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Ingenuity

August 24, 2010

We humans sure are a clever sort of species. I applaud the group who devised this rolling bed of lake side fun!

My son and I were spending the day with my dad on his pontoon boat Sunday. Dad enjoys just cruising around to the various parts of the lake and sightseeing. We were about half way through our day when we happened upon this clever design. From a distance, we could only see the slide. But as we inched closer and closer to the bank, our eyes and laughter revealed a hidden treasure of ingenuity. Someone or some group had taken an old flat-bed trailer and attached a water slide to the back-end of it. Then, I assume with a motorized truck, backed it down into the lake just far enough so that the slide would be located over a body of water deep enough to slide into. It had obviously been a week or two since anyone had enjoyed this fun contraption because the flat-bed was in need of being moved further out into the lake. Near the end of August, the water levels in this lake begin decreasing, one of the signs I’ve grown to associate with the end of summer.

I grew up spending my summers on the lake with my family. Those memories are some of the most special ones I carry in my heart. Fun times in the water and by the water are forever etched in my mind. Discovering the flat-bed / slide contraption last Sunday reminded me of the time that my brother was also inspired  by the lake. He was only 9 or 10 years old and determined to have a boat. Since my family did not own one at the time, he and his best friend built their own pontoon boat out of Styrofoam and wood. They used a trolling motor for an engine. It was a good design, considering it was built by 9 year olds. The maiden voyage was a family event. We all gathered around the lake bank as the two young boys proudly launched this self-engineered boat. It was a success. And I’m certain my brother was never so proud of himself. It was not long after this that my dad bought our family a boat. Such wonderful memories roused by ingenuity.

Re-Mothering, A Growing Trend

August 23, 2010

There is a trend in my community and for that matter, all over the world, that I will refer to as “re-mothering.” This refers to grandmothers raising their children’s children. Thus, they are re-mothering. Why are they doing this? Out of necessity! Their children are drug addicts and not capable of caring for the babies they bring into this world. I personally know five different families in this situation. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for my little town, there are a lot more that I personally do not know. Then there are also those cases where the grandparents can’t take care of these precious and innocent babies and they end up in foster care. All because of drugs.

The most recent addition to this trend in my community is a 2 week old baby boy. Born to drug addicted parents. The mother used Oxycontin and who knows what else during the pregnancy. The baby had trembles after birth due to withdrawals. It has now been discovered that the baby has a hole in his heart, probably due from his mother’s drug use during pregnancy. My heart breaks and aches for this innocent little child. But my heartache does not solve the problem. As a community, we need to reach out to these drug addicts. We need to offer them another way of life.

If we fail to treat addiction in this generation of parents, the problem will only grow and manifest in the next generation. But how? Do we lock them in cells for a month or two without any type of drug addiction treatment? I don’t think that’s the answer. Our government is failing this segment of the population. There is a frightening future ahead if a solution is not put into action soon. And even more discerning is the impact of the children being raised by grandparents while their own parents continue to use drugs. A great article regarding this ever-growing trend can be found here. It makes some great points about the impact of both the child and the grandparents. There are legal considerations and identity issues involved that can lead to a lot of confusion for the child.

I have found there is a wealth of information available online for those grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. Once such place of wisdom is , http://www.raisingyourgrandchildren.com/. If you know someone who is in the situation, please pass this website along to them. If you are the one doing the “re-mothering”, then I would also like to stand and applaud your generosity and commitment to the care and welfare of these innocent children. They deserve parents but are lucky to have grandparents.

What’s in Your Mirror

August 20, 2010

Image

Take a good long look in the mirror. What do you see? Now look again. Look past the physical features. Look past those wrinkles. Look past that mole. Look into your soul and your character. Who is that person staring back at you? What traits, characteristics, personality types do you see? What good qualities are winking back at you? What bad qualities are lurking in the shadows? What do you think of the person in that mirror?

Now, assuming you have children, turn around and go look at your children. I know, you think you have the cutest son or the prettiest daughter in the universe. But look past those physical beauties and take a good long look at who they are becoming. What good qualities are winking back at you? What bad qualities are lurking in the shadows? That’s right! There you are. If you are looking at your children, then you are looking at a reflection of yourself. Scary, uh?

Our children are in fact reflections of who we are. In an article here, this is referred to as incidental learning. They get a lot more from us than just our looks. They watch and observe us constantly. Then they mimic and imitate us. They want to be like us. I don’t know why but they want to be just like their mommy or their daddy. Everything we are doing in front of our children is game for repetition by our children. That’s gotta make you stop dead in your tracks and take a deep breath.

Last night I took my toddler son to church. After fellowship, we continued standing while the last verse of Amazing Grace was being sung. Everyone raised one hand in praise of God during this last verse, including myself. Observing all of us for a moment, my toddler son also raised one hand. I could barely contain my laughter and I’m fairly certain everyone else was holding a chuckle or two back. Watching my son mimic such a beautiful expression of worship made me one proud parent but it also reinforced the impact his environment has on him.

