Sunday, June 24, 2018

Texan Women.



Whether it's pop culture, business, or the political arena, nobody represents #goals better than Texas women. As an ode to the Texan woman, I'm doing a personal countdown of my top 8.


#8) BESSIE COLEMAN
I didn't know she existed until searching Google for this post. She quickly made my list. I felt like the laziest piece of garbage reading about her life. At the time, nobody in the United States would teach a woman (nor African American, nor Native American) to fly a plane. Being 1/2 Cherokee + 1/2 black, and a woman, she taught herself French, SAILED TO FRANCE, learned to fly planes, and came back the first black woman aviator in the United States at the AGE OF 29. I'm 31, yall. Oh, and she DIED 5 years later when a presumably white male pilot crashes the plane she's a passenger on. I WILL NEVER SAY 'LIFE ISN'T FAIR' AGAIN.




FAVORITE Bessie Coleman QUOTES:

"I refused to take no for an answer."
“The air is the only place free from prejudices.” 
“I decided blacks should not have to experience the difficulties I had faced, so I decided to open a flying school and teach other black women to fly.”

#7) TAMI TAYLOR
Though she only exists in my dreams and streaming on Netflix, Tami Taylor is the Texan woman of my dreams and my utmost role model. She perfectly balances the roles of respectful wife, nurturing mother, and sexy firecracker. She stands her ground, is down to earth, loves wine, cusses sometimes, but always comes through for those she loves (including herself).



FAVORITE Tami Taylor QUOTES: 

"I think, as a parent, the best thing you can do is just don't try to fix it, just be there for her, just let her know you love her."
"I just want you to have faith in something. Something that can hold you when I'm not going to be able to hold you anymore."



#6) Tie for Texan First Ladies LADYBIRD JOHNSON & LAURA BUSH
There have been two Texan United States presidents, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson and Republican George W. Bush. Both presidents were controversial at the time, but their beautiful, smart, classy wives were always popular with the country. One of Ladybird's campaigns was the Highway Beautification Act of 1965. Laura Bush had an approval rating of 82%, making her one of the most popular first ladies in our country's history (Gallup Poll Source). 




FAVORITE Ladybird Johnson QUOTES:

"The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom."
"Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest."

FAVORITE Laura Bush QUOTES:

"Americans pride ourselves on being a moral nation, on being the nation that sends humanitarian relief to places devastated by natural disasters or famine or war. We pride ourselves on believing that people should be seen for the content of their character, not the color of their skin. We pride ourselves on acceptance. If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place." (June 17, 2018, in response to Trump's separation of families at the Texan border)

#5) Tie for Politicians, Senator KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Representative BARBARA JORDAN, and Representative WENDY DAVIS

Kay Bailey Hutchison served as a Republican United States Senator from the state of Texas from 1993-2013. In 2001, she was named one of the thirty most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal. The first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate, Hutchison also became the first Texas U.S. senator to receive more than four million votes in a single election.


FAVORITE Kay Bailey Hutchison QUOTES:

"We cannot afford to lose the Medicaid funding for low-income women."


"When it comes to dividing Americans on the basis of their gender, I know a little something about the subject."



BARBARA JORDAN

Raised in Houston’s fifth ward, Barbara Jordan shattered a lot of glass ceilings for her successors. In 1966, Jordan was the first black woman to be elected to the Texas State Senate (and the first African American to be elected after the Civil War Reconstruction Era). In 1972, she was the first black woman to represent Texas in the United States House of Representatives, and upon her death in 1996, was the first black woman to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

FAVORITE Barbara Jordan QUOTES:

"My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total, and I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminuation, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution. It is reason and not passion which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision."
WENDY DAVIS
Wendy Davis made national news on 6/25/2013, when she held an 11 hour long filibuster protecting Senate Bill 5, in support of women's rights. The filibuster played a major role in Senate Democrats' success in delaying passage of the bill beyond the midnight deadline for the end of the legislative session, though it ultimately passed in a second session. The filibuster brought Davis national attention, leading to speculation about a run for governor. She subsequently ran for governor in 2014, but lost to Greg Abbott. He is our current governor (2018) and up for re-election in November, by another woman, keep your eyes peeled for Lupe Valdez (and consider voting for her! I will be!). 

FAVORITE Wendy Davis QUOTE:

"I've found that the things worth fighting for are always the hardest....There is meaning in each of these fights, in speaking truth to power and giving voice to unpopular causes. There is value in fighting for something important to you, even when the outcome is not what you hoped it would be. So my advice to you: if you fail, fail big! Fail with flair! Fail trying to do something real, something hard."
#4) SELENA.
Sometimes referred to as the "Queen of Tejano" or the "Mexican Madonna," Selena was an icon who merged cultures in the mainstream. She married her first love, and never let her fame or success go to her head. In July of 1995, "Dreaming of You" became the fastest selling album by a female artist in pop history. Her career was cut short due to her tragic murder at the young age of 24. Governor George W. Bush declared April 16 "Selena Day," and she will be celebrated and remembered forever.


