Where is the apology?

I’m going to apologize in advance because this is going to be as much of a rant as it is a blog post. But I saw something Friday that has really gotten under my skin for multiple reasons. And I have to get it off my chest.

I follow a few fellow parents who live with a child with autism of varying degrees. Friday, one of them posted something that I don’t understand why it’s not been exposed before. It appears that rappers Drake and J Cole wrote a lyric in the song “Jodeci Freestyle” that not only mentions the N word in just about every other line, but it also demeans the Autistic community by equating autism with the word ‘retarded’. I tried to read the lyrics, but had to stop after the first verse because I couldn’t deal with all the profanity and ended up using the search feature on my browser to find the line for myself and be able to read it in context. I wanted to be sure I was on point and not take it out of context. I wasn’t:

I’m undoubtedly the hottest and that’s just me bein’ modest
Go check the numbers dummy, that’s just me gettin’ started
I’m artistic, you n—– is autistic, retarded

And that was as long a stretch as I could copy without including another profanity.

This is unacceptable, prejudice speech.

These people (Drake and J Cole) can not know any autistic people. If they did they would know that most autistic people are just as mentally capable as they, if not more so if their grammar and spelling are any indication. They just need the right avenue to show it. My Ninja Cat is an ace at academics and thinks so creatively compared to the rest of us, not just to solve problems but artistically, it’s amazing. He creates the most intricate drawings and can explain what every cog is for and why each beam is in its place. He constructs huge structures in Minecraft and with the switch of a lever can make objects in that world do things it would take me twice as long to construct. Anyone that has a child with autism will tell you similar stories.

This is unacceptable, intolerant speech.

It’s using the Autistic community as the punch line of a very bad joke, so to speak, by putting down those around him. It’s using autistic people as an antithesis of his perceived greatness. Has he ever met Dr. Temple Grandin, who has done more for not just the Autistic community but people’s lives in general through her research? She has done more that touches lives directly through her veterinary research than Drake and J Cole have through their so-called art.

So, where is the outrage over this? Where is the call for an apology, the dropping of endorsements, the derision, the drop in sales that hits him where it would hurt the most – his wallet? I’ve not heard one word about it until my comrade on arms posted it Friday night on Twitter. I’m here to call for the apology! I’m here to call for the dropping of the endorsements, I’m here to deride him for his choice of words, his bigotry, his intolerance. The more we join together, not just as an autism community but as a group of people who do not tolerate bigotry and prejudices, we will be heard. Contact Sprite. Contact Kodak, Let them know their brands shouldn’t be associated with bigotry. Please help me spread this and stop the bigotry!

p.s. (7/17/13) There is a petition on Change.org calling for this to happen. PLEASE go to http://goo.gl/35aBr to sign the petition and make your voice known.

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Is Enough Actually Not Enough

One of the things I like best about the church I go to is that even though I haven’t seen some of my ‘church friends’ in a long time, I can pick right up talking with them like they never left. I had cause to take advantage of that privilege recently and it made me think.

I see a woman I’ve not seen in probably almost a year. I knew she was in the beginning stages of what could be a nasty divorce and I had been wondering how she was doing for some months now. It was great to see her and be able to catch up and offer what support to her I could. But it was when the conversation turned to what she was doing to prepare for single motherhood of her three children that worried me.special moments

Here’s what got me thinking. She has finished a medical trade school and is already working a weekday job that has become more hours, by her own admission, than she could have hoped. But then she mentioned taking a job at a hospital for the weekends. She said it was to provide for her family and be able to stand on her own two feet once the divorce was final.

Mother and son 2

The thought hit me. When is she going to see the children she is striving so hard to provide for? Where is the line where working to give her children what they need/want takes the place of being there for them, staying involved in their lives? Time after time it’s been proven that time, not things, is what kids ultimately crave from their parents.

I know I’m lucky that I can stay home with my kids and  pray I am never alone in caring for my children. I also know that mothers that work are also lucky in other ways.

But when is enough actually not enough?

(Photos Courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/)

Brides and Grooms

I had the privilege to attend the wedding of one of my very good friends recently. This wedding is her second and she has finally, I believe, found her other half. He is a really great guy, from everything I have seen; and, they certainly deserve every happiness God can afford them.

