Peace in Speaking Up

I generally find that peace comes from within. And voicing my thoughts do not necessarily help me to find a calmer state. However, there are times when words must be shared. When ideas must be conveyed. When action is required.

What occurred yesterday in Uvalde, Texas is an atrocity. While it is clear that the shooter was responsible for taking the lives of children and a teacher, I fear each of us has blood on his hands, as we’ve sat by doing nothing to help the gun violence issues in the United States.

I cannot remain silent. The 2nd Amendment was drafted in 1791, during a very different time. In those days, every man between the ages of 16 and 60 was required by law to join the militia at any given time. It was also a time when pests and vermin were readily handled with a musket or a flintlock pistol. This was clearly well before semiautomatic weapons or magazines existed.

Today, people think they have a right to continue to bear arms. Individuals claim it is an “infringement of rights” to deny this. This is a cowardly, ill-fitted phrase attempting to give people the power to believe they have rights to do anything they please, when they don’t. You don’t have the right to keep rules in place that aren’t working, but are instead taking the lives of innocent people.

What does a modern society need semiautomatic weapons for?

Why can we purchase magazines of anywhere from 20-100 rounds of ammunition in a clip?

Why don’t we need background checks to obtain weapons?

Why haven’t we come up with a solution to end the gun violence epidemic?

Lots of people I love and care about enjoy using guns to hunt, which provides substantial food supply and a source of sportsmanship and entertainment. To that I say, there are other ways to get food and find entertainment. A bow and arrow, a crossbow, skeet shooting. Maybe if you live in Alaska and need to protect your family from a bear I could understand the need for a weapon. But semiautomatics? That’s like saying you need a tank to get to school. I’m calling bullshit.

I fail to see how or why any of this makes sense. We need legislation to take away the weapons responsible for killing innocent people over and over and over and over again. Other countries have restrictions in place that protect their populace.

The UK banned handguns after the school shooting in Dunblane in 1996.

In Ireland, “all firearms must be licensed individually, each applicant must have a good reason for having the firearm, must have a safe place in which to use it, must have a secure place in which to store it, and to be of sound mind and temperate habits.”

“Canada puts guns into three categories: prohibited (most handguns that have a short barrel or are .32 or .25 caliber, fully automatic weapons, guns with sawed-off barrels, and certain military rifles like the AK-47), restricted (some handguns, some semi automatic rifles, and certain non-semi automatic rifles), and non-restricted (regular and some military-style shotguns and rifles). The general idea is that more dangerous guns face much harsher regulations and restrictions on purchase, ownership, and storage” (Lopez, 2018).

In Switzerland, automatic weapons are banned to civilians. Further, “Private gun ownership generally requires a license, for which an applicant “must be at least 18 years of age, may not have been placed under guardianship, may not give cause for suspicion that he would endanger himself or others with the weapon, and may not have a criminal record with a conviction for a violent crime or of several convictions for nonviolent crimes,” according to the Library of Congress’s review of Swiss gun laws. The license is valid for six to nine months, and it’s usually valid only for one weapon” (Lopez, 2018).

Remember learning the rules in elementary school? Sometimes they felt a little silly because you were that kid who could handle yourself. Like gum chewing. I knew not to chew in front of the teacher, not to spit my gum on the floor or to tuck it under the desk, but we couldn’t chew gum. None of us. It was rude and we all had to abide because other kids didn’t know better. Rules are more often than not put in place to take care of the lowest common denominator. We’ve proven as an American society that we can’t handle the training, the education, the care, and the safety needed to keep children safe from guns. So, you lose. We all lose. And as a result, we need to clamp down on this NOW.

I’ve already written to two senators. I have more on my list for this weekend. We need to make a change. Because now, we have a culture of gun violence on our hands. This is what has become an American norm and I’m just not ok with that.

If you disagree, I welcome you to. But consider this: we need a change. Something. Anything. Because children are dying. Innocent people are dying, and we need to do something about it. You want to keep your guns? Figure out how we’re supposed to do that without losing more innocent lives. Cuz’ I’m ready to throw them all away.

Praying for peace.

Peace in Grampie’s Breakfast

Photo by ArtHouse Studio on Pexels.com

My dad came to visit us this past week. What a blast. He snowbirds in Florida, making the winter months scarce for visits. Now that he’s back in town, he bopped over to our house to see the kids, chat business with Hubs, and hang out with me.

My dad is super chill and laid back. He’s been retired for a while and lives a pleasant, fun, very social life. I’m happy for him and proud that he’s created exactly what he intended for himself.

