Be Thankful and Be Kind

thankful
thankful

On Thanksgiving, we’re all supposed to be nothing short of grateful and appreciative.  And I am, but that’s not all that I am.  I am also a little sad.  There are lots of people in this world today that feel like they have no real reason to be grateful or have mixed emotions this holiday season.  We live in a time of transition, confusion, and anxiety.  People, depending on their circumstances, feel anything from happiness and joy to heightened stress levels to despair or hopelessness.  This is all okay!  Just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you are suddenly in different circumstances or that you can change your life for the day.  It’s OKAY to not fit the expectation of the day, but you do have to be the best person that you can be and to treat each other with kindness. Continue reading “Be Thankful and Be Kind”

Protesting – One of Many Tools

protest
protest

Interestingly enough, there are protests being held both in the United States and in South Korea regarding the behavior of the president (or president-elect).

In South Korea, there are more than 500,000 people peacefully protesting in Seoul to demand the president’s resignation.  Their president has apologized twice for the scandal involving a long-time friend that was getting advance policy information with which to advise the president on a number of state affairs.  The friend had no experience or official position and has been accused of an abuse of power and fraud.  It is believed by some that the president is simply a mouthpiece of several others making decisions behind the scenes.  According to a demonstrator: “It’s an explosion of their feelings,” demonstrator Jinwon Kim says of the crowds. “People are very angry.”

Back here in the United States, we are also experiencing protests in various cities throughout the country about our recent presidential election.  Thousands of people are marching in the streets carrying the message of “Not My President”.  These protests appear to be unprecedented in American history.  The protesters are acting on their displeasure with the president-elect’s behavior, words, and decisions.   This election has been singular in the negative, angry, threatening and divisive remarks being made throughout the campaign.  I think most of our country has agreed on that.  The fact that our new president-elect has made so many Americans feel unwelcome, angry, frightened, and unsafe is turning into a big problem for him and the people are letting him know how they feel.  This is key-we have to acknowledge people’s feelings, whether we agree with them or not and whether we believe they are justified or not.  It doesn’t matter how each of us feels; we need to respect everybody’s right to express their opinion.  THIS is the American way.

We hoped that whoever won the election would move forward in a much more positive manner, one that we could all get behind and believe in.  The fact that our votes were almost 50-50 obviously leaves half of us unhappy with the current president-elect.  What’s more American than protesting your dissatisfaction?  We are given the right to do this…peacefully.  There are positives for protesting.  We are letting Mr. Trump know that we are watching him, watching his choices, his actions, and his words (both tweeted and spoken).  We are going to hold him and his staff accountable for the promises he made, for pulling the country together and moving forward on a positive path.  It appears that, to date, he is not following the standard protocol in his actions…not about staffing choices, business matters, publicity and transparency, nor his communications.   I believe this is why people are now protesting.   I think most of us would like to believe that he will, very soon, become the person that we all want to have as president.  He has this one moment in history to make the right choices.  We’re all hoping that he does the right things.

This accountability is important and something that should be an ongoing process, not just when we’re unhappy about something.  We should all be watching the people that make decisions that directly affect us.  If you disagree with something, voice your opinion, become active in the cause, write a letter, make a phone call, and effect change.   Contact your member of Congress!  There is always work to be done at the local government level, which is what affects our daily lives in so many ways.  Getting involved is so important because it not only allows you some control in how your life is affected, but keeps you informed about the issues as well.  If we are all more involved in this process, we won’t need to rely on hearsay, Facebook, internet and television news stories that may or not be factual.  We will be educated participants in the process and be able to make informed choices on issues.

In most recent history, the Black Lives Matter movement was more prominent.  Do we all know what that was about?  Certainly…because it was out there, it was talked about, it was acted on, even if not always apparent.  This is how we, as Americans and South Koreans alike, can express our opinion, hold people accountable, and make change when necessary.  It indicates exactly how we feel about something and it needs to be acknowledged.  This is obviously a world-wide form of communication and one that is effective.   Protests, in whatever form they take, should always be acknowledged and taken seriously.

It’s Veteran’s Day!

veteran's day
veteran’s day

It’s Veteran’s Day!

We usually consider any person that has served, or is serving, in the armed forces a veteran and this day is set aside to honor them.

