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YellowDaisyChickChat

Sunny sides. Flowery rocks. Fresh air.

In Defense of Football Moms

god and football mom

I proudly belong to a special group of women. I am a football mom.

I love football. I’ve loved it probably since I was in the womb, going to UGA games. I grew up attending those games every Saturday for as long as I can remember. My entire extended family loves football. My husband loves football. We are Football. People.

When I gave birth to a son 16 years ago, it was inevitable that he would also love football. And he does. He loves it so much that he will literally watch ANY team in ANY game. Shaking my head, I’ve witnessed it many times but realize that he gets it honestly. It’s in his blood.

He’s also a big kid. He comes from big men who also played football. When he was younger and played rec football, he had to have an “X” taped on his helmet to signify that he was over a certain weight and could not carry the football. Yes, you read that right. That’s how our rec dept handled the little kid/big kid thing. I understood that the little kids didn’t want to get hurt, and I didn’t want my big kid to hurt them. But it also felt wrong and felt like my kid had a scarlet A on his helmet, and felt like an offshoot of the odd participation trophy phenomena. I wanted to complain but he didn’t want me to, and it would have only made me look like I didn’t care about the smaller kids. And honestly, if my kid had been little, I’m sure I would have wholeheartedly supported the rule.

We tried to reassure him that someday, his size would pay off in football. “Someday, son, you will play high school ball, and you will be rewarded handsomely for your big-ness.” Now, as a starting offensive lineman, he is finally reaping the rewards of the big, strong body that God gave him.

Being on a football team has given him a tight-knit group of friends and supportive teammates. It has given him discipline. It has given him confidence, toughness, and physical and mental strength. It has given him respect for authority. It has given him the opportunity to be around kids with different backgrounds than his. It has given him a work ethic.

It’s also given him a broken hand, constant soreness, ugly bruises everywhere, struggles with asthma, back strains, cuts and scrapes that keep getting re-cut and re-scraped…the list goes on and on. The news reports continuous research about concussions and long-term brain injuries for football players. It’s hard to see and hear. It makes me worry over our decision to allow him to play football.

As a football mom, I worry every day, every practice, every game. I’m always glad to get his text that he’s on his way home. Other non-football moms say, “don’t you worry about him playing football?” Or “I won’t let my son play football.” Absolutely, I worry. The night before every game, I pray for him, for his teammates, and his opponents to stay safe from injury and harm.

I wonder what the future of football is. That’s not for me to decide. But in defense of football and football moms (and dads), hashtag it’s complicated.

I love to watch him play a game that he loves. He’s good at it. He’s physically suited for it. It’s good for him.

I love to watch the game. I’m proud of him and his team.

So please know that I know that it’s dangerous. It’s also building great men. It’s the agony of defeat. It’s the thrill of victory. It’s yin and yang. It’s light and dark. It’s complicated.

For now, I’ll keep on keeping on with our Friday Night Lights and being grateful for the many gifts football has given my son. And I’m eternally grateful for being a football mom.

football mom

Carry On

Well, it’s August again.

It’s hot again. It’s sticky again. It’s sweaty again.

Kids are back in school. Papers upon papers were signed. Supplies upon supplies were purchased. Open houses were attended. Lunches have been assembled. Pre-teen and teen are begrudgingly putting one foot in front of the other, one early-morning alarm at a time.

New beginnings, fresh starts, clean slates. In the midst of the oppressive heat and humidity. Again.

Time to make the doughnuts.

“I got you, babe.”

Here we go. Again. Feeling rather meh. And why, pray tell, would anyone write a blog post about “meh?” Furthermore, why would anyone read it? Where’s the positive spin? Where’s the life lesson? What’s the point?

When I decided to blog my life, I mostly wanted to have a space to display my writing style for potential employers. And then I realized how much it helped me be a sane person. So I said a prayer to God and the universe that I would always try to stay true in my blog to be a positive force for good in the world. And this blog has blessed me. And it has blessed some readers and not blessed others…I’ve certainly heard both. Hey, you can’t please everyone, right? And I still work hard to stay true to blogging for what I know to be true and good, as best as I can.

But I’ve found that it’s getting harder. This life stage I’ve somehow found myself in is super strange.

I’m 46. Which means: 1. My body has changed in some unpleasant ways. 2. I’m witnessing precious marriages blow up left and right. 3. In two years, my oldest will leave home. Don’t even get me started.  4. My youngest is buying makeup. 5. My parents are getting older. 5. I don’t know what music to listen to anymore. 6. Am I allowed to dance in public anymore? 7. Routinely flogging myself for watching horrible tv that mature adults shouldn’t watch. 8. My celebrity crush is now Stephen Colbert.

