Peace in a Rose Bush

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I was sitting on the porch a few days ago, taking in the breeze and trying hard to focus on absolutely nothing. In the winter, Hubs and I pulled our porch railings off and mused at how nice this was.

“We’ll be able to see more of the roses this way,” Hubs said.

It was a funny thing to say in the middle of winter, but that’s how Hubs thinks: ahead.

Since our porch is pretty low to the ground, it doesn’t require railings. Seeing the porch in a whole new way was awesome. And now that summer is finally here (practically) and the roses have come in, it’s feeling especially lovely.

Today I noticed the roses and thought how much they are like people. The bush is a community. And each rose, each leaf, each tiny part has a purpose that makes the entirety of the rose bush stunning. I was so thankful, looking at the roses, and even more thankful to notice how much I loved the entire bush: the green, oval leaves, the brilliant blooming pink petals, the buds not yet ready to open, but eagerly preparing themselves, and even the dying buds. Truthfully! I love the tactile process of deadheading– it’s so satisfying, though I can’t explain why.

Everything about those beautiful rose bushes amaze me. This year, I had to move one of the five we keep. I uprooted it and did a pretty poor job of the task. And yet….the bush is slowly growing in its new spot. And next year, it will be nearly back to itself. Not quite, but well on its way. I know this. Because plants are resilient and roses are as tough as they come.

I’m so thankful to have learned at least a little about plants to know what to expect each year. And some years, when a bloom is not performing, or a plant needs something else to help guide its growth, I know how to help, and I know that even if conditions aren’t perfect this year, there will always be next year.

All of this makes me think of life. Those roses are so much like people. And what’s pretty cool is this: it’s possible to love every bit and every part of something. Because each part of the bush serves a critical function to make the entirety as beautiful as it is.

I’m not much of a religious person these days. But if there is a “God” or some kind of master creator, I’d like to think she planned things this way: to give each part of a greater whole some incredible purpose, merely to create beauty and wonder. I’d like to think there is some force out there that loves everyone, no matter if they’re a rose or a thorn, because they all work together to achieve something magnificent.

I’d like to think there’s something down inside of me that can love everyone, from petal to thorn, because we’re all working together in some mystical, unexplainable way.

Thinking these thoughts brought me peace this week. What about you? What brought you peace? Share the peace.

Peace in “Just Wait”

“Just wait,” she said.

I can hear her voice like it was yesterday, and her words were not the ones I wanted to hear.

“Just wait,” she told my pain, my frustration, my dismay.

“How long?” I wanted to know.

But she didn’t have an answer for that.

And she was right.

After Baby #2 came into our family, life got really tough. I was unhappy. I yelled a lot. I cried a lot. I was depressed. “Fun” seemed a thing of the past that I’d banished forever to replace with poopy diapers and a cycling of nap time. Then we added Baby #3. And suddenly, everything made sense again. I knew what to do, how to be, and came home to my peace.

Today I sat under a pine tree at our local pool club, where, mystically, all of the kids are satisfied. There is something to amuse every age and I feel a surge of peace warming the toes I dipped into cool water moments earlier.

I waited and all of my dreams came true. I believed and said to myself, “just wait,” because she told me to and I listened because I love her so much.

Today, I mused on the peace I’ve found in the phrase “just wait.” Because sometimes things cannot feel perfect or even close to it. But I can wait. And time will pass. The pain will pass. The frustrations will pass, and it will have been worth the wait.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

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

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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.