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Posts from the ‘Challenges’ Category

September 11 – There is Beauty


Ever since 2001, 9-11 has brought sadness to the hearts of many.

On that iconic day, so many lives were lost.  So many dreams were shattered.  So many families grieved.

And we grieved with them.

I’ll never forget where I was when the first and then the second plane hit.

I saw the pictures of the devastation of the first plane just as I was about to leave the house that morning.

I saw the second plane hit just after I got to the babysitters.  I had told her to turn on her TV and we watched it together.

The feeling of sadness is still overwhelming when I watch the shows depicting what happened that day.

The feeling of heaviness and fear.  The knowledge that there is true evil in this world.  The feeling of insufficiency, wishing there was some way to reach out to the families.

Then I take a step back…

A step back from my sadness to remember.

To remember and revel in the love that was spread that day.

The show of caring, of bravery, of humanity.

Not only from the rescuers, the fire fighters, the police, and the EMTs.  These people were incredible and I hold them in the highest regard.

But the everyday person.  The people who opened their arms, their hearts and their stores and restaurants, to help everyone.  The people who made food for the rescuers, the people who joined the rescuers, the men and women who fought back, the friends and relatives that surrounded the families in their time of need and fear.

This is the beauty of that day.

The day that beautiful buildings which held beautiful people were destroyed.

The day that changed so many lives.

The day that changed our world.

Forever.

While we must never forget, we must not linger in that sadness and pain.

We must look for the good…

There is beauty.

For you it might be a ray of sunshine.

Or maybe a call from a friend.

For you it might be the smile of a young child.

Or maybe spending some time with a relative.

For me, it’s remembering that on this day in 1999, I attended a barbeque where I was introduced to my husband.

It was a blind date.

For me, it’s realizing how blessed I am.

And for me, it’s looking at the beauty that comes from nature, from age.  From hardship, from joy, and even from tragedy.

The picture you see is the bottom of a metal cabinet that I pulled from a dumpster.

The cabinet had obviously sat in water or was left in a damp environment.  The rust was taking over the original shine.  It had been neglected.  There was a little rust visible on the outside, but I didn’t see this until I turned it over.

There, is the beauty.  A beauty that came from age and neglect.

Find the beauty.

In the tragedy, after the tragedy, in everyday life.

There is beauty.

Patty O

 

 

On Love and Semi-Automatic Weapons


Today I’ve decided to join the gun conversation.

I just watched Samantha Bee’s conversation on the issue of semi-automatic weapons and the Orlando shooting.  You can find it here, it’s called:  Samantha Bee says Fuck It to the NRA

I agree completely with her that people who are on the terrorist watch list shouldn’t be allowed to purchase guns.

I know this post will not be popular with some of my friends and maybe even family.

But here goes…

I’ve never understood why people ‘have to have’ or are allowed to buy semi-automatic weapons.

I grew up in a hunting family.

Yes, I took gun training.  Dad wanted us all to know how to shoot a gun.  Even if we weren’t interested in hunting.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against hunting.  I fully respected my family that did/do – that’s what we ate.  We grew up on Venison.  It was a treat when we could get hamburger from the grocery store!

But my Dad, Mom, sister or brothers didn’t need a semi-automatic weapon to hunt deer, geese, or ducks. And yes, my Dad bought my Mom a little handgun for when she walked along the highway (which is where we lived)…because a car full of men had harassed a friend of hers that was walking along another highway not far away.

I believe in our right to own guns…just not semi-automatic ones.

Yes, I understand that criminals don’t follow by the rules, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ban them anyway – and then the powers that be can start finding/cracking down on illegal gun sales as they do with drug busts.

The system isn’t perfect, but dear God, is your right to own a semi-automatic weapon more important than people’s lives?

No, you’re not going to do something this horrific…and some say they will use it to defend themselves.