FAVORITE Selena QUOTE:

"Although my Spanish is a little week. I feel that I am Mexican. I am very proud of my roots. And since I was little we played Tejano music besides English music and country. It was something natural for us."

#3) COUNTRY SINGER/SONGWRITERS NATALIE MAINES AND KACEY MUSGRAVES. 
I sure do love me some Texas country. My favorite country is that with a progressive message, imagine that. Nobody serves that up better than Texas women. Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks committed career suicide standing up for her convictions, and time has proven she was on the right side of history. 


FAVORITE Natalie Maines LYRICS:
(in response to the George W. Bush fiasco)

"I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should"

Kacey Musgraves is my favorite solo artist of all time. I love her voice, her aesthetic, her brand, her lyrics, her stances, her presentation, and her down-home Texan roots.


FAVORITE Kacey Musgraves LYRICS:

"I ain't pageant material
I'm always higher than my hair
And it ain't that I don't care about world peace
But I don't see how I can fix it in a swimsuit on a stage
I ain't exactly Ms. Congenial
Sometimes I talk before I think, I try to fake it but I can't
I'd rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain't"



#2) BEYONCE. 
Yall already know this Queen doesn't need a description. We get to claim her as ours. Boom.


FAVORITE Beyonce LYRICS:
"When you lie to me, you lie to yourself. You're only lying to yourself. When you love me, you love yourself. Love God Herself." 



#1) Former Texas Governor ANN RICHARDS
She was the 2nd female governor of Texas. Remember the good ol days (1990-1994), back when our governor was pro-education, pro-minority rights, and pro-government efficiency? She SAVED taxpayers an estimated $6 million. She was born in Texas, grew up in Waco, went to Baylor, and earned her certificate for teaching from UT. She married her high school sweetheart, moved to Austin, and had 4 kids. The oldest is Cecil Richards, the former CEO of Planned Parenthood (and keep your eyes peeled for her future political run!). Her 1988 Democratic National Convention keynote address was listed as #38 in American Rhetoric's Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century.

FAVORITE Ann Richards QUOTES:
    • "I'm delighted to be here with you this evening, because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like."
    • "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."
    •  "…two women in 160 years is about par for the course. But if you give us a chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels."
    •  "When we pay billions for planes that won't fly, billions for tanks that won't fire, and billions for systems that won't work, that old dog won't hunt. And you don't have to be from Waco to know that when the Pentagon makes crooks rich and doesn't make America strong, that it's a bum deal." 

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
(in no particular order)
JANIS JOPLIN
BONNIE PARKER (Bonnie & Clyde)
MIRANDA LAMBERT
KELLY CLARKSON
ERYKAH BADU
SELENA GOMEZ
HILLARY DUFF
JENNIFER GARNER
NORAH JONES
ST. VINCENT (ANNIE CLARK)
SOLANGE KNOWLES
EVA LONGORIA
CARRIE MARCUS (Neiman Marcus)
EBBY HALLIDAY
CAROL BURNETT
MARY KAY ASH (Mary Kay)
BETTE GRAHAM (creator of White Out)
JOAN CRAWFORD
FARRAH FAWCETT
JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT
JESSICA SIMPSON.
SANDRA BULLOCK.
RENEE ZELLWEGER
DEBBIE REYNOLDS (Will & Grace, Golden Girls)
SHERYL SWOOPS
CARO CRAWFORD BROWN (first Texan and first woman to win Pulitzer Prize in 1955)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Santa and God

Our trip on the Polar Express railroad has me in a deep spiral of introspection.



Santa.
God.
The parallels.

And how much fun it is to be on the other side of belief.

I rented The Polar Express and watched it several times with both daughters this year. Then, I felt like the ultimate mom, finding tickets to a Polar Express EXPERIENCE! Riding on a real train? Drinking hot cocoa while arriving at the North Pole to see Santa?! I was willing to pay every dollar in our bank account, justifying the importance of experiences over things. The tickets were bought. The trip was booked. I was stoked.

Prior to this trip to the North Pole, my husband questioned the experience, "So we are all in on this lie then? I mean, I'm cool with it, but I'm just confirming, like we're flat out lying to them and pretending to go somewhere that doesn't exist."

"Yup, and we're gonna have so much FUN with it, babe," I reassured him.

He took a half day off work, and I picked up Lilah Grace early from school. I bragged to the registrar, "I'm here to pick up Lilah Grace, we are headed to the North Pole!" The 2 1/2 hour drive as our family of 4 was the perfect chance for the girls to nap, while I excitedly listened to Christmas music, thinking about how much fun we were about to have, and the memories we would create together. Papa G worked diligently on his laptop.

I finally got us to the station, parked the car, and loaded the train. The hostess and "chefs" came dancing down the aisle to a soundtrack of The Polar Express. Hot chocolate and cookies were served, and the book was read aloud. This was honestly the best part...we were huddled up under our warm Pendleton blanket, and the hot chocolate and cookie really were delicious. Better than usual. We attributed it to the North Pole secret delicious recipe. Magical.


