How to Create Hope

To my fellow Trump haters who are waking up this morning confused, I would like to share with you the hope that is keeping my spirits high regardless who is the POTUS.

-Above all, my joy does not come from circumstance. My joy comes from a higher power beyond myself that is the source of all love, all positive energy and all good things. No one can take that away from me.

-Of all the things on the ballot yesterday, this particular bubble affects our lives the least. It gets the most attention because of the media. It’s the one and only race  they can talk about that applies to all their viewers. However, state and local politics affect our lives in much more substantial ways. Get involved at the local level if you want change. Plus, thank God for balance of powers. He can’t be the dictator he has been in his other roles because our system prevents it.

-Look at the last 100 years of elections. America just keeps flip flopping between parties because many believe the slogans that this ONE person can make things better. Not true. Actually….biggest lie we could possibly EVER be fed. The only ONE person that can have a significant impact on your life is YOU! That’s it. Don’t like something about your life? Fix it. Upset about a particular issue? Take action. Every single issue they debate is actually best reformed through the actions of the American people. We vote more strongly with our attitudes, time, and dollars than our voting booths. If there is something you don’t like about your life or your community then take ownership over it and bring some like-minded friends along to make a difference. That’s always how things improve. We don’t need to make America great again. It already IS! You have all the resources you need at your disposal to start making a difference. You are not a victim of circumstance!!!!!

-Remember to focus on your circle of influence. I have friends texting me and posting on social media about being in states of fear, sobbing, and stressing. This does not serve you or your country. You must evaluate your circle of influence. Here’s an exercise. Draw a large circle to represent all the issues you are worried or concerned about. Next, inside that circle, draw another circle to represent the things you are worried about that you can actually do something about. Now, let the rest go. AH! I know….it feels so hard sometimes, right? But it’s a total waste of your energy to spend any time there. It’s robbing the impact you can make in the smaller circle. Pour all your energy you are using to stress into improving yourself, your family, and your community. We each only have a finite amount of energy within are bodies and minds. We must be wise with how we spend it. Respond by investing in making the things better that you actually can influence.

-Of all the words filling my newsfeed I keep seeing this one over and over again referring to the Trump supporters as racist, homophobic, deplorable, and all sorts of insulting words. I am proud to say I did not vote for him because I never for a second liked the man. However, a lot of people I know and love did. These are people I personally know don’t fit that description. I watched them welcome people into their home of many races, who lived on the “other side” of the tracks but had no place to call home that was safe so they gave them a free room. I’ve seen them surrounded by close friends who are homosexual. I’ve watched them dedicate their lives to the service of their communities. Welcome foster care children into their homes or fight for them in court. If you truly believe that about 50% of the population are idiots, start right there. If you want to end racism…go get to know these folks who are “deplorable.” You’ll likely find yourself super confused like me. There are other issues Trump stood for that mattered to them, or things about Hillary they couldn’t get behind. If you find yourself harshly judging 50% of the country….I recommend starting right there. Find a space to love them, be genuinely curious to understand their perspective. If you keep screaming hatred at them, you will not convince them that your way was the one that was hate free.

-Maybe you are on the other end and you are rejoicing because to you Trump represents making something better. What is that issue you are excited about he says he will fix? What power or influence do you have in that area? If you really do believe that issue needs help, it will not happen by eating chips and ice cream every night in front of the TV waiting to see updates on the nightly news about what he has done about that problem. Redirect your energy to getting involved in the issues that matter most to you. If you really were a Trump fan, then get involved and take action on improving something in America so that all of us who think he is a bully can be proved wrong. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be proved wrong on this one.

We are the ones who possess the power. Decide that YOU are the one person who has the ability to make a difference. Grace and peace be with you friends.

Breaking My Silence: We’re being told the wrong story

For the past few weeks my Facebook newsfeed has been going viral every day with something else. I’ve even considered getting off for a while because it’s filled with so much anger. Every controversial issue that arises I have friends spewing hatred at the thoughts other friends believe. I chose silence. I chose to participate in the discussions in person only when my opinion was directly requested. I have chosen the silence to focus on the things in my life that require my energy and attention.

However, after waking up to yet another tragedy filling my feed, today I have decided that I have something worth sharing. I’ve had it on my heart for over 5 years to start a blog, I had this template built in January but I’ve never posted in fear of offending or upsetting some people and a fear of the site not being “perfect.” This message is worth me breaking my silence. Getting over my fears. This message is worth being my first official post on my website.

I want to encourage all my friends to seek out a journey to find your calm. Find your peace amidst the chaos. Feel the sadness and grief and then respond with love and action.

The current social and political issues matter today, but will be forgotten tomorrow. The lives lost are heart breaking, but our anger does not bring them back. When you feel like the world is crazy and out of control remind yourself that every single generation in the history of the world has felt the same way. Part of the human experience has always been navigating through good and evil. Trying to cope with suffering. Asking questions of why things happen. Fighting for injustices.