The question then is…do you sleep with it by your bedside? Is it loaded and ready to use? Do you have it with you at all times? Because if you don’t, it’s not going to do you any good. Is a world of people carrying around their semi-automatic weapons the world you want to live in? A world you want your children and grandchildren to live in? What happens when someone with anger issues has a bad day and someone pushes their last button?

Let’s be honest with ourselves…you want to own that semi-automatic weapon because it’s a bad-ass weapon.

Well, shit.  I feel like I live in a circus, but I can’t own an elephant.

How cool would that be?  Well, until it’s time for cleanup…then it’s really not so cool.

I’d ride that thing around town and feel pretty BA myself.

Or hey, if I could have a really tame Lion…and maybe if it had gingivitis or some other gum disease and had all it’s teeth removed…I could walk all over town and even if you knew it didn’t have teeth…you wouldn’t F with me either, would you?

But alas, reality is, there are things I cannot have…

Because it wouldn’t make sense…and it’s not practical.

That is how I feel about semi-automatic weapons.

I have no issue with someone carrying around their handgun in their purse/on their person. But if you haven’t had enough training or don’t feel confident enough that you will make the shot…and so you want your semi-automatic, then you shouldn’t have a gun.

Learn how to use it, be confident, be responsible, and make sure you have an even temperament. If you go into a panic or just get pissed off…as horrible as this sounds, that will be one life you affect. Not 49 plus 53.

Yes, that one life counts too.  That’s where the even temperament and responsibility come into the picture.

Now my next question is why are we losing so many innocent people over hatred.

Where is our tolerance?

Everyone keeps saying we need to love each other.

As much as I wish that were true, the word bullshit comes to mind.

Telling everyone that they NEED to love each other is unrealistic.

The reality is we need to be tolerant of each other.

We don’t have to always love our neighbor or love how they live their lives, but you know what?

It’s their lives…not ours.

While I have NO issue with others sexuality, religion, political beliefs and gender, I will NOT push my beliefs on you or anyone else.

(No I don’t support ISIL…but I do respect the Muslim religion…it is NOT based on hatred.  There are people in EVERY religion that take things too far/change the rules to suit their own desires. In my mind the ISIL organization is a cult.)

Will I encourage you?

Yes.

But your beliefs are your beliefs…I may not always understand them, but that’s not my job.

My job is to live a good life to the best of my ability.

I’m not perfect, neither are you.

This is my opinion.

Maybe it gives you some food for thought, maybe it doesn’t.

Enough said.

Patty O

Reminders of Love, Faith and Gratefulness


I happened upon a Facebook post of one of my friends just now.

I want to thank Sue for sharing it with her family and friends.

As you’ll read in the link below, she and her husband took our town with them on a journey of love, heartbreak, and faith.

Their son Sasha was the gift that God gave us all so that we could see that beauty can shine through even during sadness.

This post was written just over 2 years ago.

It’s definitely my favorite post on faith, and probably the most heartfelt posts that I’ve ever written.

Without further ado, click on the link below…

Witnessing a Story of Faith, Love and Support

God bless…and thank you…all 535 of you who read my ramblings.

You are appreciated and loved.

Patty O

Featured Image credit goes to The Nectar Collective Read more

Pumpkin Carving: You Are a Work in Progress


Last week, Tim and I were in charge of Gabi’s Confirmation Class Pumpkin Carving and Potluck party.  It was a great time with not only the confirmands but also their parents.

Many of you know me and know that we couldn’t just do a potluck dinner and pumpkin carving…nooooooo.  We had to have more fun than that!

I gathered up a bunch of my Fall and Halloween decorations to add some ambiance to the Fellowship Hall and Library (where we ate).  Our local grocer gave me some dry ice which I put in a bucket with some bottled waters (which I put by a tall witch), and I put some dry ice in buckets by the doors of the church too.

We enjoyed a nice potluck dinner (even though my sloppy joe meat didn’t heat up enough…I’d made it the day before and had hoped to just heat it in a crock pot.  Yeah…note to self…you need more than an hour on high to do that.  Sigh.)