After about 30 minutes (maybe? Time warp. Who knows.) of cruising, we made it to the North Pole. I thought we would be parking and playing there, but it was more of a...drive-by. Papa G and I tried to contain our laughter. 

When our 4 1/2 year old daughter saw the elves jumping up and down in front of a painted refrigerator cardboard box, she had a look on her face. My husband and I locked eyes because we both knew that look. It wasn't upset. It was inquisitive. It was one of the first times our daughter felt cynicism. 

"Dad, I have a secret," she said as she leaned in toward him, cupping her mouth over his ear. She told him she thought the "elves are actually just people dressed up as elves."

"I think so, too," my husband responded. "But you know, the real elves are probably busy making toys. This is the busiest time of year for them." She bought it, hook line and sinker.

She's only 4. I want the magic of Santa and the innocence of childhood to last a few more years, at least! But it got me questioning why I was so protective of this myth. To me, the myth symbolizes innocence and joy. I started thinking about what our response will be when we do have that conversation. My hope is that she never felt lied to, and that she will be excited about being "in on the secret," affirming that the Spirit of Christmas and the Spirit of Santa are real, and we get to make magic for others by embodying that Spirit. It's even more fun to be the magic maker behind the scenes, than to be the recipient!

Then, I kept going in my mind. I felt light, and at total peace, when I merged Santa with God.



I have been a Sunday School teacher, a regular Bible Study attendee, an acolyte, and was confirmed after a year of study in the Methodist tradition! I definitely once believed God to be like a "Santa." An old, wise, loving man.


I started to wonder why so many Christians are so afraid to question their idea of God, when they don't seem to struggle explaining the Spirit of Christmas with Santa. Is it fear of hell? Is it fear of "just in case I'm wrong, I don't want to turn my back on God?" Isn't that the definition of superstition?

When people believe in God as an external deity and go to church, tithe, confess sins, and ask for things in prayer, they are really hoping for heaven ((toys)) and avoiding hell ((a lump of coal in your stocking)). Whether it's writing a letter to Santa asking for a toy, or praying to God asking for a miracle, the parallels are uncanny.

So many people will stop reading now. Blasphemous. Sacrilegious. But what good is your faith if you can't question it? What if the most common view on God ((keep in mind I live in the Bible Belt, yall)) is actually a super limited view on God?

I feel called to share this post, because I am on the other side of this, and it's not scary. It's actually very fulfilling and peaceful. I see God in everybody, rather than pretending God is somewhere, and hoping for it to be true.

So, why do we lie to our kids about Santa? Because they are age appropriate for it. Their innocent imaginations pair perfectly with Santa and elves on shelves. It's fun. And honestly, it helps their behavior! I once believed in both Santa and God, and I am grateful for those previous beliefs! I'm glad I had the opportunity to believe in Santa, and now get to be Santa. I once "believed in God," and now connect with God, through my own Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit in others. I think experiencing both Santa and God through a magical lens was once appropriate, and enticed me. Now, I want both to be real, so I insist on being both in my world. 

One thing I know for sure is prayer without action is spiritual laziness. Imagine the disappointment a child would have if they asked for presents from Santa, and nothing came at all, because the parents didn't give a shit. That's heartbreaking! This is a wake-up call. You are both the parent and the child. You are both Santa and God. Ask, and give. Pray, and act.

To me, Santa and God are both the inherent good of everyday people. Divine, Selfless, Unconditional Love. Every single day, God is right there. When you pick up the phone and call your mom, you're talking to God, through your mother. When you hug your spouse, you're hugging God, through the conduit of your spouse. When you gaze into your child's eyes, you're LOOKING at God. My unsolicited advice is to quit thinking about some "North Pole" (("Heaven")) destination that doesn't exist, and for goodness sake, don't pay $150 to fake it on the pretend Polar Express ((or, with the religious metaphor, by attending some of these mega-churches)). Open your eyes and see God, and be God. Know who Jesus was. He would've flipped tables at a mega-church. Christians don't need all those HDTVs and stages with fireworks and confetti. Jesus was a hippy. If you don't know that by now, you literally have not read the New Testament.



The awareness of being that Love, and embodying that Spirit, during this time of year especially, has me on a high. Thank you for making it this far and reading these musings. Thank you for considering this view if you haven't before. Thank you for affirming this view if you feel the same. Thank you in advance for praying for my salvation, if this has freaked you out. I know your heart is in the right place, and I know mine is, too.

xo,
L







Saturday, June 17, 2017

To The Divine Masculine.

It is no secret I have a deep reverence for women, for mothers, and for the Divine Feminine energy I see pulsing through this beautiful planet. However, on Father's Day, I want to focus my energy and gratitude toward the Divine Masculine and express my gratitude for the men and fathers in my life.

