Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cuss Words

Fair warning - this post will contain some adult language not normally found on this blog.

I've been waiting for this day. And I'm honestly surprised that we made it to 4th grade without much incident. I've always been of the assumption that once you reach the upper levels of elementary, you've started being exposed to bigger topics and broader world visions than what you get at home. 

I know I first started hearing cuss words on the bus.  I would have been pretty young - I'm thinking maybe 2nd grade or so.  I also remember getting mad at my mom and writing some cuss words on my wall with a pencil. She cleaned it up and then we sat down and had a conversation about cuss words. What I really remember was her explanation as to why she sometimes liked to use the word "shit."  It starts out soft with the shhhhh sound and then ends with a hard and angry sound - T.  

My mom wasn't much of a cusser.

When Jeff and I met, he had quite a vocabulary. When I got pregnant, he knew he had to change his ways. So he started subbing the word "smurf" for the cuss words.  Which sometimes led to some very funny sentences. But it did change the habit.

We aren't a house that cusses. And we are mindful of language around the kids. When I do cuss, it's at work or out with a friend and not generally just randomly sprinkled in my conversation but more to provide emphasis or emotion.

So my kids haven't really been exposed to a lot of cuss words.  And when they have been in a room where someone says Shit or Damn... we just haven't really reacted. We don't give power to the word.

Recently, I was home with the kids and Jeff was out. Teagan tells me that she had an interesting experience at the before care program that morning.  A kid was running around telling people to say "gay bitches." Teagan then says "And I fell for it until my friend told me it was bad and so I stopped Zach - thankfully, he didn't say it!"

I love that kids think that saying a cuss word is an action that might cause you to implode or something. Like the act of saying the word is the bad part - not the meaning of the word. I like that because, at least for my kids, they haven't learned the power of those bad words yet. The words themselves don't hold meaning... so it's akin to a bad thing like stealing or hitting someone. Saying the words is a bad action to them.

Teagan goes on to tell me that she didn't know what those words meant. So I took a deep breath and knew it was time to address the topic.

We know what the word gay means and in our family, it isn't a bad word. But sometimes people use it like it's a bad thing to be gay. 

Bitch is a derogatory term used towards women. Then I have to explain what "derogatory" means.

Then I ask if they've heard any other words that they know are bad words but they don't understand them...

Teagan says she's heard kids talk about "the s word" but she doesn't know what that word is...

*deep breath*

So I explain that the word is "shit."

Zach wants to know what the words means.

Well, it's another word for poop but it's mostly a term people use when they are angry or frustrated. 

Zach looks at me, very seriously, and says...

"So if I say "You look like shit," I'm going to get in trouble?"

Yep. You will get in trouble, buddy. 

We then go on to the word "ass." Which I explain means butt or donkey. But again, it's a word people use when they are angry and they aren't really using it with that meaning to it.

Teagan then tells me...

"I hear Daddy use ass in the car when he's driving. A lot."

I thought we were done at this point. I thought we'd made it through. I didn't want to get to the "f bomb" because I didn't want to try and explain the definition of the word. 

But it seems to be over.


"Mom, what does "frickin" mean?"

I just explain that it's a substitute word for a really bad word and that people use it when they are angry or frustrated (notice that pattern of anger and frustration).

And days later, I realize that I've caught myself using "frickin" far more often in my home than I had been aware of... 

Lesson learned. Little pitchers have big ears. They hear everything and absorb everything... even the things we aren't aware of. 

Teagan starts 5th grade next year and I know we will be facing a lot more of these kinds of topics. I'm relieved that it took this long to really be exposed to "bad words." I'm glad my kids held on to some of this innocence for as long as they did. I'm glad we've built our home in a community and in a church where my kids have been able and will continue to be able to be children and not forced to grow up too soon, too quickly. 

For some, cuss words are no big deal. For me, cuss words are a step into a more adult world. And I'm fine with holding that off for as long as possible.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Baby Jesus Class Project

I've never participated in this sort of school project but most any TV show involving a school certainly has - being tasked with caring for a "baby."  Usually part of a health class and always a source of humor as the robotic baby won't stop crying or the potato baby loses an appendage.