So I’m at the wedding, sitting close to the front. The wedding starts and the groomsmen come in to wait on my friend, the bride. Then I remember my pastor saying that in every wedding he does, he looks at the groom while everyone else is looking at the bride as she enters the room. I figure why not try it myself. I’ve seen what my friend looks like. I watched some of her pictures be taken after I helped set up the reception hall.

When everyone stands to see my friend enter, I turn and look at her husband to be. I can tell the exact moment he gets his first look at her. His face turns bright pink; he bites his lip and closes his eyes. For a moment, he looks like he is either going to throw up or pass out. But when he recovers! He recovers and his face is filled with a love and pride I haven’t seen on any face other than my husband’s in a very long time.

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Then, it hits me. All through the Bible, God and Jesus are referred to as the Bridegroom of the nation of Israel and later all believers. Notable examples are Isaiah 62:5 and John 3:29. And all the times I have studied those verses I have concentrated on myself being the bride of Christ and preparing myself for Him. I mean I’m a woman; and, I was a bride about … years ago. (wink.) What is it like to be on the other side of that? What was it like for my now husband to wait for me? Does Jesus wait with bated breath, so to speak, for the time to come where he gathers those that believe in him to Heaven? Is he going to have a similar look on his face when that time comes and the living and the dead in him are caught up in the air?

I think so. I believe he is longing for us just as much, if not more so, than we are longing for him. He knows what is prepared for us in Heaven. He knows what it is going to be like when those who believe in him are all together in praise and worship. We don’t have that knowledge. We can only guess. And we’ve already been told that God does more ‘than we can ask or imagine’ (Ephesians 3:20).

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So, as I watch my friend approach her groom, relief builds on his face that they are actually together and will be until death. I take a moment to be thankful for my earthly groom of 18 years and for my heavenly groom still waiting for his ‘bride’ to be complete and ready for a time that is beyond death.

Defiance and defiance …

PLEASE REMEMBER: My opinions are my own. Agree, or disagree. But be nice regardless.

So I’ve started watching the new SyFy series Defiance. They give us this synopsis: In the year 2046, it’s a new Earth – with new rules. Over thirty years after various alien races arrived on Earth, the landscape is completely altered, terraformed nearly beyond recognition. To the town of Defiance, on what used to be St. Louis, comes the mysterious Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his charge, Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas). As they settle into town – overseen by the mayor, Amanda Rosewater (Julie Benz) and filled with residents like the powerful Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene), enterprising lounge owner Kenya (Mia Kirshner) and the ambitious, alien Tarrs (Tony Curran and Jaime Murray) – events begin to unfold that threaten the fragile peace this border town has fought for.

In a recent episode, one of the Castithans (an alien race) is being tortured, presumably to death, because he fled a fire fight. This was part of a ritual that the Castithans hold in high regard as part of their religion. A ritual that hurt no one outside their religion. Then that ritual was disrupted by Irisa, someone outside that religion. The person being tortured was cut down from his torture despite his protestations and despite the government condoning the action.

That got me thinking.

I am a Christian. It is my religion. It is my way of life. In my worldview, I see the world being tortured to death by their own choices, even if those choices are hurting no one else but them. My task as a Christian is to cut as many people down as I can (Matt. 28:19). In my worldview it is the moral thing to do, just like Irisa thought it was the right thing to do for the Casthian. When I go to do it. When I speak about Jesus and what salvation offers, I am met with resistance just like Irisa. I just can’t sit by and let people live through eternity without knowing Jesus.

Thing is, when Irisa imposed her will on another way of life, she was lauded by others. Even in real life, her actions will be seen as right and honorable. I, however, am called closed-minded, a bigot and intolerant. And I have done nothing different. All I have done is try to rescue someone who was being tortured, and am met with apathy or anger by those I am trying to rescue or even the government.

Yes, Defiance is a fictional show. Yes, the characters are not real. But actions like this happen every day. So why is it when morals I feel are not right are pressed on me it’s called tolerant and progressive; yet, when I choose to express my morals and beliefs, they are shut down and seen as archaic and intolerant? My best answer comes from 1 Corinthians ” What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Cor 2:12-14)

Just something to think about a bit. Again, agree or disagree. It’s OK by me, but if you comment let’s talk about what I said and not get into name calling.