I am so grateful for my Daddy. He has been on a pedestal all my life, and for good reason. He is calm, collected, and has always been ready to catch me when I fall. He taught me to ride a bike at Lilah Grace's age, without training wheels! He took me camping on countless Indian Princess trips. He taught me the importance of listening to lyrics and appreciating good music.

I am so grateful for my father in law. He prepares dinner every single Sunday night for the entire family. He is focused on his family, and providing for us, whether that means working hard at his job, or grilling food for us all to eat. He has been extremely supportive of George and I when we became parents, and has been so motivating and spiritually connected to us during that transition into parenthood. He sets the bar so high.

I am so grateful for my husband. He is not my father, but he is an amazing father to our girls. Watching him keep his cool while talking Lilah Grace out of a fit impresses me. Watching him prepare healthy meals and cutting them up into small pieces for Everleigh is so endearing. I love seeing him play guitar or pedal steel while the girls stare in adoration. I love seeing him hoist Evy up on the stool at the drumset, and encouraging her to rock on. Seeing him snuggled up with both girls in our bed is one of my favorite things in this lifetime. He works tirelessly, providing for us a roof over our head, food in our bellies, and health insurance for peace of mind. I can never thank him enough for all the work + love he pours into this family, keeping us afloat. My morbid mind often races, thinking about how lost I'd be without him. I can't imagine doing this without my partner.

During this administration, I have found myself extremely disgusted with men. Hearing Trump utter the words "I grab 'em by the pussy, I moved on her like a bitch," and knowing how many men ((and women!)) voted for him anyway, was extremely disappointing to me. I understand not every Trump voter supported these statements, but they were willing to accept them and vote for him anyway. Quick sidenote, here is a bulleted list of comments our current president has made about women:

  • That Megyn Kelly had blood coming out of her ‘wherever.’
  • That Hillary Clinton got "schlonged" by Obama in 2008.
  • That “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have an abortion.
  • That he still believes sexual assault is an expected consequence of allowing women to serve in the military.
  • That the women who Roger Ailes sexually assaulted were "just complaining."
  • Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe who says Trump called her “Miss Piggy” (after she gained some weight) and “Miss Housekeeping” (because she is Latina). 
  • That Lindsay Lohan was probably "good in bed" because girls with "daddy issues" are the best in bed.
  • That he was able to watch Miss Teen America contestants change backstage, as one of the perks of being the owner of the competition.

Clearly, when I mention "The Divine Masculine," I am not referring to this disgusting excuse of a human being, nor anybody who thinks like him. But the good news is, not every man is like our current President. Thankfully, as a result of our misogynistic president, many men are becoming MORE outspoken on women's issues.

Seeing man after man after man sexually assault, rape, and/or kill women, and the justice system excusing them from serving time, has left me feeling hopeless and angry. However, the more I focus on these instances, the more I will continue to see these horrible situations manifest. I know I need to turn my energy toward the men in my life who are allies. Who stand up on behalf of women, who march alongside women, who demand equal pay + equal say for women in legislature, and who revere the Divine Feminine. Not every man is Divine. Most human beings are walking around completely unaware of their purpose or Divinity...but to the men who know their worth, I bow in reverence today.

I believe the Divine Masculine energy is filled with strength. Physical strength, but also spiritual strength. No matter the obstacles placed in front of Him, He will overcome. He doesn't fight for other people; he fights for Truth and Justice. He is the Divine Protector. He sets clearly defined boundaries for Himself and His Family. He is a King. He doesn't bow to kneel or worship anybody. He knows the Divine is within Himself. He is resilient. He is stable. He is active, logical, determined, sensible, goal-oriented, smart, rugged, and disciplined.

When the Divine Masculine + Divine Feminine merge, the Divine Union becomes the building block of the entire universe. The Divine Masculine is the Oak, and the Divine Feminine is the Willow. The Divine Union is perfectly balanced, unconditionally accepting + loving + honoring. There is nothing more Holy than Divine Love.

I am honored to be in this body, at this time, with my Man. My Divine, Holy, Beautiful Husband, I love you, I respect you, and I honor you. Thank you for fathering our children with such Divine Love.

xo,
L


Sunday, May 14, 2017

To The Moms of Young Kids in 2017.

Dear Mothers of Young Children in 2017,

You are appreciated.

Thank you for every single lunch you made, and every caring note you wrote and tucked in the lunchbox. You did this every single day of the school year, and you weren't thanked a single time, but you continue to do it because your source of love for your children comes from the Divine.

And yet, the Divine has been historically called "Father God." Well, this year, I'm calling bullshit.

Thank you for every single dish you've put in the dishwasher, every single load of clean dishes you put away, every single dog hair you swept up, and every single load of disgusting human hair you took out of the hairbrush and threw away. Thank you for all of the comforting you provided for your teething child. Thank you for brushing your child's teeth. Thank you for finding clothes for your child. Thank you for feeding your child. Thank you for talking to, listening to, and playing with your child. Not one of these were acknowledged (and if you'd blown it off,  you know damn well you would have heard about it). But thank you.