And all of being 46 plus the worst political times of my lifetime and during the most appalling, least human, worst gut punch of a presidency and administration. Where only some people’s rights matter. Every day the news is horrific and frightening.

So TBH- this is where I am. To use an Oprah line and twist it to take it to a new low: I am not living my best life.

I’m not. Wow. How’s that for a depressing line? Before all 46-year-olds blow our collective brains out, let me also say something that I believe in my heart, that I know is bold, as well as a challenge and a middle finger to the universe: I know it’s going to get better.

My mother used to say that to me when I was down about something. It sounds trite but it’s something that I’m touching down on a lot right now. I thank her for gifting me those simple but necessary words. Because you know what? She’s always been right.

The other line I’m touching down on a lot these days is that British line- that “carry on” thing they do. Like, yeah, life sucks, so what, just freaking carry on, ok? Is it weird that I find that comforting? Maybe, but I do. Carry on- go be an adult. Just put your head down or your chin the hell up and carry on. Shit happens to everybody and everybody has to be 46 (except those that don’t and I definitely don’t want to be them, lol). And other countries have appalling, shitty Presidents and even worse conditions. And maybe this is the American in me, but I read that British line with a twinge of “things will get better” at the end. That’s my interpretation, anyway, and it helps me.

I’m writing this, wondering if others are feeling the meh. For all I know, it’s just me and y’all all think I need to go check in to rehab for “exhaustion” like the celebs. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’ve got kids to raise, a husband to nag :-), dinners to cook, jobs to find, family and friends to love, plants to water, blogs to write, horrible tv to watch, books to read, dogs to walk.

It’s ok. I’m not living my best Oprah life but I’m ok. I’m having to dig deeper but that’s ultimately what makes us stronger.

It will get better. Carry on, y’all.

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Carry On

by fun.

Well I woke up to the sound of silence the cars
Were cutting like knives in a fist fight
And I found you with a bottle of wine
Your head in the curtains and heart like the fourth of July

You swore and said we are not
We are not shining stars
This I know
I never said we are

Though I’ve never been through hell like that
I’ve closed enough windows to know you can never look back

If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground
Carry on

Carry on, carry on

So I met up with some friends in the edge of the night
At a bar off seventy five
And we talked and talked about how our parents will die
All our neighbors and wives

But I like to think
I can cheat it all
To make up for the times, I’ve been cheated on
And it’s nice to know
When I was left for dead
I was found and now I don’t roam these streets
I am not the ghost you want of me

If you’re lost and alone or you’re sinking like a stone,
Carry on
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground and
Carry on

Woah my head is on fire
But my legs are fine
After all they are mine
Lay your clothes down on the floor
Close the door
Hold the phone
Show me how
No one’s ever gonna stop us now

‘Cause we are
We are shining stars
We are invincible
We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we’re miles away
So we’ll come, we will find our way home

If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground and
Carry on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desert Love: A Photo Essay

It’s true that a picture can not adequately capture the grand-ness of the Grand Canyon; and yet, neither can words. The upside of using photos is that the subject matter is so stunning, it’s impossible to take a bad picture. With that justification, I’ve decided to share my family’s trip to the Grand Canyon via photo essay. And this way, I won’t have to bore you with vacation pics when you come to my house! 🙂

Hope you enjoy and that you and yours can also see America this summer. ❤ YDC

 

Desert Views:

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Sedona, AZ
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Sedona, AZ
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Visitor Center Trail|Grand Canyon National Park: whispers/awe/beauty/personal insignificance/humility/respect.
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Visitor’s Center Trail|GCNP
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Arizona thoughts: Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner/Raising Arizona/Georgia O’Keefe/John McCain
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Duck Rock|GCNP
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Colorado River|GCNP: Pure power.
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Desert View|GCNP
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Navajo Reservation, AZ: So many questions. 
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Navajo Reservation, AZ
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Painted Desert: through a car window.
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Painted Desert: another planet/Star Wars.
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Long road/pretty moon/dirty windshield.
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South Rim Trail: yes, that’s the trail and yes, that’s how close and open the edge was.
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Not getting close, just zooming in. Respect Mother Nature.
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Bright Angel Trail zig-zagging into the Canyon. Might have gotten down it. Definitely not back up.