Observations of a Camping Trip

This past weekend our Cub Scout pack spent some time at a great place called Lake Chewalla in the Holly Springs National Forest. It was a great time for the kids to just be kids, learn a little about Scouting and for the adults to get to know each other a little better. Some I’ve known, some are new. I didn’t know if it was because I’m getting a little older or trying to listen to the whispers of God a little more; but, I did make some observations about our little excursion.

1. The Coleman 1 minute tent is the greatest thing since sliced bread. 

2. It doesn’t matter what the fare, it’s the company over dinner that counts.

3. The first night sleeping anywhere new is strange.

4. Eggs, biscuits and coffee taste better outside.eggs

 

 

 

5. With the right encouragement, kids will do just about anything,

6. Plans are great; but, you need to be flexible.

7. My husband has a little more gray than in used to. But then again so do I.

8. Grilling for 50 people can be therapeutic. burgers

9. Sleeping for a second night in a new place with a party going on is strange.

10. Bird songs are beautiful; but, not at 6:00 in the morning. chewalla-300x185

 

 

 

11. It’s amazing how much cleaner one feels by just brushing one’s teeth.

11. It doesn’t matter if you catch anything, just spending time fishing with your son is enough.

12. A house is empty without a dog.

Thirteen County Life Lesson

Sorry to be late with this post, hopefully faithful readers. I have been in a rush since mid March and am just now coming up for some air.  I’ve been working with our school’s spring fundraiser,  two field trips in two days, my birthday and Easter weekend with Friday and Monday out of school – not to mention the usual craziness that comes with school winding down. I guess I’m through whining so I’ll get to the post.

The 500+ entries
The 500+ entries

Danger Boy, Ninja Cat and I took a trip to Oxford for the Region VII Science and Engineering Fair recently. They took their projects that I wrote about in Of Bridges and Craters. Both had won first place in their respective categories at school and they were excited to represent their school against the 500+ entries that also decided to show up at Tad Smith Coliseum that day.

We really had a good time. We talked off and on about what was expected of them, what the judges were likely going to ask and how to act/react when the decisions came down. So when we got there, found their gifted Gifted class teacher and their spots, they were as well prepared as they could be for whatever happened. Last year, I was allowed to sit with Ninja Cat as his ‘aide’ of sorts because of his high functioning Autism. But this year, we decided that we should let him sit there on his own. After all, he’s grown by a whole year and he, along with the 500+, had an electronic device to keep him occupied until the judge came to see his project. But we were close to the floor just in case anything did go wrong and he needed someone.

Danger Boy at the Science Fair
Danger Boy at the Science Fair

Next was just to sit and wait for two and a half hours while all the projects were judged by not one but two judges. Ninja Cat said three came by to see him. After that was a long lunch break. So, we decide to go to the main cafeteria on campus. We talked about what college is and an overview of how it works. Danger Boy was wondering how he would get from our house to Ole Miss and back every day. (It’s just over an hour drive.) Then I told him that you live on campus in that situation. That took him by surprise.Then he decided he wants to go to Ole Miss for college, so I can come visit him on weekends as he put it.

We get back to see if any of our students were in the running for the overall medals. Unfortunately they are not; but, that gives us time to enjoy the student/adult version of Family Feud. They did a survey of 100 children that were participating in the fair for the questions and did multiple rounds for lots of people to have a chance to play and for the judges to get a chance to judge the projects up for the overall awards. Danger Boy really wanted us to do it; and, gratefully we were picked. We decided to sit in the same chair on or respective sides so we could go against each other. Our question was “Name an animal that flies.” He beat me on the buzz in; but, I beat him on the answer. Long story short (I know, too late.), we both were surprised that dragon was the number one answer.

After the Family Feud, they were ready to announce the winners. Again long story short, Ninja Cat won 4th place for his project on bridge design and Danger Boy missed the ribbons. Neither child was happy with his result. That’s when the consoling started by not just me but his amazingly gifted Gifted class teacher. However, neither child was consolable right then. So we left right after their lower grade division was complete citing over-stimulation for Ninja Cat.