The purpose of the assignment is generally to teach a young teen that a baby is a serious responsibility and that you can't just treat it like a toy.  You can't just take for granted that you can turn it off or leave it in a drawer or whatever.

Kind of like Jesus.

Bear with me here.

It's that time of year that we start hearing all kinds of shouts of "Keep Christ in Christmas!"

I'm not necessarily one of those type of folks.  For me, Christmas is a religious holiday and it is the celebration of the birth of Christ.  No, I don't believe that Jesus was literally born on December 25.  Yes, I do believe that Christmas has roots that go further back than the noted life of Christ himself.

I also believe that there isn't anything anyone can do that will take Christ *out* of my Christmas.  If that's how I choose to celebrate, that is how I will celebrate.  I don't give any government or group or person or store or advertisement enough power to take Jesus away from me or from my holiday.

I saw this on Facebook today:

And I think it's an important message.  We can yell and scream about "our" holiday being commercialized... or we can live like Christ, set the example, seek to be more like the man we study and our example will scream louder than our angry sentiments about a holiday.

Want to really keep Christ in Christmas?  Want to really and truly understand the arrival of a King, a Saviour, a Warrior in the form of a simple and innocent and vulnerable baby?

Wear Jesus this Christmas.

Get a baby doll. Get a sling or a baby carrier.  Name that doll Jesus.  Carry it with you everywhere you go.  Talk to the baby Jesus in your arms.  Keep your doll close to you to protect him and love him and care for him.  Be aware of this tiny life in your arms when you yell at your kids or your spouse, when you raise your hand to spank the dog.  Look at his tiny face when you gossip to your friend over coffee, when you talk behind someone's back.  Hold his small hand when you curse someone in traffic... when you turn a blind eye to the homeless man on the corner.

Do you live your life every day as if you were carrying Jesus in your arms?  Do you live your life each day as though Christ is guiding your heart?  Or do you set the doll aside... flip the switch to off for a break... tuck the doll in a drawer so you don't look uncool around your friends?

Wear Jesus this Christmas.  Hold him in your arms.  Wear him in a sling.  Keep him loved and warm and protected.

Be aware of Jesus in your arms when you hug a child or console someone who is hurting.  Look at his sweet face before you speak any words about another person.  Hold his hand when you pray for others, when you ask for forgiveness.

The best way to "keep Christ in Christmas?"

Keep Christ in YOU.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Christmas List

I think I'm hard to buy for... I don't find that I often want for much of anything.  So I've started making a list.  Things I want that would be great gifts or great goals for me to buy for myself.

Vera Bradley Work Tote

I've been searching for the "perfect" tote.  I carry my laptop to and from work daily. I have a tote I use that I like but it doesn't have all the functionality I'd like it to have.  I came upon this tote - which is more expensive than I'm generally willing to pay for such things - and it seems to have everything I'm wanting.

Sriracha 2 Go

Because Sriracha. All the time, any time. Sriracha.

Remote Starter

I'd love to have my car running but secure. A friend at work has one and can start her car out in the parking lot while sitting at her 3rd floor desk.  There are even systems that operate through an app on your phone!

The Voice Bible

I fell in love with this translation sometime in the last couple of years. I researched it before digging in and it has become my go-to translation when I'm looking at Scripture.  I have it via the Bible Gateway app on my phone but would love a print copy, too.

Fun Socks

I like fun socks. I see no reason for socks to ever be boring.  Bright colors, silly socks, mismatched socks, crazy patterns... I like all kinds of fun socks!

Personal Humidifier

What are you putting on your list this holiday season?

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Early Christmas Magic #ISMCCX

I love Christmas magic. I normally am very staunch about No Christmas Until After Thanksgiving. However, we had an opportunity to preview the Celebration Crossing exhibits at the Indiana State Museum last night with a group of bloggers - and we got to see Santa.

The timing was very interesting. Just that morning, both kids decided to confront us on the existence of Santa Claus.  Teagan has known for a couple of years. Well, she's been questioning for a couple of years as she has heard that he isn't real from schoolmates.  Our response has always been to neither confirm nor deny - but to instead focus on Santa as a way of celebrating Saint Nicholas and Christmas magic.

But with Zach adding his thoughts in... it started to feel like our Santa days were coming to an end.