 

 

Desert Flowers:

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Desert People:

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Hopi House | GCNP – Cultural Presentation (photo: Scott Anderson)
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He told his story his way, not the Hollywood way. He said it helps him heal to be able to share the story of his people. (photo: Scott Anderson)
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Young dancer. (photo: Scott Anderson)
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Summer job. (photo: Scott Anderson)
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Regalia. (photo: Scott Anderson)
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Hoop dance. (photo: Scott Anderson)

 

Desert Eats:

 

Desert Water:

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Desert Sunsets:

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#blessed

Last week, I ran into Publix in a hurry, as usual. I blew through the aisles with my list and rushed to the front, impatiently waited to check out and mentally went through the rest of my to-do list. As I swiped my card, I realized I had forgotten my frozen food. Grrrr. So much for getting in and out. I was so irritated. I asked them to hold my checked-out groceries and ran back to the frozen section, cursing my life and May.

Yes, it’s May, and for parents, teachers and students, May is cray. Ain’t nobody got time for Publix! And now, I had to wait in line twice. I had so much to do! I felt all the bad feels and got in a second line in a snit.

The woman ahead of me started to check out. She only had formula, diapers, and kid stuff from what I could tell. Looked like it would be a quick one. But then, she handed over a ginormous wad of coupons. The cashier was being super thorough. My head was starting to pound. Why me, Lord? It was taking FOREVER. Because OF COURSE IT WAS, THIS IS MY LIFE. Then she gave the cashier a check of some kind, perhaps WIC. Then she started swiping about 20 Publix gift cards, and after each one, the cashier would say “nothing on that” or “a little on that” and give her a new total. The line behind me was growing. It was taking forever.

The woman had three cute little ones in her buggy who were happily waiting for her. They were doing better than I was. After the Publix cards, she swiped several other cards. Needless to say, it became clear to me that this woman’s grocery shopping stress was way different from mine. Yikes, what if I had three little ones and was struggling to buy diapers and formula? What if I had to hold up the line and everyone saw me struggling to pay my bill? The cashier finally told her the total was down to $3.20.  Everything was bagged up at that point. She pulled out one more debit card and it was declined. She looked at the cashier and said “That one should be okay.” The cashier tried it again. It didn’t go through.

So I offered to pay her $3.20. Because WWJD. She looked at me and said, “are those your groceries?” I was confused and said yes. She said, “if you pay my balance, I’ll buy your groceries with my food stamps.” I said, “no, absolutely not, it’s no big deal.” I mean, it was $3.20! My groceries would be over $20. She said, “I’ve been due to be a blessing to somebody for some time so please let me get them. I get plenty of food stamp money and my babies won’t go hungry.” I didn’t know what to do, I was so thrown so I told her to do whatever she felt was best. So I paid her balance and she bought my groceries. She thanked me, I thanked her and she left.

My mind was reeling. How did that all just happen? I was thinking it all through as I walked to the car. I guess she bought something that wasn’t covered by her food stamps, but all I saw besides baby stuff was some candy bars. If I paid for those candy bars, fine, I don’t care. But how did it turn out like that when I was trying to help her out and I ended up taking $20 of food stamps from that lady with three young children. I don’t know what Jesus would do with this one. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I was supposed to be the blessing. But she out-blessinged me! How in the hell?

But then I thought about what she said: “I’ve been due to be a blessing to someone for some time.” You know, it’s true that sometimes we are a blessing and sometimes we receive the blessing. This was a unique situation where I blessed her and she blessed me all at the same time. Mind. Blown. Thanks be to God. That’s a cool one.

It reminded me of the time, many years ago, when my husband was laid off from Delta. It was a stressful, difficult time. Money was tight. I had to lie to the preschool so I could wait to pay them after unemployment came in. We ate a lot of pasta. One day, a guy came by from the Delta Pilots’ Club and dropped off a food basket. It was my low point. I was used to being the one who put together and dropped off the food baskets!!! How was I on the receiving end of one??? It was so hard but truth be told, I swallowed my pride and we ate every damn thing in that basket. Years later, after we were back on our feet, I realized that as hard as that was, sometimes you’re the blessing and sometimes you receive the blessing. That’s life. That’s being a human being. That hard time not only gave me that gift basket, but gave me the gift of empathy for people who are in a bad financial situation.

I don’t know that woman’s story but in my haste to “get stuff done”, I was forced to slow down and see her. When I worked for DFCS, most of the clients I worked with were like this woman. They didn’t want to be on welfare. They were working hard to get off it. And yes, there were some who took advantage and we did our best to boot them the hell off. But the vast majority of people on welfare were not happy about it and wanted to be a blessing to others. They are real people; may we see them.

Today, I decided that woman’s story needed to be told. Hope it blesses you.