Thank you for every load of laundry. Yes, all 12, every week, that you put in the washer, switch to the dryer, run an extra cycle because you're picking up your kid from school, take out of the dryer, fold, and put away. Thank you for doing this. If the laundry hadn't been done, you would've heard "Where is my white shirt? Where is my blue dress? I have no clean underwear!" but you did the laundry. You didn't hear a thank you. But you're getting it now.

Thank you for every class party. Thank you for every parent student conference. Thank you for every missed day of work so you could be present for your child. Thank you, to the moms who GAVE UP THEIR CAREERS AND ARE SOMEHOW RIDICULED FOR BEING LAZY?! Thank you to the moms who CAN'T TAKE A SICK DAY AND ARE SOMEHOW RIDICULED FOR BEING ABSENT PARENTS?!

Thank you for the fresh flowers that are always in the house. Thank you for the tidying up every other hour of every single day. Thank you for feeding the dogs, letting out the dogs, changing their water, and watering the house plants. Thank you for making this HOUSE A HOME.

Thank you for 9 months of SOBRIETY. Whether you asked for a child or winded up pregnant. Thank you for dealing with morning sickness, with heartburn, with monthly, then bi-weekly, then weekly appointments taking away from your career. Thank you for the lack of sleep, the cramping, the fatigue. Pregnancy is HARD. Thank you for BIRTHING. Whether you went without drugs, whether you did it from home, in the water, or you had an epidural, or you had a c-section. Who gives a shit. It's all hard.fucking.work. And not one man on the face of this planet EVER has done it. THANK YOU FOR THE GIFT OF LIFE.

Thank you to the moms who were willing to endure every ache, pain, contraction, and incision, but couldn't. And chose to pursue adoption or in vitro. Thank you for every paper you filled out, every appointment you scheduled. You are the organizer behind the scenes, and you do the bulk of the work. I know you do. You drive this ship, and your husband is called the Captain. Thank you.

Thank you to the biological moms who found themselves pregnant and knew they weren't ready. Let us not underestimate the wisdom and heartache they have been through. Warriors, every one of you.

Every act you do is taken for granted. Every single thing you do at this point is unacknowledged. You see your husband hold your toddler while walking from the park to the car and hear the accolades. "What a good daddy! What a hands-on father!" and you shrug it off. You know your efforts are taken for granted. He was born in a man's world, and so he is praised and you are constantly falling short. And if somehow, you are able to do every single thing expected of you, but somehow not fit in your pre-pregnancy jeans, or have your child naturally "the way God intended," or God Forbid, not have conceived and grown your child in utero, you are somehow innately flawed. You're not flawed. You're perfect. And you work your fine ass off every single day.

Thank you for dusting the house, or for finding the housekeeper who dusts your house and works out her schedule and pays her. Thank you for watching your children, or for finding the nanny who watches your children and works out her schedule and pays her. Thank you for planning your child's birthday party. Thank you for finding the babysitter for date night. Thank you for not having gone on a date for years, because you're a single mother and between work + parenting, there is no time for a love life.

Your children are too young to thank you so your children's father should.

And if he takes you for granted, just as most of this world does,
know that this woman,
behind this glowing screen,
sees you, acknowledges you, and thanks you.

And if he does appreciate you, and if he does thank you,
hold him close,
and know that he is a special man worthy of your love.

In the Name of The Mother, The Daughter, and The Holy Spirit. Amen.