A bit of history on Veteran’s Day:  Our celebration of Veteran’s Day came about at the end of World War I.  The armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.   I hadn’t known that and it’s kinda’ cool!  Because of this, we celebrate our nation’s veterans on 11/11 (as of 1918).  It was originally called Armistice Day and became known as Veterans Day after World War II.

This particular Veteran’s Day really made me think.  Given that we just held a presidential election and our leaders are responsible for making those hard decisions governing our military, it made me wonder how this will affect our armed forces.  I cannot imagine the level of trust that they must have in our government to follow orders that they are given regardless of how they feel individually, regardless of their opinions, their backgrounds, or their beliefs.  This is an expectation of them, not a choice.  They are mandated to follow orders.  This goes all the way up the line, all the way to our president.  We have to all trust that this responsibility is given the grave importance and careful consideration that it deserves when decisions are made on their behalf.  No matter what choices are made that are out of our own control, our veterans deserve the best from each and every one of us.  In watching the protests on the streets over this past year and the turmoil throughout the world, it made me realize how much we take for granted and the many jobs that they have.  Many of us don’t think twice about feeling safe in this world because we’re counting on our armed forces to do their job.  We assume they are out there keeping us safe while we sleep.

I would like to think that we give more thought and consideration to our veterans on a regular basis and not just this one day a year but Veteran’s Day is, at the very least, a good opportunity to step up our game in this area.  I know that there are several discounts that are offered to the military on a regular basis from various businesses, organizations, etc., and I hope that many more consider doing this, but there are quite a few additional ones being offered on and around Veteran’s Day.  I sure hope that many of our military can take advantage of these.  On an individual basis, we can do our own part in honoring them.  We can show them the monumental respect that each and every one of them deserves.  We can say thank you when we see a veteran, we can buy them a drink or a meal or we can contribute time, clothing, supplies, or cash to a veteran’s charity.  Most of all, though, we can each say a prayer for them in whatever form that may be for those that are still active, for those who have served their time, for those recovering, and for those whom we have lost.

I cannot express enough the respect and the gratitude that I feel for our veterans.  We owe each and every one of them a very big THANK YOU!

Election Thoughts

election flags
election flags

Is it me or is everybody else in the United States over this election too?

When this first started, a long time ago and in what seems like a different universe, I was a little excited to see what the candidates would bring.  Now, I just wish that somebody would call a do-over and we could all have a chance to start from the beginning … and do it right this time.

I guess I should start with my own perspective on this.  I’m not happy with the current state of affairs and I’m not particularly unhappy either.  I wish I made more money, I wish I paid less taxes, but I do manage to survive and I feel as safe as any of us can in this day and age.  Of course there are things that I would change, things that I wish for.  However, I’m not delusional enough to think that all of my problems will be solved with the election of either one of the presidential candidates or state representative, etc.   My biggest hope is that we can proceed forward in the best interest of our country as a whole.  I know that no matter what bill is passed, whatever law is changed, whatever decision is made, somebody is going to benefit and somebody is going to lose.  There is nothing in this world that will be the best choice for each and every one of us.  I think most of us adults understand this.  Why, then, has this months-long process turned so ugly?

At this point in the election cycle, I’m so disturbed by every single candidate’s behavior, literature, and rhetoric that I would probably vote for anybody else that I haven’t seen or heard about yet.  I was looking forward to hearing about the choices that we were presented with, what they represented, what they had to say.  Sadly, I did hear it.  I have voted in lots of elections and never before have I been so disheartened.  I have heard some of the candidates’ views, but had to do a LOT of research to find out what I needed to know in order to make a solid decision.  I heard a little more about the topics in the presidential race, but honestly I’m guessing 99% of what I heard from the state level candidates was about the OTHER person.  All of them chose to criticize the other candidate over expressing their own views. I have heard so much negativity this year that it has reached a whole new low.  I have honestly never heard such derogatory things being said by an adult, let alone a presidential candidate, with no repercussions and I can’t believe it has gotten to this point without somebody putting a stop to it.  To hear adults, the potential leaders of our country, say the things that I’ve heard recently is horrible to me.  I’m embarrassed for us as a country.  I’m confused by what we, as the people, are supposed to have learned from them, and I’m finding that, as I try to stay involved and learn more, my mood is becoming more and more depressed about our future.  I’m no longer optimistic about any of the choices or what the future holds for us.  This isn’t how this is supposed to work!  Our candidates are supposed to energize us, inspire us, and instill hope & promise for our future.  What happened?  How did we get to this point?  What can we do about it?