Take care of yourselves and each other,

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Ten Ways to Prevent Self-Destruction During the Time of Trump

It’s incredible how much my life has changed since November 8, 2016. And I’m white, so it’s nothing compared to what many of you are dealing with.

I still can’t believe that this is our world EVERY MORNING I WAKE UP. I can’t believe my black friend asked me if she thought our town could see a child’s birthday party shot up by white supremacists, like what happened in a neighboring county. I can’t believe I had to answer “Yes.”

But it is our world. Whether we like it or not, whether we want to believe it or not, whether we stick our heads in the sand — it is an unstable, frightening world, led by a crazy, narcissistic, greedy, compulsive liar/con-artist with an elementary-school vocabulary. It is a world where we can take nothing for granted and must face it head on.

I remember the good ol’ days when I kept an eye out and an ear out and read stuff, but didn’t have to really do anything. I posted on social media, I had the occasional light-hearted, boozy debate with someone, I gave a few bucks to a campaign or a cause. That was the extent of my political involvement. I cared but I was happy to let someone else do the work.

And most of the time, someone with some sense and experience was in charge, and most of the time, they were fairly moderate, not too far from center. Even if I didn’t like him or agree with him, I could see how he got votes and became president.

Those days are gone, friends. We are not in the best of times. The Time of Trump, these last 100 days that feel like 100 years, is one big, dark, sad, constant heartbreak.

The good ol’ days of apathy paved the way for our current tragedy. Now we are in the streets. We are making signs, we are chanting at rallies, we are buying  “Nasty Woman” t-shirts. We are incredulously marching for facts. We are somehow marching for science, of all things.

We are calling and writing our members of Congress in DC. We are calling and writing our state representatives. We originally had to look some of them up, but now we have them on speed-dial.

This is who we are now. This is who we will always be because we learned the hard way  what happens when we don’t participate.

It’s all exhausting. None of it is easy. There’s a lot of good stuff, too, but there is a lot of hard stuff. That’s why so many people aren’t doing anything. It’s a lot. I certainly wish I didn’t have to do all of this. Having hard conversations, organizing events, and worrying about everything from “will anyone attend our meeting” to “will I be shot at the protest by an NRA kook”…these are just some of the things that wear you down. Sometimes I get down and burnt-out. But I feel like I don’t have a choice anymore. I would actually feel worse if I weren’t doing anything.

When I do get tired and discouraged, it’s time for a rest day. Usually it’s Sundays for me. Here are some ways I’ve learned to take care of myself during the Time of Trump:

  1. Look For The Helpers. I always listen to Mr. Rogers! Actually it was his mother who said that. This time, the helpers are the protesters. They are mostly women, but also men, families, children, grandparents. The leaders of the protests are women, black people, Muslims, immigrants, victims of gun violence, scientists, medical professionals, researchers, and politicians. They are fighters and they are smart. They are non-violent. They are right. They will lift you up.
  2. Find A Group. There are so many wonderful groups, on social media and in real-life. They will keep you sane and you will realize how many people feel the same way you do. I started in Pantsuit Nation and now have joined many spinoffs from there. I also have a local group of people and we meet twice a month: once for a business meeting and once for a happy hour social. We meet up for protests and support each other, which is especially important in a red town/county/state like ours. There is power and safety in numbers. And it’s so heartening to see how many people care. There are so many good people. If you’re local and want to join, message me!
  3. Take A Break. Taking a break is not quitting. When it gets to be too much, I unplug. I do anything that isn’t news and politics. I put my phone away, turn it off if I can, ignore the CNN notifications. I remember there is life outside of political activism and I can take a breather when I need to.
  4. Get Outside. Even if it’s a walk with the dog, it helps. I find some fresh air, get the blood flowing and a good sweat going. I work in the yard. Plant some flowers. Sit on the porch. Have a picnic at the park. Throw the frisbee. Read a book in my eno.
  5. Eat Well. By this, I mean eat both healthy and happy. I eat things that are good for me but also eat things that make me happy. It’s ok, we need to enjoy life, and if that chocolate cupcake makes me happy, I eat it.
  6. Drink Well. Cocktails are a must, let’s be honest. The liquor companies must be raking it in. I thoroughly enjoy a cocktail (or several) and happy hour is my favorite time of day.
  7. Take Naps In Front Of HGTV. In the Time of Trump, sleep is a challenge. If you need to grab a nap here and there, don’t beat yourself up. If you’re like me and not sleeping well at night, you need to catch up. After those cocktails, feel free to take a long nap.
  8. Binge-Watch Netflix or Bravo. Escapism at its finest. On the former, I can recommend The Get Down Part 2 and the latter, Sweet Home Oklahoma. You’re welcome.
  9. Read A Home/Food/Entertainment Magazine. After constantly reading the NY Times, WaPo, LA Times and NPR, it’s nice to unwind with a Real Simple or Coastal Living. They always allow me to imagine what it would be like to live a super-organized life in a beach bungalow. One can dream, right?!
  10. Fiercely Love Yourself. God made us and loves us. All of us. The haters and trolls are miserable people who don’t love themselves. That’s why they lash out. Ignore them and know that God loves them, too. Keep loving yourself and doing you. You matter.