After dinner we went down to the Fellowship Hall to get started on the pumpkins.  The kids also had a choice of a ‘Make Your Own Caramel Apple Bar’ or Bobbing for Apples.  Needless to say, there were some very wet heads and filled tummies.  I’m sure the dentist loves us too. 🙂

Before we started all those festivities though, I did give a little talk, of sorts.  I didn’t want the evening to go by without acknowledging the reason we gather at the church.

I hesitated until now to share it with you.  But something kept after me to share it…call it my ‘inner voice’ or my ‘Jiminy Cricket’. 🙂 (You’ll see the tongue-in-cheek reference below.)

Here’s the talk I had with the kids and their parents:

Let’s talk about these pumpkins for a minute.

Your pumpkin started out as a seed.

Someone, maybe you, nurtured it until the plant grew into beautiful flowers…then those flowers became a pumpkin that grew larger and larger until it was harvest time.  It was taken off the vine, brought to the store where you purchased it.  Then you brought it here tonight, where it will go through its final transformation into a fantastic jack-o-lantern.

Now your once seed, then flower, then pumpkin, now jack-o-lantern will bring joy to not only you, but your neighbors and the trick-or-treaters that will come to visit your house on Halloween.

That was God’s plan for that very pumpkin.

Now relate that story to yourself.

Even before you were born, God had a plan for you.

You were a beautiful baby – a miracle of God.  Then you became a toddler and when you fell, you were picked up.  Then you grew into a teenager…and now when you fall you pick yourself back up.  Your parents, grandparents, and others like Pastor Katie have nurtured you into the person you are today.  They all still guide you, but as you grow older you start to make your own choices.  Now we, as parents, encourage you to make good choices, but we’re not always with you.  So what happens when you’re not sure what to do?

How about listening to your inner voice.  That little voice that tells you what’s right and what’s wrong.

We call it many things…”your conscience, your parents’ voices, your Jiminy Cricket, or Jesus guiding you”.  I believe it’s the last one.

That inner voice will wiggle its way into your conscience and say ‘don’t do it – it’s wrong!’ Or ‘Go for it – talk to that person who’s all alone – they look like they need a friend!’

It will lead you to making good decisions.  If your peers are going to do something you’re not sure you should do, your inner voice might say ‘not a very good idea’…then stand strong and don’t join in!  Or…step outside the circle of friends and be a friend to someone who needs one.

You see, this is where you are different from the pumpkin.

God gave you free will.

You get to make choices.

And, as the pumpkin will become a fantastic jack-o-lantern, you are becoming a wonderful adult through your choices and with Jesus walking beside you along your path.

And He will continue to throughout the rest of your…our (motioning to the parents and myself) lives.

As the Pumpkin fulfilled it’s purpose…we will continue to grow and fulfill ours.

You…we …are a work in progress.

Each confirmand left with a small glass jar which held candy corn, candy pumpkins and a tag that said “You are a work in progress”.

———————————————————–

I hope the message helps you realize that you, too, are a work in progress.

If we make mistakes…

or if we conquer the world…

we’re still a work in progress.

Some days bring challenges.

Some days bring joys.

Some days bring sorrow.

Each night, remember that God isn’t finished with you yet…

We can start anew each day.

We…

are…

a work in progress.

Patty O

One More Time…


One of my friends posted this inspirational saying on Facebook the other day and I thought ‘What a great post for a Monday morning!’.

There have been more than a few friends having a hard time lately.

This post is for you and for the ones who aren’t talking about it:

Some days are better than others.

Some days you feel inspired.

Some days you want to crawl under the covers and stay there.

Today…brush yourself off, pick yourself up and start all over again!

(What song is that from?)

Have a GREAT Monday everyone!

Be kind, be thankful and SMILE at others!

Patty O

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