Imagine my surprise when he rose at 7 a.m. this week to make breakfast. The kiddos get on the school bus at 7:49 a.m.- give or take- and Grandpie was up and about early, working on a meal for all six of us before that bus came down the lane.

He stopped at his favorite Deli in Astoria before his trip to us, bought kielbasa and bacon, and decided to make kielbasa and eggs for breakfast. He shreds the meat with a cheese slicer, adds a ton of shredded cheese and cooks it up: packed with good protein and fats.

I have declined this meal many times throughout my childhood. But now, as an adult, I’m so grateful for the help, so thankful he’s passed this super simple, delicious meal he shared with his father, that I ate it all up. LM3 liked the kielbasa the most out of everyone and asked for seconds.

This week, our peace came in the form of a shared meal. Reflecting back on the week, this is the thing that centers me and brings calm to my mind. A simple breakfast, steady, generous hands to make it, and full tummies.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace.

Peace in the Soil

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The weather is finally warm enough to get my hands back in the soil. It has been for a few weeks.

Oh, the peace.

My gardens are, clearly, my happy place. And I have returned.

There is something so incredible about working gloveless in the soil. I like to feel the dirt under my fingernails. I don’t even mind when I graze a worm or grub. They used to be “gross” when I was a little girl. Now, they’re a part of being outside, of gardening, of knowing the earth beneath me.

This year I have a ton of maintenance to do. Weed pulling, mulching, moving paver stones, etc. I’m trying not to buy new flowers, though it’s tempting. The nursery keeps the plants so beautiful and thriving (how do they do it?!). They look so gorgeous I often feel like I can’t help myself.

So I focus on peace.

It’s a practice.

It takes patience and concentration.

I don’t need more plants. I need to wait; for things to grow and spread and fill in the holes. This will take years, but it will save money and give the plants their freedom to blossom and bloom and spread. I must let the plants be what they are– living, growing, thriving organisms that will fill in the gaps in the garden beds when given the nutrients and time they need.

I am peaceful when I’m in my garden, doing the work. I’m peaceful when I’m dirty and grubby, my hands dark with earth. I grew up with garden-loving parents, and a vegetable-growing grandfather. So, I’ve always seen others in the soil, but I never understood the joy of helping things to grow until I bought my first house.

I dabbled in the soil there while my babies napped, a monitor close in hand, waiting for them to wake up and beckon me.

In our second home, I have the gift of sunlight on multiple flower beds. While we have deer that munch many things, my garden is full of things they won’t eat, and full of brilliant flowers I never could have planted in house #1’s shadowy, tree-filled yard.

I have come into the light.

I have come into peace.

And I couldn’t be happier.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in the Maze

The maze begins just to the left!!!

Hubs and I took the kids to Williamsburg for spring break this year. We love the Burg and I am always slightly shocked at how much this town feels like home, as soon as we arrive. The air smells like home. Was it the tulips? Maybe the hyacinth? Maybe it’s The Cheese Shop. (I may have been dreaming of a roast beef sandwich with house dressing prior to our arrival.)

This year we paced ourselves differently.

What a gift!

What a blessing!

To create a general idea of what we’d like to do and then allow the needs of the kids to breathe life into each day was incredible. While I wanted to make time for Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg, I truly let the kids decide what they’d like to explore. The fluidity of this plan was LIBERATING.

By week’s end, the children’s favorite feature was the Hedge Maze behind the Governor’s Palace. They ran and ran and worked to memorize it. The hedges are tall and the kids could not see anything but the path in front of them. They could shout to one another, asking for clues about which way to turn.

How blissful. How peaceful. How present we needed to be to focus on the maze!

I could have followed them into the maze, but realized quickly I would lose them. Their speed and dexterity were just incredible to watch. And I had an easier time seeing everyone from the eagle’s eye view just above the maze.

It’s that just the greatest metaphor for life? It can be easier to guide others when you sit back and watch from a better vantage point. How many times have I dove headfirst into my kids’ problems? Only to get upset right along with them and lose my focus?

The kids invented games in the maze. They established new rules for each journey through. Then they added in a game of tag! It was a-maze-ing. In every sense. I got a little rest on a bench in the shade and I listened to their big plans. I laughed to myself and reminisced about the triathlon we alumni completed before graduation (if we were lucky).

Joy. Joy. Joy.

I’ve never felt more relaxed and grateful during my time on a vacation. I was thankful to have my family around, to experience new things, and to watch the kids love the experience so much. You can bet your bottom we returned to the hedge maze a day later, and more joy ensued.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!