Have a good week. Take care of yourselves and each other,

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❤ YellowDaisyChick ❤

A Blue Dot in a Red Sea

So, you know, I’m new to the political activism arena.

It has been a wild ride.

And for the record, I’m just a person. I’m not getting paid. I’m not working for a professional group. I’m winging it, for the most part. I go back and forth between exhaustion and exhilaration, and everything in between. I’m a wife, a mom, a daughter, a granddaughter, a writer, a church member… a lover not a fighter.

Unless you mess with my family, my friends, my money, or my rights.

I’m (legally) marching for issues that matter to me. I’m contacting my elected officials to let them know when I agree or disagree with what they’re doing. They do work for us and it’s their job to listen to us. I’m volunteering for organizations that advocate for education, the environment, and marginalized members of society…all causes that matter to me.

All of this activity makes me a better, more informed American. It teaches my children about the political process and what their rights are as Americans. (And even if you and I  disagree on issues, these are also your rights and you have just as much of a right to do these same things as I do.)

I’m also meeting lots of like-minded people. We are having good, hard, meaningful conversations. The two marches I’ve attended were lovely events, with lovely, regular people like me, who want to exercise their right to free speech.

Recently, my local paper published two political editorials. The paper is a conservative publication and they have an easy job of preaching to their red town/county choir. I actually haven’t read it for many years, except during the time that I worked for them. Occasionally, someone will bring something to my attention and I’ll take a look.

I discovered that they are sadly choosing to feed the divisive political monster by publishing editorials that pit Republicans and Democrats within our community against one another. In one editorial, they stated that they publish news on liberals, such as the Women’s March, to provide political intel to their conservative readers: “So a story about John Lewis speaking nearby, local artists joining a protest in Atlanta or Coweta residents traveling to D.C. for a march is valuable intelligence for conservatives. It equips conservatives to counter the arguments and tactics of liberals, just as any smart football coach or military commander would study every available scrap of information about an adversary.”

As a community paper, and the only community paper, they are unfortunately furthering the divide, pitting neighbor against neighbor. When I march, I’m thinking about human beings. I’m marching for real people, with real stories. People who are losing their rights. Losing their healthcare. It’s a big deal to them and to me. To simplify, I’m doing what the Golden Rule tells me to do. I’m doing what my faith teaches me to do; yet editorials like this make me feel like Public Enemy #1.

In another editorial, the paper claimed that the “raucous events” that protesters are engaging in are unappealing to “sober, concientious Americans.” Sigh. For the record, conservative condescension and being spoken to like a child are unappealing to this sober, conscientious American. Is the paper really that threatened by a bunch of grandmas, grandpas, moms and dads with kids in strollers marching with no violence or rioting? And yet the conservative group of men protesting with machine guns at Centennial Park isn’t  scarier to our paper? That doesn’t add up to me.

Now that our paper has publicly admitted to being a conservative cog in the Trump wheel, we no longer have to presume. I’m just disappointed that our community paper can’t try to raise the bar and be more inclusive of all members of the community they represent. Not surprised, but wholly disappointed.

The blue dots in this red sea are still here. We are just people who care. And we’ll just keep swimming.

dory

The March, Part 2: Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

What a week.

In one week, it’s all gone to hell, just as the majority of us expected.

Actually, I had hoped it wouldn’t happen this fast or this aggressively. But when I think about our POTUS inciting violence at his campaign rallies, I think we all should have known it would be like this.

That’s when I knew he was a disgusting human. When I saw him egging on supporters to physically assault people who didn’t agree with him, I knew he would be a monstrous President. And for one week, he has been.

I’m even more glad I marched in Washington after this week. We must stand up and speak up more now than ever. I was going to do three parts on the March, but there’s no time. There’s too much to fight right now, so I’ll put it all into this Part 2:

The March, Part 2: Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

After we arrived at RFK Stadium and saw the buses and the women in their pink hats, the adrenaline kicked in. We grabbed our granola bars, phones, coats and signs and headed to the March.