We didn't continue the subject but hurried off to school and work.  At the end of the day, as we drove downtown to the museum, the kids were discussing what they wanted to ask Santa to bring them.  Teagan wants a new CD player for her room (very practical since hers keep breaking) and Zach finally decided on a new Wii but what he really wants is a computer.

We arrive at the museum and are enjoying all the lovely decorations and the spaces that are set up through out the museum to celebrate the season.  It all has a lovely old time-y feel to it.  Very retro. Taking you back to the days when L.S. Ayres was the place to celebrate the holidays with the Christmas windows and Santa's arrival and fancy lunch in the Team Room.  All of that has been recreated and brings a great sense of nostalgia and history to Christmas in Indiana.

The original Santa Claus Express from L.S. Ayres. Many have memories of riding this little train as kids!

Santa's mural in the "playground" area - a space where the kids can play and do activities and parents can SIT!

92 County Tree. Representing all of Indiana's counties with an arnament made by an Indiana Artisan.

The updated but fully recreated Santa Claus Express - slightly larger and delightful all the same!
But the real magic came when we went to visit Santa.

Teagan announced to us that she was going to ask Santa for something different than what she had told us.  She was going to ask him for something secret and then she'd know once and for all if Santa was real.

You may recall her "test" last year - asking Santa for something that she knew Mom or Dad would never ever buy.  A bucket full of candy.  And she got it.  A bucket. With some candy and lots of Candies brand stuff (lip gloss, bath gel, lotion, etc.).  Santa is certainly clever!

Jeff and I are going along with it and quietly discussing how we are going to pull this off.  That's when I noticed the Indiana State Museum employees who had been our tour guides... so I stepped over and asked if I couldn't get a little "elf help."

Turns out, Mrs. Claus was standing there. So I discreetly pointed out my daughter and explained her idea of testing us with this "secret" gift she would ask Santa for... and Mrs. Claus promised to help us.

We step up to see the jolly gift bringer and Teagan instantly goes into star crossed mode. We go in with her but promise not to listen.  She then tells Santa what she wants but she says it all out loud - a new CD player and new sneakers.

Then came the magic... Santa said, "Are you sure there isn't anything else you wanted to ask me to bring you?" Teagan, wide eyed, shook her head no.  "Really? Because one of my elves heard you saying that you were going to ask Santa for something secret... there's nothing you want to whisper in my ear?"  Eyes bigger... huge grin... pink cheeks... head shaking no...

Christmas magic... parent orchestrated... with the help of some special elves... but I think we just bought another year of believing.  Another year of full on childhood belief in magic.

You can find your own bit of Christmas nostalgia and magic when you visit Celebration Crossing! We plan to come for a full visit soon - we want to spend time in all the other exhibits, too.  And we plan to visit Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg and swing by the Indiana Historical Society and a visit to the Zoo - it's going to take an entire weekend to fit in all that downtown Indianapolis has to offer!

Celebration Crossing opens Friday, Nov. 28.  The Indianapolis Children's Choir will perform at 11 and then all are invited to gather in front of the museum to see Santa's grand arrival by helicopter!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Shot a Gun

I'm not a gun person. I didn't grow up around guns. I didn't grow up around people who went hunting. Guns are not part of my family culture. I've shot a shot gun at a can once out in the country. I've gone to a trap shooting event.  That's it.

I had an opportunity to go to a shooting range and learn to fire a handgun.  Other co-workers had gone previously and enjoyed the experience. Our industry deals a lot in connection to gun using industries (we make safety products like hearing protection and eye protection) so I work with a lot of folks who shoot or who hunt.  I go to church with people who shoot or hunt. I have Facebook friends who shoot and hunt.

I was eager to try it.  Honestly, I thought I'd feel... powerful. Kick ass. Big and bold.

I sat through the safety video on how to handle the gun. We put on our safety gear and headed out to the range. We were shown how to load bullets.  My partner went first.  She shot her 5 bullets and then it was my turn.

I was already jumping out of my skin every time a gun went off. The sound was jarring and violent. Even with earmuffs on.

I stepped up and loaded the 5 bullets.  I loaded the clip into the gun (forgive any terminology here - remember, I am so not a gun person).  I raised it and aimed at the target, using the sites to make a line the way they showed me.

I squeezed the trigger.

And I hated it.