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mothers Rising

We are Women Rising.
Right here, right now, this is the age of the Mother.
Whether or not one has birthed a child, adopted a child, fostered a child…we, as women, are all Mothers of this Earth. 
We are all Mothers of this Country.
And, like any good mother, we must love and nurture our country back to health. Right here, right now
When a toddler is throwing a tantrum, the mother might want to raise her hand, or yell, but if she can take a deep breath and honor the Divine within her, she knows that child either needs time alone, or some attention. Perhaps, the child needs both. The Ultimate Mother allows her child space to feel those intense feelings, and then embraces and rocks her child. The Divine Mother kisses her child’s tear-soaked cheeks, and reminds the toddler, “I love you. I’m here, and I’ll love you forever.” It is through love that the child calms down.
When a troubled teen is speeding down the road, sneaking out of the house, doing things with people he shouldn’t be with, saying things he shouldn’t be saying, the mother might want to scream in his face. “I RAISED YOU BETTER THAN THIS! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!” She might want to take away his keys, ground him from seeing his friends, and speak to him in a condescending way to ensure he knows who the boss is. The Ultimate Mother creates strong boundaries, allows the teen to explore his feelings within safe parameters, and then embraces and rocks her teen. The Divine Mother kisses her teen’s cheeks, despite him brushing her off, insisting that she’s “gross” and embarrassing him. She kisses him anyway. “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be,” she lovingly reminds her teen of the bedtime classic she used to read to him when he was younger.
American women, I’m speaking to you. Our country is our child. Our country is acting out. She has been defiant, rebellious, and irresponsible. Believe me when I say I want to shake this country into submission. Believe me when I say I think I know best, and need to impose my beliefs on this country FOR THE SAKE OF THE COUNTRY, just like a mother wants to impose her opinions on her child for the SAKE OF HER CHILD. Every annoying political post I’ve made has been rooted in love and deep concern for this country I love so much.
Every mother has her less-than-perfect moments. We have all disappointed our children, our spouses, and ultimately, ourselves. I know I have. I know I’m not the perfect mom. And I’m not the perfect American, and I’ve definitely gotten out of hand on social media. It seems like every time I log on, I am overwhelmed with anxiety, fear, concern, and sadness. I have often questioned deleting my account, but this voice inside thinks maybe I can make a difference, and I need to keep my account activated to maintain a platform. 
I read some reassuring words from my friend Amber Magnolia Hill’s account:
“We aren’t meant to take in this much bad news at once. The amount of devastating, terrifying headlines flying at us every hour since the Orange Fuhrer’s inauguration is completely overwhelming. A living nightmare. If you’re feeling anxious or hopeless, please know you’re not alone. This isn’t normal, and our nervous systems did not evolve to handle this much stress-this many threats to the wellbeing of ourselves and the people we love and the planet we all exist because of-at once.”
The feeling of solidarity, camaraderie, and support is getting me through this President’s first week. I know when I’ve had a rough week parenting, I lean on my spouse, my mom and mother-in-law, and my mama friends, because they know the struggle. They know what I’m going through, they feel my pain, and they can offer support. I am not deleting Facebook, even with this tense political climate, because it is my source of support. There are many of us out there (over 70% of this country, in fact) who do not approve of Donald Trump. And living in Texas, I sometimes feel like that’s not the case in my interactions with people on the daily. 
So I will stay on here. And because of that decision, I am going to have to change the way I internalize these feelings. 
I am going to try to be the best Mother to this country I can be. I will continue to love this country, even when She is pissing me off. I will kiss Her, rock Her, and love on Her, reminding Her that I love Her. I will not threaten to move to Canada because I would never threaten to walk out on my kids. I'm not going anywhere. I'm not done Mothering yet.
I will do this through peaceful demonstrations and my voice. I felt so uplifted by my community at our Women’s Sister March. And when I see or hear people chastising my efforts, I will let it go in one ear and out the other, just like I do when my toddler is whining. I will pick my battles. Healthcare for pre-existing conditions is a battle I am ready to fight. I will not stand idly by if a Muslim Registry is formed. I will not complacently watch more innocent black lives taken by the hands of police. I will remind this country that building a wall we can't afford is hateful and financially irresponsible. I will stand and fight for respect and equality for women, because I am raising two of them. I’m invested in these issues, and I will peacefully resist policy that endangers equal rights for every single American. 
This moment will be written about in history books. I believe we will look back and thank the Mothers. The Mothers are Rising. We will love America through this rough stretch, and we will make it out alive. 
XO,
L

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Obama's Letter to His Daughters vs. Trump's Letter to American Daughters

As a mother of 2 young girls, I'd like to take the time to type out the words President Barack Obama wrote as a letter to his daughters, in the book "Of Thee I Sing," and juxtapose them to Donald Trump's actual quotes. Please try to understand why, not only as a woman, but as a mother raising strong young women, I am still horrified that this man has been elected to be the leader of our country. I cannot allow his morals or words or anybody who condones them, permeate my home or my family.


"Have I told you lately how wonderful you are? How the sound of your feet running rom afar brings dancing rhythms to my day? How you laugh and sunshine spills into the room?"
-President Obama


“It doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
—Donald Trump to Esquire in 1991 


"Have I told you that you are creative?....Have I told you that you are smart...brave? Have I told you that you are a healer? Have I told you that you have your own song? Have I told you that you are strong?" 
-President Obama


"If Hillary Clinton can't satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?" 
-Donald Trump, on his Twitter account, 4/16/15 @ 5:22 PM 


"Have I told you how important it is to honor others' sacrifices? Have I told you that you are kind? Have I told you that you don't give up? Have I told you that you are an explorer? Have I told you that you are inspiring?" 
-President Obama


"(Lindsay Lohan)'s probably deeply troubled and therefore great in bed. How come the deeply troubled women, you know, deeply, deeply troubled, they're always the best in bed? You don't want to be with them for long term, but for the short term there's nothing like it."
-Donald Trump on the Howard Stern show, December 2004


"Have I told you that you are part of a family? A man named Abraham Lincoln knew that all of America should work together. He kept our nation one and promised freedom to enslaved sisters and brothers. This man of the people, simple and plain, asked more of our country-that we behave as kin. Have I told you to be proud to be American? Our first president, George Washington, believed in liberty and justice for all....Have I told you that America is made up of people of every kind? People of all races, religions, and beliefs. People from the coastlines and the mountains. People who have made bright lights shine by sharing their unique gifts and giving us the courage to lift one another up, to keep up the fight, to work and build upon all that is good in our nation." 
-President Obama