I wish a third-party presidential candidate, one that wasn’t a bully, a liar, or a hypocrite, had popped out of the woodwork a few weeks ago.  We could use one with no baggage or special interest; one that would run a positive campaign.  We probably all would have elected them at this point.  From the state level, I now understand why my state is one of the worst ones to live in anymore and why we’ve had so many politicians put in jail.  I can’t even begin to express how disappointed I am in the amount of literature that I’ve received and how poisonous the tone was.  It’s disturbing to me that we’ve come to accept this as part of political campaigns.

Is it naive to expect the leaders of our communities, our states, and our government offices to be respectful, decent human beings?  Is it wrong to assume that they will behave like adults and the role models that we expect them to be?  We are literally putting our life in their hands.  I don’t think it’s too much to expect that they at least act like they take it seriously.

Tips for a Happy (and Safe) Halloween

happy halloween
happy halloween

As always, Halloween is one of the best times of the year if you’re a kid!  You can be anything you want for the day…a superhero, a villain, a star, or a witch.  You get to go out with other kids and collect candy from all your neighbors, check out all the other children’s’ costumes, and likely have a party at school.

There are always scary stories about things that can happen on Halloween.  Most of these stories have been around for decades.  There’s a big difference between a scary story and a scary reality, though.  We have to be diligent for our kids and for our neighbors’ kids, particularly in this day and age.  I think we’re all aware of the scary clowns that have been sighted in several areas.   Kids aren’t going to know the difference between a Halloween clown and a clown with more sinister motives.  Sometimes, neither are you.  It’s up to us to keep kids safe this Halloween.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Always go in groups and stay together.  Keep an eye on each other.
  • Young children should always be accompanied by an adult.  It’s a great opportunity to get to know the other children and their parents; bring along some apple cider and enjoy the afternoon!
  • Keep your costume safe.  Be sure that you’re able to see well and short enough that your costume doesn’t drag on the ground and trip you.  The costume material should be flame-resistant.
  • Dress for the weather.  It somehow always seems to be cold and rainy on Halloween.  Make sure you are dressed warmly (either under or over your costume) and carry a hat and/or gloves in your bag in case you want them.  If it’s darker out when you go, don’t forget to bring a flashlight with you!
  • Make sure there’s a light on and don’t go to houses without light.
  • Don’t ever go into somebody’s house!  Stay on the porch to get candy.
  • Don’t eat that candy until you have an adult check it.  There’s always a risk ­of somebody tampering with candy, so always let an adult check it out for you before you eat it!  ­­­­­­­­­
  • Be very careful crossing the street.  Look both ways and don’t try to rush in front of cars.  If you’re the one driving, please be extra cautious and drive very slowly and carefully.
  • Keep an eye on your surroundings.  Be aware of what’s going on around you.  Notice if there is somebody that doesn’t belong near you.  If you see anything suspicious, let somebody know.  You can either tell an adult at a house you are near, phone home, or phone the police (911) if you believe you are in danger.

Have a Fun and Safe Halloween!

Happy Taco Day!

taco day
Taco Day

I LOVE LOVE LOVE tacos!  There are so many ways to fix them that it can work for everybody.  As a busy mom, you can throw these together in seconds.  I always keep 1# packages of taco meat in the freezer.  You simply thaw and heat, add the toppings and you’re ready to eat.

Depending on what you put in them and how you fix them, it can be a gourmet meal (think lobster and melted butter or prime rib) to casual (ground beef, turkey, shrimp, etc.).  You can fix the base of the tacos (shell, meat, cheese) ahead of time and let people add to them if they want or set it out as an all buffet meal. Nothing gets easier than that, especially for a team dinner or family get-together.

An added benefit to tacos is that you can sneak in some healthy ingredients without anybody being the wiser.  For years, I used a half-and-half combo of ground beef and ground turkey for all my recipes and nobody ever knew it.  You can shred some veggies and add them to your tacos.  One of my very favorite ways to eat now them is to saute some red, orange, and yellow peppers and some onion in coconut oil, add some black beans and seasoning, and roll it up into a corn tortilla.  YUM!

Any way you fill them, roll them, or eat them, tacos are a great thing. Happy Taco Day to you!