Ninja Cat at the Science Fair
Ninja Cat at the Science Fair

It took until the next day for them to be able to come to terms with their results. Ninja Cat did say the next morning he had fun doing the science fair and already has ideas in his head on how to improve for next year. Danger Boy is still in the planning stages. But that’s 10 months away, which doesn’t even place it on my radar. I let them plan anyway. It’ll be good for them to learn forethought.

What are some science fair projects you have done/seen in the past that blew you away? I’ll pas them along to Danger Boy and Ninja Cat.

This Mom’s Loft: Spring Break Edition

Yes, this past week was Spring Break here in the Loft – nine days (counting the two weekends) of no school and getting ready for the final push to the end of the year. I had been waiting for this week to come almost since Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in January. Heck, I’d been waiting since Presidents’ Day in February. We didn’t have that day off as planned because we had to make up our one snow day so far this year. We all needed the break; and we have taken full advantage.

The way I ‘do’ Spring Break is similar to the way I ‘do’ summer break. We have a theme to each day of the week, which I got from Pinterest and both Ninja Cat and Danger Boy like knowing what to expect each day. We have Make Something Monday, Time to Read Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday and Something Fun Friday.

Most of our days started out like a Saturday, me in bed until all of 7:45 with Danger Boy up and taking Bucky out for his morning duties. Ninja Cat wasn’t usually too far behind and then we had breakfast. We all would tinker on electronics until 9 or 9:30 then they dressed and brushed while I got some house work started (laundry or dishes). They would join me for a bit then it was time to get on with the theme of the day.

Monday

Monday we went to the Games Workshop Bunker close to us. Yes, we are a geeky family and we are getting our boys into painting figurines. We had dropped by there a week before after Ninja Cat’s best friend’s birthday party at Sky Zone and they really seemed to enjoy themselves, so I thought why not expose them to a little hands on time. So, we proceeded to carry an old box on unpainted figures, some paint that I had to bring back from near desiccation and a few brushes. James, the manager there is amazing! He was so good with both boys and handling the couple of customers that came in while we were there. He let them sit at a table while he demonstrated several techniques of painting. They sat, enraptured.

Tuesday

For Time to Read Tuesday, we spent some time at the library (duh!) after a very enjoyable lunch with Hubby at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Ninja Cat is currently obsessed with Big Nate books, so he picked out two of those and nearly finished one while Danger Boy and I picked out Geronimo Stilton, comic books and even The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for him to read. Then once we got home, and after a little more house work, we spent some time reading until it was time to get dinner ready.

Wednesday

What’s Cooking Wednesday found us making a picnic lunch and taking it to a park near my best friend ‘Eeyore’.  She, her little village, and we all needed some time outside. So the four of us (yes, we took Bucky) got our Vitamin D the natural way that day.

Thursday

Thursday was probably our busiest day. It’s usually Thoughtful Thursday, where we do something nice for someone else whether we know them or not. But, this Thursday brought about quite a few Scout oriented things. We went to a local radio station and toured how the voices get from the booths to our car and met some really nice people. Ninja Cat and Danger Boy were … enthusiastic. They especially liked the snack machine. That’s three dollars I’ll never get back. But it was worth it to me for them to have such a great time there.

We talked about what they learned on the way home, changed clothes and went to Panera Bread for a nice lunch and some time for them to play chess. We sampled things off their new menu (tortellini alfredo and penne Bolognese), both of which were very good. Lastly, we made sure to write our thank you notes to our host at Clear Channel. It was Thoughtful Thursday after all.

Friday

My boys always like Fridays. It’s Something Fun Friday. We went to Shelby Farms Park (yes, we took Bucky) with the same friend we met Wednesday. But this time was a little different. On the way, Ninja Cat got sick, yeah physically sick. I was in the process of turning around until he said getting sick made him feel better and he still wanted to go. So we went. So we ate (except for Ninja Cat). So we blew bubbles. So we sat in the grass and drew what we saw around us. So we went home and I let them gorge on video games until Hubby came home early. His boss was amazing and let him go home at 3:00 with the edict “It’s too pretty outside to work.” I love his new job.

I want ideas for this summer or even next Spring Break. What did you do/are you going to do for Spring Break this year?