It was a cool, misty morning. We had gotten behind on the road, so we didn’t arrive until after 11:00 a.m. The rally was supposed to last until 1:00 so we thought we could make some of it. Our bus decided to mostly stay together, since we had an AJC photographer who was documenting our trip and needed to keep up with us. My friend Erika and I decided we didn’t want to get lost, so we stayed with the group. We tried to take the Metro to the March but were told there was a two-hour wait. So we walked the 30 minutes or so to the March.

I’m actually glad we did. It was exhilarating to be walking on the sidewalks of neighborhoods and have DC residents honking at us as they drove by, yelling their support out of their windows, standing in front of their homes with their kids and signs welcoming us and cheering for us. Not one person heckled us. The police officers directing traffic were high-fiving us and thanking us. I must say, I was not expecting that at all. They were all smiles after a tumultuous Inauguration Day and welcomed us with open arms.

The National Guard had troops placed along our route, alongside their Humvees and tanks. At first, that freaked me out. I said my share of prayers that their services would not be needed. As the day went on, they gave me great comfort and it felt wonderful to know that they were keeping us safe. I am so grateful to both the police and the National Guard for working that day and I told them so many times.

The river of marchers came to a stop when the Capitol came into view. Everyone wanted their picture taken, of course.

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My badass friend Erika and I, fired up and ready to march!

It was around this point that I had my one teary moment. A small group of Muslim women were standing to the side, holding a sign that said “Muslim Americans love the USA.” I thought about their day-to-day life in this country right now and it overwhelmed me. Because of extremists in their religion, they face so much hate by their own countrymen every single day. I thought of how frightening it must be. The March became real to me when I saw those women. I hope they had some peace seeing us all marching for them.

As we walked past the Capitol and neared the beginning of the March, the crowd came to a standstill. There were so many of us, we could not get anywhere near the rally. We did not hear a thing. We were bummed but also excited that that the attendance was so high. Signs for every cause were there. I saw people of every color. I saw every religion represented. I saw LGBTQ marchers. I saw immigrant marchers. I saw men. I saw disabled people. I saw young and old and in-between. I saw people from all over the country. I saw America. Some were surprised to see Georgia represented because we are a red state. Well, we changed their perception on that!

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About this time, we couldn’t use our phones anymore. The crowds were so thick, service was nil which caused some anxiety. I am so phone dependent (aren’t we all?) that I hated to be cut off from the world. I couldn’t get any news or even find myself on Google maps. But my old-school skills kicked in…and we actually talked to people! News flash: You can actually get information from Real People!

The police men and women were invaluable. They gave us info that there were so many people on the March route, there was no way to actually march. They told us to go to a side street to march, so that’s what we did. Erika found a friend with Moms Demand Action- GA who had protested before, which was miraculous and a godsend because the crowd got so tight, we got separated from our bus group. Before we moved to the side street, I had my only panicky moment. The crowd was moving as a pack and everyone was wanting to move…it was only a few minutes, though, before we were able to get to the more spacious side street.

Once there, the March began for us. We marched side-by-side, chanting and holding our signs high. Erika’s sign was a major hit:

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Photo credit: Erika Hamburg-Brown

My sign, however, looked as if a toddler made it. LOL! (It’s what it says that matters, so bite me, ok?! :-))

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When God was giving out sign-making skills, He gave mine to Erika. 🙂

As we marched, there were folks standing on the sidewalks, cheering us on, taking video, holding signs. It was a surreal moment and the energy was unlike anything I’ve ever felt or probably will ever feel again. All of the people really were pleasant and lovely. I didn’t encounter anyone that wasn’t peaceful or was out-of-line. I did hear that a friend’s Muslim relative witnessed another Muslim woman get beaten by a man on the Metro on the way to the March. The crowd was able to push the man off the train at a stop. The woman still went on to the March, God bless her. Her March blog would be very different from mine, and I acknowledge that fact. But my takeaway: we are not a country that beats Muslim women. We are a country that pushes the asshole off the train.

We marched for quite a while until the crowd came to a standstill. We had caught up with the March route and again, it was clogged because of so many people. At this point, we were hungry and beginning to worry we wouldn’t make it back to the bus on time. We talked with another policeman and found respite at L’Enfant Plaza and had a bite to eat and a restroom break. Lines were long, restaurants were running out of food, but it was a welcome sight to sit and take a break. Again, I was so appreciative of the exhausted restaurant workers and I made sure to tell them. Shout-out to Au Bon Pain for a wonderful tuna salad sandwich and Coke!

