Ignorance is No Defense

A couple of months ago my family listened to J. Tom Morgan speak on teens and the law. He is the author of a phenomenal book called Ignorance is No Defense. It is a must read for any teen living in the state of Georgia. It was eye opening to learn of the laws that affect teens as early as the age of 13.

While out shopping in November, my husband and I stumbled upon a watch shop in the mall roped off with crime tape. As we tried to maneuver around it, we noticed an athletic shoe store across from it had been roped off as well. We assumed it had been a Black Friday robbery or shoplifting event. There were policemen all around, and they were frantically blowing their whistles and shooing away onlookers. This infuriated me for many reasons.

On the way back down the escalator in front of the scene, I expressed my irritation at the police officers to a lady in front of me. I really wanted them to stop blowing their whistles at everyone. I felt it exaggerated the reality that the area is becoming more and more  ghetto; I also that the police were attempting to hide this fact from unsuspecting dwellers of the community. The lady proceeded to fill us in on the details of what was going on.

Apparently the police were blowing whistles and shooing people away because they didn’t want people staring at a puddle of  blood. Sure enough, as we descended down the stairs, you could see a red puddle on the ground. Apparently there had been a gang stabbing amongst some teens who appeared to range in age from 12-16. After listening to J. Tom Morgan, I knew that if the victim passed away, these teens wouldn’t stand a chance in a Georgia court. They would be tried for murder as an adult. My heart became so heavy that I was weeping before I even made it to my car.

What has happened to our youth? It breaks my heart to know that young people in my community have to join gangs in order to feel they are accepted and belong. I want to do something to help, but what? I have reached out in my own neighborhood, but I know it’s not enough. How does a community stop activity like this after it has started? What does a community do to prevent this behavior before it starts? For now, all I know to do is pray and hope for answers to come. Until then, I will continue reaching out to the younger children in my community in hopes the trend can be stopped before it begins in our next generation.

Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 9:51 pm  Comments (3)  

Resolutions. To do or not to do?

Ever since I was a little girl I would attempt to make New Year’s resolutions. A couple of years ago I even wrote them down and sealed them in an envelope so that I could read them a year later. In that envelope was a resolution to be back into a bikini by summer. I’m still sporting a conservative one piece. I guess there’s room for improvement in my success rate.

Last year life came at us hard. The weakened economy hit our home full force, kids were going wacko with hormonal changes, and I was trying my best to remain sane while working like a mad woman. I don’t believe I ever took time to make a resolution of any kind last year, yet I made some amazing changes. I have grown a lot as a person this last year. I learned a lot about faith. And love. Family and friends. I’m eager to continue growing in this manner, so I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions.

This year I’m still trying to zero in on a few to make that are doable and profitable. I still haven’t made my mind up. There’s so much I could be working on spiritually, physically, professionally, and emotionally. This morning at church, the minister speaking challenged me to go home and tackle four tasks: Define my values. Determine my priorities. Discover my life purpose. Discipline my mind.

The struggle is this. I am having a harder time with this than I care to admit. These are issues I should already be pretty sure of. My husband tried to breach this topic with me a month or so ago, and I shrugged him off. Yes, I was too busy to discuss such heavy issues at the time, but I think my shrugging was related to a bit more. I don’t think I completely understand and know what my values and priorities are. I am not sure what my life purpose is, and I know I am not disciplining my mind as much as I should.

Don’t get me wrong. I know what all of these things should be, but I’m not living up to them. I used to be certain of my values, had very determined priorities, and pretty much knew my purpose. And I was disciplined like no one else. But something happened to me over the years. Life’s curve balls made me look at things differently, and I think I lost a bit of who I am at the core. And I’ve not reconfigured all of who I am and what I believe in. Why? I’m not sure. Laziness? Lack of faith? Discouragement from past obstacles I’ve encountered? Fear? For whatever reason, I can tell I’m avoiding the challenge today in the same manner I was a month ago.

So, I think I will resolve to discover and understand my values, priorities, and purpose. I also resolve to discipline my mind so that I’m not afraid to take a long, deep look at myself. I know I have to work on my attitude. I’ve allowed myself to become quite the cynic at times, and I don’t want my cynicism to turn into bitterness. I had already resolved to change my attitude and how I view things in life. My hope is that as I work on improving my attitude, I will discover more important things about myself so that I can get my values and priorities in line. I guess this is a good start.

Are there any other resolutions I’ve made? Well, I resolve to keep off the weight I worked so hard to lose by beginning to run, and I resolve to tone up what fat is left. After all, I still want to be in a bikini by summer. Maybe I should write that one down and seal it in an envelope.

Now it’s your turn. What resolutions did you make?

Published in: on January 4, 2010 at 5:09 am  Comments (2)  

Goodbye 2009…

I am really going to miss you. You started out harsh and tough, but in response, I toughened up, survived you, and have so many good memories to boot! I don’t believe I have ever worked harder, loved more passionately, or made connections to my community the way I did this past year. I will miss you.

Just some highlights of 2009:

I finished my master’s degree!

Chris and I have both had some major changes to our careers, and what mixed blessings those have been!

I learned to laugh and love like never before in the midst of our trials. Boy, we had some amazing trials this year, but I look back at them with tears of joy. God is so good!

Maddie started high school.

Noah survived his first year of middle school, and he has had a successful start to his second year.

Maddie began driving, and I’m still alive:)

We started our neighborhood watch! It took over a year to get enough participants, but by golly we made it!

I learned a lot about myself and my family. We are so much stronger than I had given us credit for.

I take none of my blessings for granted. I have seen so many tough circumstances be miraculously turned around this year. Prayer is such a powerful thing, and God is faithful, even when we’re not.

Happy New Year!

Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 12:49 am  Comments (1)