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything...Grab them by the pussy." -Donald Trump, Access Hollywood with Billy Bush, 2005

"Have I told you that they (Americans) are all a part of you? Have I told you that you are one of them, and that you are the future? And have I told you that I love you?"
-President Obama
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I don't know what to tell my daughters. I don't know where to go from here. This is not a difference of political persuasion. This is electing a dangerously misogynistic man in office. There are literally dozens more quotes that are equally (if not more) offensive to women. This doesn't even include the statements he's made about minorities. 
For those people who don't understand why Americans are still upset about this election, maybe this clears it up. We are downgrading, big time. Put all politics aside for just a moment. Look at President Obama: the man, the husband, the father. Look at him as the leader of this country and this world. His values. His morals. Look at what we'll have for the next four years with Trump. I will do my best to shelter my children from his words + actions. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't deeply worried. How ironic, the party that touted "family values" and claimed to be the party of Christianity, elected Trump. Never have I felt so conservative in my life. I'm worried for my daughters. I'm worried for women. I'm worried for minorities. I'm worried about America's future, and I'm grieving the loss of President Obama. 

xo,
L

Friday, November 4, 2016

Dear Daughters,

Sweet Girls,

You have been rockin' my world lately. We are definitely in a sweet spot. Lilah Grace, you're 3 1/2 years old and you have me laughing on the daily. Everleigh Rose, you're 10 months old, and your personality has really been emerging! You girls are my world. I find it difficult to get my mind off of you for more than an hour. When I'm at work, I'm constantly showing off your pictures to co-workers and patients. When Dad and I go on dates, we talk about you. Our favorite people to be with are our family members, so we can all obsess over yall. They get it. Strangers would be bored to tears.

For as long as I can remember, my greatest fear in life has been losing my people. But a close second has been losing my memories. I've had such awful short-term memory loss after Evy was born; this motivated me to document as much as I can now, to save for later.

Fortunately, we have dear friends and family members who are extraordinary professional photographers. Aunt Yana came over the other day, and served as a "fly on the wall" to document a typical afternoon so we can remember what life was like for us now. I hope when you look back on your childhood, you smile and feel warm + fuzzy like I do with mine, and like I know I will when I think back on raising yall. These truly are "the good 'ol days."

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to work, but on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we spend the days together, just us girls. The weekends with dad are sacred.

A typical Monday/Wednesday/Friday starts when Everleigh cries in her crib. Either Dad or I will go get you, and bring you into our bed. I am still breastfeeding you, even though I don't think I'm making any milk anymore. We both still enjoy the snuggles, and it buys me a slower wake-up time. Hehe. Shortly after, we hear Stella's collar jingling, and Lilah Grace, you're headed straight to the pantry for your granola (("canola")) bar. You ask Dad for chocolate milk (("the sweet kind")) as if he hasn't done this before, and he gets you your milk and my coffee. The four of us snuggle in bed, and usually watch an episode of "My Little Pony." LG, your favorite is Rainbow Dash. Dad's is Twilight Sparkle. Mine is Princess Celestia. Everleigh's is, umm, my boobs.

After my coffee kicks in, I put Evy in the highchair with finger foods and make LG's lunch. We get you both dressed, and it's off to school. I drop you off in the drop-off line and you go in there like a champ. You love school. Evy naps immediately after ((usually) and I catch up on groceries/laundry/cooking/cleaning. After what seems like a couple of minutes, I go back to pick you up, and the three of us come home. Home..I absolutely love our home. I hope you both do, too. It's definitely more than just a house; this place feels like home to me, and I never want to move.









After school, we go straight to the kitchen and have snacks // Everleigh eats lunch. When my phone isn't broken, you both are begging to play with one of your apps. I usually let you, because I pick my battles. :)

Evy, you are a CHOWHOUND. I have never seen a baby eat as much as you. You eat basically everything I do, and honestly, more, just in tiny pieces. When you're fussy, I throw food at you, and that usually does the trick. Lilah Grace, you used to eat basically anything, but you've been pickier lately.

After snack, if Evy is a mess, we'll do a sink bath. Honestly, we sometimes do three sink baths a day. I just let you get totally messy feeding yourself, and then straight to the sink we go. Sometimes you hang with us, LG, and sometimes you go to your playroom and play for a bit. Sometimes I put you in your high chair and give you paints. You've been really into painting lately, and I've been really proud of your masterpieces. Your favorite game on my phone is this vet game, where you get to "fix" the animals. The game helped you overcome your fear of spiders, and taught you all about the purpose of x-rays. You love fixing the animals, and seeing them "party" after you "fix" them all. I know people have their judgments on screen time, but honestly, in moderation, I think it's fine, and you're adorable and so excited when you get to play with it!




Evy, after filling up your tummy and cleaning you off, we make our way to the nursery. I put either clothes or PJs on you ((it's never too early for pajamas)), and put you down for your afternoon nap. Lilah Grace, after I put Evy down for rest, while she's crying it out, I'll read you a book and/or tell you a story. You've been really into stories from when we were kids, or "tall tales," where we make up stories that are just pretend. You've definitely figured out how to stall. You probably actually take your afternoon nap 50% of the time, but if you aren't sleeping, you're at least quiet, and having some downtime while I have some, too.