My son will grow up imitating the world around him. He will learn by observing and watching his family, friends and any other person his path crosses. In fact, an article found here, suggests 95% of his learning will come from this type of modeling. But since the majority of his time is spent with me, his mommy, I will have the biggest impact. Therefore, I’m going to keep a close eye on that image in my mirror. I’m going to make sure she is on her best behavior. Shouldn’t you?

Meet Milo, the virtual boy: Peter Molyneux on TED.com (via TED Blog)

August 18, 2010

How exciting is this?! I want to have Milo in my home right now! Seriously, there are so many possibilities with this technology in the future. I can even envision having a virtual person which you encourage or discourage to make choices concerning drug use. This could be utilized in educating our youth about the consequences of drug use and the eventual leap to addiction. I’m impressed!

Peter Molyneux demos Milo, a hotly anticipated video game for Microsoft’s Kinect controller. Perceptive and impressionable like a real 11-year-old, the virtual boy watches, listens and learns — recognizing and responding to you. (Recorded at TEDGlobal 2010, July 2010 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 11:16) Watch Peter Molyneux’s demo on TED.com where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our … Read More

via TED Blog

The Door

August 18, 2010

I lost my job 37 days ago. I was devastated and depressed as most job seekers who are attempting to live off of unemployment benefits are. I received lots of supportive and encouraging advice from family and friends. One of the most frequent phrases I heard was, “when one door closes, another one opens.” Although this is certainly an optimistic point of view, in my mind I was thinking, “where the hell is the door?!”

Well, I have found the door! Over the past three weeks, I have interviewed with the same company on four separate occasions and with four different people. After the third interview, I got the feeling they might be interested in me. Yet, I began wondering how many interviews it was actually going to take to land this job. My fourth and final interview went great and I was expecting to get a call back within a few days notifying me of an offer for the position. But no call came. I sent an email reiterating my appreciation for their time and expressing my interest and excitement about the position. I received a positive response explaining that they were working with their HR department and would be in touch with me soon. In my mind I had been hired.

Fast forward two days. I receive an email from their HR department. I open it and begin reading, “Dear ____, we appreciate you applying for the position of _____. Unfortunately at this time we have chosen to pursue other candidates…” (blah, blah, blah)! WHAT? NO! I was completely caught off guard and totally shocked. My mind was attempting to process the fact that I had NOT been offered the position. Reality began to set in. Tears were forming in my disappointed eyes. Why? What happened? Collecting myself, I began composing an email to my contact at the company. I thanked her for interviewing me and asked that she keep me in mind if any other positions were to become open. I sadly clicked send and began the process of accepting my sad fate. 10 minutes later, I receive a response back from her apologizing for the email sent to me by HR. It was a mistake! She continued to explain that they were still working the offer up and should have something to me very soon. Shew! Thank God! I see “the door” opening again. That same “door” that just minutes prior had been slammed shut in my face was now beckoning me to enter. That same “door” that minutes prior I had lost the key to, was now ready to be unlocked! And I’m ready to unlock it. I’m ready to walk proudly through it and enter the wonderful world of “my career”.

My family and friends were right! One door closed and another one opened! And off to work I go!

It’s Possible!

August 17, 2010

I’ve been reading a blog about a woman who has now been clean from addiction for 17 years. Her name is Melinda and you can find her blog here. Her story is incredible and inspiring! It proves that even after reaching the pits of hell via addiction, it is possible to recover and go on to have a very successful life. Did you hear me? IT. IS. POSSIBLE.!

If you or someone you know is an addict, please read them Melinda’s story. I admire the work she is doing and know that she will touch a lot of people! I love success stories! I am a success story. You can be one too!

Do you Need a Straw? … “NO!”

August 15, 2010

“A short tube intended for transferring a beverage from its container to the mouth of the drinker, by application of a sucking force.” I’m referring to a drinking straw as defined by wikipedia. This simple and popular device that is common in most households and freely distributed in restaurants everywhere is one of my triggers. While in active addiction, I redefined the definition of a drinking straw. It’s basic use remained the same, however, the substance for which it was transferring was not a beverage. It was a crushed Oxycontin pill. And although the application was still a sucking force, this was done via my nostrils and not my mouth.

Yes, I was once a collector of straws. I didn’t pay for them. Why pay for them when I could grab handfuls of straws at any fast food restaurant I visited? I was even thrifty with their use since I would never use a full length straw. Instead I would cut the straw in half and only use one half at a time. Therefore, at any given time, my purse contained at least 3 unopened straws and one half of a straw. I was always prepared.

These days, I don’t particularly like to use a straw to drink out of. Although the sight of one does not cause me to want to use again, it does remind me of how I once utilized these tubular plastic pieces. It would be nice to sit down at a restaurant just once and enjoy a pleasant dinner without the thought of my addictive past. Instead, the server insists on asking me if I need a straw. I politely respond, “no, thank you.” But inside, I’m screaming, “GET THAT DAM* THING OUT OF MY FACE! AND, NO, I DON”T NEED A STRAW!”