are addicts so committed to their fantasies they’ll stop at nothing to achieve them?
Do they know that more than 99 percent of single-victim incidents are committed by males? That they are experts in rationalization who minimize their number of victims? Don’t they know that insurance companies highlight locker rooms as a high-risk area for abuse that should be carefully monitored and protected?
Predators are known to intentionally seek out places where many of their preferred targets gather in groups.
Don’t they know that one out of every four little girls will be sexually abused during childhood, and that’s withoutgiving predators free access to them while they shower? Don’t they know that, for women who have experienced sexual trauma, finding the courage to use a locker room at all is a freaking badge of honor? That many of these women view life through a kaleidoscope of shame and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, dissociation, poor body image, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, difficulty with intimacy, and worse?
Why would people knowingly invite further exploitation by creating policies with no safeguards in place to protect them from injury? With zero screening options to ensure that biological males who enter locker rooms actually identify as female, how could a woman be sure the person staring at her wasn’t exploiting her? Why is it okay to make her wonder?
What About Women’s and Children’s Rights?
“Wake up!” I want to scream. “Can’t you see what’s going on? Do something about it!”
Despite the many reports of sexual abuse and assault that exist in our world, there’s an even larger number of victims who never tell about it. The reason? They’re afraid no one will believe them. Even worse, they’re terrified of a reality they already innately know to be true: even if people did know, they wouldn’t do anything to help. They’re not worth protecting. Even silence feels better than that.
Survivors are terrified of a reality they already innately know to be true: even if people did know, they wouldn’t do anything to help.
There’s no way to make everyone happy in the situation of transgender locker room use. So the priority ought to be finding a way to keep everyone safe. I’d much rather risk hurting a smaller number of people’s feelings by asking transgender people to use a single-occupancy restroom that still offers safety than risk jeopardizing the safety of thousands of women and kids with a policy that gives would-be predators a free pass.
Is it ironic to no one that being “progressive” actually sets women’s lib back about a century? What of my right to do my darndest to insist that the first time my daughter sees the adult male form it will be because she’s chosen it, not because it’s forced upon her? What of our emotional and physical rights? Unless and until you’ve lined a bathroom door with a towel for protection, you can’t tell me the risk isn’t there.
For me, healing looks like staring at the little girl in a Polaroid photo and validating her need to be seen, heard, and protected instead of hating it. It looks like telling my story, even the parts I can never make pretty, in hopes it will help break the anonymity of survivors and create a sense of responsibility in others to act.
Don’t Let Innocents Get Hurt Before You Rethink This
I still battle my powerlessness to do anything that feels substantial to affect change, but the good Lord didn’t bring me out of Egypt and set my feet upon a rock so I could stand idly by in the face of danger. So even if a little article or Facebook post doesn’t ultimately change the world, it’s better than silent resignation to negligence and harm. I feel a sense of urgency to invite people to consider the not-so-hidden dangers of these policies before more and more of them get cemented into place. Once that happens, the only way they’ll change is when innocent people get hurt.
Consider the not-so-hidden dangers of these policies before more and more of them get cemented into place.
Even if there aren’t hundreds of abusers rushing into locker rooms by the dozens, the question I keep asking myself is, “What if just one little girl gets hurt by this? Would that be enough to make people reconsider it?”
“And what if that little girl was me?” It’s a question I really don’t want to ask. But God’s grace has enabled me to value the face in the photo enough to realize that I have to. And even if I don’t like the answer, at least I wasn’t silent.
Kaeley Triller Haver studied English at Northwest University and puts her education to use as the communications director of a local nonprofit organization. Of all the titles she’s ever held, Kaeley considers “mom” the most significant.

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