The simultaneous afternoon nap is rare, but a treat for me. I love my time with you girls when we're reading, laughing, eating, or playing, but it's nice to turn my brain off for a little while, and have some "me" time. The first thing I always do is straighten up the house. I like the house to be tidy before I unwind. After straightening up, I'll do something for myself. I try to go inward. I'll meditate, play with Tarot cards, or journal. My favorite gratitude practice is writing thank you notes. I've also been enjoying getting a little bit of time in on my yoga mat and stretching out. Sometimes I just drink coffee in bed and watch a "grown up show" to decompress. I usually always do laundry and prep for dinner. Usually, it's not too long until one of you is awake!



Evy, your crawl is cute + funky. You pull yourself with one leg and drag the other and it looks like an army crawl. You're getting faster everyday. You're pulling yourself up and can even balance on both feet without help for a second or two! It won't be long before you're walking. You have 4 teeth completely in ((top two + bottom two)) and are currently cutting two more on top and two more on bottom for a total of 8! You're a little irritable, but we caved and got you an amber necklace, which I swear has been helping! We give you teething tablets and ice rings, too. Lilah Grace, you've been learning how to cut with scissors in school, which reminds me, I need to buy kid scissors for the house. You know all letters and numbers up to 30. You got an outstanding report card just a couple weeks ago! You are seriously a genius; I want to continue to foster your inquisitive nature ((your questions are never-ending)) + love of the human body + interest in animals. You've considered yourself to be a "mama wolf" for the past couple of months, and howl at the moon. You ask me what's inside your body at least three times a week, and we go through organs, muscles, and bones.






I usually call Dad around 5:30 and ask for his ETA. When he comes home, we feel complete. I really look forward to his arrival, because he's my best friend, and I love the energy he brings to our home. We eat dinner together around our cheap kitchen table after we each say what we're grateful for. Lately the sun has been setting earlier, and with the darkness comes the nighttime routine. Sometimes yall rock the sister bath, but if Evy had a sinkbath in the afternoon and is still clean, sometimes you fly solo, LG. I've been weaning the nighttime feedings for Evy, so I'll read her a book in the rocking chair and then put her in the crib while Dad does story and bedtime with LG. Everleigh still loves her Gentle Baby oil every night, and Lilah Grace still loves sleeping with Stella. 

My favorite part of each day is when you both are safe + sound + asleep in bed, and your dad and I can Netflix and Chill. I love yall something fierce, but he is still my favorite person.

I usually fall asleep within 30 minutes. 

******************************************************************

I've become more interested in the elements since realizing Everleigh Rose is a "Fire" sign. Once I realized this, I had an "aha moment." You two girls are so different. And I love you each so much, in such different ways! There is more than enough love to go around. I'm a sucker for personality typing, so I did a little research, and found that Lilah Grace and Dad are "Earth" + I'm "Air" which means our little family is "Earth, Wind, and Fire," hehe. This also means I'm on a quest to have more "Water" signs in our home to help cool things off a bit! 

What I've found to be consistent with both Lilah Grace and Dad, is "Earth" people tend to be grounded + practical. They thrive with a dependable routine. They are loyal and they ((unsurprisingly)) have a deep personal connection with the earth.

Everleigh, my "Fire" girl, is enthusiastic, humorous, dramatic, and fun. Much like other "Fire" people, you are a natural performer with your dancing and singing. You are always reaching for an instrument. You also easily swing from one extreme to the other, and I believe as you learn to talk, you will speak straight from the heart. You're not even a year old, but you are so passionate. 

"Air" people are curious, independent, observant, and impractical. Thankfully, I have my practical "Earth" partner to keep me in check. "Air" people are described as intellectuals always on a quest for new information. We are apparently the best storytellers ((I do love writing; but I think Dad does a better job in the "tall-tale" department at bedtime)). We often struggle with grounding ourselves and can be fickle. 

Element info paraphrased from Debra Silverman Astrology.

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To my sister-in-law, Yana, thank you from the bottom of my heart for capturing our daily grind. This is exactly what I want to remember. I know I'll blink and these precious girls will be grown and out of the house, and I'll want to look back and remember these moments. My favorite days are ones without plans, without a disruption to the routine, so I can totally soak up the Here and Now. You made our minutia look beautiful, and you saw my family the way I do, and that is truly a gift. Thank you for sharing your gift with me.

And to my babies... I still can't believe we made you! You're both pure magic. I hope you know my love for you is unconditional and unwavering. I absolutely love being your mom. I think Mary Oliver said it best:

“Still, what I want in my life

is to be willing

to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts



and maybe even

to float a little
above this difficult world.” 



Thank you for dazzling me by being the most authentic human beings I've ever known. When I'm with yall, I'm able to float.

xo,
Mama