The last part of the day was getting the Metro and making it back to the bus, which we again figured out by asking police and other marchers. We did a lot of following the pink hats!

To sum up, for me, the March was a love fest. A response of the best American kind to a world of hate. Marchers helped marchers with info, marchers picked up marchers when they fell, marchers cheered on others’ signs and older marchers and disabled marchers (there were many). Marchers encouraged, supported, nurtured, took care of.  I felt so much love that I couldn’t hate anymore. I needed this event more than anything to remind myself that love does win; it always wins because most of us believe in love. I actually felt sorry for Trump voters because they don’t get to feel this feeling. I want this for everyone. I want everyone to feel this kind of love. And I will continue to do my part and show up for love.

For the record, I marched in Washington for all of us. Even Republicans. Even Trump supporters. I marched for the rights of all Americans because we all deserve them. I see that as a big difference in the two sides. We want rights for everyone. You don’t. And, just because others have rights doesn’t mean you have less rights. No one will force you to get an abortion, or to marry a gay person, or to become Muslim. If our government tried to force you to do those things, I would march with you in protest.

I’m a heterosexual, white Christian woman. I marched for those like me and those not like me. I marched for homosexuals, I marched for African-Americans, I marched for Muslims, I marched for immigrants, I marched for disabled people and I marched for men. I did not march against you. I marched for you. I marched for everyone. I marched for love.

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Photo taken at Little Tart Bakeshop in Krog Street Market (Atlanta, GA)

 

The March, Part 1: This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Last time, I posted a blog about my disappointment in/incredulity at my fellow white Americans who voted for Trump.

A lot of people loved it and a lot of people hated it. A lot of people love Trump and a lot of people hate him. This is where we find ourselves.

I have family relationships that are now strained, friend relationships that are strained, friend relationships whose status is just…unknown. I have made new friends, I have lost some friends. I have trolls who are now responding to my blog and social media because I am speaking out against Trump and questioning voters who voted for him.

It’s a strange time for all of us. I think we can all agree on that.

My last post was an outlet for how I was feeling. We are all processing these events in our own way. You don’t have to like it. I stand by it. Based on my life experiences, that’s how I was feeling. Based on your life experiences, you can like it or hate it. If you liked it, I hope it helped you. If you hated it, I hope it is part of one of many difficult conversations we all have to have at some point. If you hated it, let it serve as a reminder from me that we are all still here, no matter how much you want us to go away. We’re not moving to Canada. Your candidate won but you still have to deal with us.

Another outlet for me was the Women’s March on Washington. It was the honor and privilege of a lifetime to attend the event. I posted on Facebook why I was marching and I’ll post it here again:

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I have decided to do multiple posts on the March, as I am still processing it and it’s something so much larger than myself. I want to do it justice. I hope you enjoy Part 1:

The March, Part 1: This Is What Democracy Looks Like

I rode a bus from Atlanta with about 50 other women and a few men. They were all different shades of white, black, brown. My incredible, supportive husband dropped my friend and me off. Shout-out to him and all the men (including my dad, my father-in-law, my brother, my cousin, my friends’ husbands) who support women and their need to march.

There were six buses going from Atlanta, with many more from other cities/towns in GA. It appeared that most of the women on my bus were from inside the perimeter but there were some of us from OTP. I have never done anything like this before in my life, and I had my share of anxiety about the whole thing. Would it be safe? Would the other women be nice? Would someone near me get me drawn into a fight and get me arrested? Would the buses have a wreck or break down? (One did break down but made it in time for the march.) Would I have to go to the bathroom when no porta-potty was around? These are the things I thought about as I got on the bus.

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Lining up to get on the bus! #ATL

First of all, the bus was lovely. It was like an airplane, with tv screens, personal lights, air vents and charging outlets at every seat. There was a bathroom that held up until near the end. They stopped every few hours for bathrooms, food and leg stretches. I would like to shout out to the Flyin’ J where we stopped twice — the nicest workers and cleanest restrooms ever. We were treated with kindness and respect by everyone when we stopped and I can only imagine what people thought when six buses of women wearing “Nasty Woman” and “Women’s March” shirts and matching pink knitted hats entered the truck stop. Not one person said anything ugly to us. Not one.

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2:00 a.m. Many thanks to Flyin’ J’s for the oasis they provided us.

The bus drivers were also lovely. The loveliest. They sang softly to us to wake us up (“wake up, sleepyheads, it’s time for a poopy stop!”) and took such good care of us. They supported us completely and told us so. They told us that they would be marching with us if they didn’t have to sleep so they could get us home. Our main driver, Lamont, was full of kindness and love and good humor. I feel so fortunate to have had him as a part of my March experience, and consider him, his co-workers and his company Atlantic to be a big part of its success.