As a former student and professional of the media, I have turned it off in my life because I understand its foundation is built on sensationalism. The world feels so much worse because Americans are more glued to their TVs and computers when they are in fear and feel dependent on media to keep them updated…and therefore we watch more ads. Or click on more websites that have banner ads. It’s the truth.

Though you may not realize this, we live in the most peaceful time in the history of the world. For as long as we have had recorded history there have been wars in the Middle East, senseless murders…dating all the way back to Cane and Abel in a field. Violent crimes fell by 51% from 1991 to 2013. Think texting and driving is our biggest problem? In the 40 years between 1973 and 2013 the US population rose by 50% but the number of car fatalities per year dropped by 40%!!! I could keep going. There have been so many ways our world has improved over time. But there are presently and have always been those who process their anger, hurt and pain by choosing to create anger, hurt and pain in others’ lives.

We cannot fix all the pain today. And honestly, nothing about the laws of nature give us any reason to believe they will ever go away, but we can choose where to take action. We don’t have control over the actions of other people, but we do possess control over our own.

So how do we respond to more acts of violence in our world? By doing the very, most simplest teaching Jesus recommended. To love your neighbor. Do you know someone hurting? Do you know someone in pain? Love them. Help them. Beyond giving money to a GoFund me website, we often feel completely helpless in regards of how to help a grieving family whose loved one has just been shot, a mother whose son was carried off by an alligator or a gorilla, or whatever tragedy will next fill our timelines and news headlines.

We cannot control these matters. They have been going on for eternity and will continue to occur. We don’t know when we will be the family affected by the next headline. We don’t know when our own tragedy will go viral. But we all know someone who is hurting today who can use a meal cooked for their family, a gas card to fill up the tank, a couple hours of free babysitting to take care of life without distraction, a lawn mowed because it’s the least of concerns they can process.

Friends, please understand that today, right now, you are living in the best time in the history of the world. Despite that when we woke up this morning we learned of more lives lost in France to another senseless act of violence, this is not new to history. This isn’t the first war ever. It’s no where close to the largest. It actually HAS been worse before, many times.

I literally cannot wrap by brain around what America I’m supposed to want to go back to? The one with segregation? The one where I as a career-driven woman would feel stifled at every turn? A world where information was challenging to find? Today we live in a world where ANYONE of ANY gender, race, handicap, background or personality type can achieve anything they set their mind to if they have a strong work ethic and are stubborn enough to not quit until they do. I agree that certain situations make the climb a little more challenging, but not impossible. The truth of the matter is, today, right now, there have never been fewer limitations to become your greatest self.

I personally, have so far to go. I am not the first to cook the meal or run to aid. I am typically too caught up in my own world to recognize how to volunteer without being directly asked. I am too busy reading my social media newsfeed to have a relationship with my next door neighbors. It’s true. I can’t remember their first names.

Friends, can we start a dialogue talking more about how great these times are we are in and how to make them EVEN BETTER? I want to continue paving forward on eliminating more glass ceilings, bringing more love to the unloved, more education to the uneducated, more violence ended, more food and shelter to the homeless children. The list goes on.

I want to live in a world that is continuing to progress forward. I want to get off my ass and DO something. It starts with keeping MY attitude in check, MY eyes open for who to help in my life, and fulfilling MY purpose on this earth.

Yesterday my sister woke up at the butt crack of dawn to be at my house by 7am so I could leave for an early meeting and someone could take my daughter to swim class. She washed the dishes while she was here. That was HUGE for me. My parents picked my daughter up from childcare and fed her dinner for me. I was gone for over 12 hours focusing on the things I believe are my callings and missions in life. I suck in the kitchen, mostly because I find it a stressful place to be. I don’t know how to operate a lawn mower, judge me, that’s fine. But I did a few things to help others.

When writing this post I was thinking that I may have had a particular selfish day until I realized I used my service, my skill set, to help two people. I’m a networker. I love talking, asking questions and meeting new people. I thrive in conversation. When I stopped to think about the tasks I did yesterday I realized I helped two friends get lined up for job interviews with two other friends hiring people of their skill set. I had absolutely nothing to gain in either scenario. It’s not big. It’s not glorious. But it’s something small I can do that helps another person. And I hope for both my friends’ sake they get hired, and I’ve helped them find the full time employment they were praying for….while my sister washed dishes and my dad cooked. Because that’s their service.

The world keeps moving and flowing when each of us gives, loves and does what we can.

What is something small you did yesterday to help someone? What is something small you can do today?

Who wants to join me in starting a different dialogue?

If you agree that the dialogue should shift, share this post with others. Let’s participate in the conversation with a different perspective.