I got through my 5 bullets and was done. I didn't want the gun back in my hand. Bottom line was that the purpose of a gun is to hurt someone. To end someone's life. And that isn't something I have in me.

I shared that feeling with others and the response was... "yeah, but if someone was hurting my kids, I'd be able to shoot that person!"

I don't know that I could. Just being honest. What if I miss and shoot my kid. And what are the chances of walking into a room and suddenly finding someone hurting my child and I just happen to have a gun on me or sitting on a shelf within reach?  Or do I tell my kid to hold on while I go retrieve my gun and then my ammo so I can come and save the day?

Bottom line is that I'm still not a gun person. I'm glad that there are people who can handle guns. But I also wish that everyone felt such a strong sense of non-violence and such a desire for peace and love that they also weren't gun people.  That they weren't violent people.

There is so much violence in the world right now.  And so much violence in our country right now.

What's happening in Ferguson is just highlighting a piece of the big picture.

The picture is that this is a broken world. A world where too many desire to control, to be in power, to keep others down. A world where "I'm right and you're wrong" is more common than "help me understand your experience." A world where what's mine is MINE and what's yours should be managed by me because I know best.

A young officer shot his gun for the first time ever while on duty. He killed a younger young man. My heart breaks for that officer.

A young man lives in a town and in a country where the color of his skin has defined him since before he was born. Through a series of... unknown events... he ends up dead. My heart breaks for him, for his last moments, for his family and friends.

Anger erupts.

Lives are ruined.

Justice is desired.

But is there ever really justice in these circumstances?

The under the surface anger erupts again. Because peace was never really found. The anger of hundreds of years has continued to build and build and explodes from time to time.

I read a quote from a man who runs a ministry that serves the homeless population of a large American city... "I just want to end the suffering I see around me."

Maybe that's why I don't like shooting a gun.  I don't want to contribute to suffering. I want to contribute to peace and love and joy. I want to contribute to compassion and caring. I don't want people to look at me and think that I could hurt them or kill them.  I want someone to look at me and see eyes looking back that are filled with love, arms eager to surround them with compassion, a smile filled with joy. A gun doesn't fit into that picture of who I strive to be - who I believe I am called to be in Christ.

I guess it's like the story of the starfish on the beach and the kid tossing them back into the ocean and the old man saying there is no way to save them all so why bother and the kid pointing out that he's made a difference to that one that he threw back.

I know I can't change the world. But maybe I can touch 1 life with joy, with peace, with compassion.  Maybe just 1 person will know that someone in the world values them and loves them, even without knowing them.

Some positive impact is better than no positive impact, right?

I have to believe that.

I simply have to believe that.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Giveaway!! Indy Int'l Festival


We go to the International Festival every year - it is one of my very favorite events. The food, the exposure to people of my city whose heritage is from another country, the music, the dancing, the arts... I love it all!

This year, I've got a great opportunity for YOU to attend with your family!!  I've got a family 4 pack of tickets that you could win! Check out the Rafflecopter and enter as many ways as you can!


  • If you can go on Friday afternoon, approximately 200 people will become U.S. citizens in a moving Naturalization Ceremony.
  • Italian street painting - try your hand at this beautiful type of art.
  • Kids can play on the giant world floor map.
  • Each booth will display traditional clothing from that heritage.

If you choose to just go and enjoy this event without winning the tickets (and believe me, it is worth it), adult tickets are $10, kids are $6 and kids 5 and under are free.  Bring cash so you can try a wide variety of food from around the world! There is also a beer/wine garden for the adults.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TKD Update: The Tournament

Teagan competed in 2 events - form and board breaking. Next year, she can add sparring to the list.

She took 1st in her group in both events.  All kids get medals. Each group of 3 is awarded 3rd, 2nd, and 1st. But I saw instances where the rank of 1st was given as it was deserved - not just based on who you competed against.  A strong, solid performance meant first place.

Of course, for Teagan, 2nd or 3rd would have felt like a failure so I'm very relieved that her first tournament experience was very positive.

At attention, prepared for her first event - Form.

Horse riding stance. 

Waiting for her turn to do her form.

Receiving her first place medal.
At attention, ready to break a board with a jump kick.

Blurry but you get the idea!

Waiting for results...

1st place!


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