The women around me on the bus were quiet and sleeping for most of the trip. We chatted a bit and shared info but for the most part, tried to rest. The bus captains were absolute champions. They kept us informed and organized. They answered our questions. They were tough as nails. Any anxiety about this trip diminished as I saw how competent and fearless they were.

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My bus mates and rockin’ bus captains!

(Note: Sleeping on a bus is an under-appreciated aspect of protesting. There is literally no comfortable sleeping position in a bus seat, no matter how hard we tried. Eventually, your body gives up and you will sleep a fitful sleep of a few hours. You consider lying down in the aisle. You study how others are sleeping and try to make it work. You remind yourself why you are doing this and you don’t complain. Well, maybe you do a little. You’re not perfect, ok? So I now want to say to civil rights protesters like John Lewis, “thank you for getting your skull cracked, for getting arrested and beaten, and for sleeping on a bus for us.”)

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Not me or my bus, but basically all of us on my bus.

Once we finally arrived after 12 hours of travel, we pulled up to RFK Stadium and saw bus after bus after bus. I saw a sea of pink hats walking toward the Rally location. I felt the energy. I felt alive. I felt the love. I knew that missing two nights of sleep was a small sacrifice to be able to be a part of this historic and important event.

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Not the best photo quality but it was a marvel to see.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

 

 

What the Actual Hell, White People?

HOW IS THIS YOUR GUY?

We all have political issues that we care about and place our vote in such a way as to support our issues. But when it came down to it, HOW THE HELL WAS THIS YOUR GUY?

I’ve often fantasized about an America where the two political parties both put up the best of the best and we all have to really think hard about our choice. Because that would really be good for the country. As we all know, that didn’t happen and never will. Neither candidate this time around was perfect. But when it came down to that choice in the booth, HOW THE HELL WAS HE YOUR GUY?

I remember talking with moderate (obviously white) Republicans early on and they were disgusted by him. They said they either wouldn’t vote or they would vote for HRC. So I said to myself, “Self- it’s going to be fine. These good people get it. He will never win.” But you know what? My red county that always votes around 70% Republican — they voted 69.3% for him. Hmm.

Republicans, that’s about as sad as sad can be. I believe you that you didn’t like him but you voted for him because you wanted a piece of the Trump pie. If he won, you were betting that you would get your piece. In spite of all of the horrible things he did and said, in spite of the horrific person he is, you voted for him.

So how’s that pie tasting right now? Delicious? Bittersweet? Giving you the runs yet? Most likely a flavor combo of Borscht and vodka. I don’t know because for the most part, you’re not talking to me about it. Most of you are awfully quiet on social media. I do wonder what you all say to one another to rally yourselves. A Republican, non-voting relative did send me a conservative defense of DT and it was heartbreakingly ignorant. It more or less said “fear not, conservatives — we should get what we want out of him even though he’s an asshat.” So do you just not care about other people who aren’t white Christians? Aren’t you worried that he might not give a shit about you, either? Given his cabinet appointees, most of them aren’t concerned with the little guy. But I guess Fox News is telling you differently, and for that, I truly am sad for you when he screws you, too.

But I also blame you. For aligning yourselves with this National Joke to get what you want. He’s your guy now and you’re responsible for him. Period. We all hold you responsible. How must that feel? It gives me the creeps and makes me want a shower to even imagine it.

I’m giving a great deal of my time right now to fight you and your guy. Time I would rather use for many other things, but I must give up to do what’s right. I’m a white, Christian Democrat. I might be the only white, Christian Democrat you know but trust me, there are many of us. And we are pissed and we will fight because we care about rights for all and that’s what we were taught to do as kids in Sunday School. Were you there? Where the hell did you go to Sunday School that HE IS YOUR GUY?

You’ve also made it super hard now for us white people who actually like black people. We had made some progress but things had heated up recently with the police shootings and the Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter/Blue Lives Matter debacle. (BTW they just wanted you to say, “yes, we hear you, of course, yes, black lives do matter.” That’s all. They just wanted you to acknowledge that their children’s lives matter. And you chose not to.) And now YOUR GUY has the support of the KKK and white supremacist groups and even has one in the White House. So, yeah, now it makes it even shittier to be a white person who likes black people because they aren’t going to trust any of us and frankly, I don’t blame them.

What the actual hell, White People? What the hell have you done to all of us? #Resist

 

 

 

 

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