26 October 2011


                  Our perfect example of compassion

I have always believed, and have had confirmed many times through out my life, that if we are not humble, life will do it for us. Sometimes quietly, and sometimes with a great big fat kick in the backside.
I had a horrible experience recently. I saw someone who had been murdered. He was lying on the ground in  a puddle of his own blood from a gunshot wound to the head; right across the street in my neighbor's driveway. I never, ever expected to see anything like that in my life and pray I never will again. This man was well known to the police for illegal activities including drugs. The man lived a few blocks away and the police had no idea why he was in my neighbor's driveway, especially since our neighbors had never seen him before.
We live in a city with a population of roughly 150,000 people. Our city has many smaller communities within it and has a rich history. Some neighborhoods are beautiful with well large, kept homes. Others, are multi-family homes that are rented with the landlords living, sometimes, outside the state; sometimes, but not often, on the same property. Still others, like mine, have a mix of both multi- and single family.
I've always been annoyed, put off and sometimes, outright offended, when people have spoken ill of my home. I'm raising my family here! I don't want my children to feel inferior or embarrassed because of where they live. We put just as much effort to find a proper home for our family as others who may have better means and can afford to live in the nicer suburbs. We've lived here 14 years and have never felt we were in danger. We have come to the defense of our beloved neighborhood and city more times than I can count against many tasteless jokes and criticism. I have always felt justified in doing so. No one has the right to pass judgement or make criticisms regarding things based on second hand information or the skewed presentation of information from the media. I've always felt that if you don't live here or have never lived here, you have no business talking. I never thought I was out of place in doing so; it was my job to 'inform.' I never thought I was being self-righteous or cocky, although looking back I have to question my intent on some of those occasions. I just wanted them to focus on the good people who live here and who appreciate the diversity and beauty that the city has to offer.
There is a small 'shrine' in my neighbor's yard with flowers and many lit candles. I realized last night that this man had people who cared about him!! He wasn't just a druggie. He was some one's son, brother, boyfriend, cousin, uncle, friend. There are people who are mourning his loss. I have no idea how he ended up on the path he was on, but I do know that kids don't usually grow up saying they want to be druggies or thugs or thieves. There's a chance that he grew up here in the same city I am raising my family, my kids. The very same ones that are now nervous about being in any part of the house alone. The same kids who now jump at any little noise, especially coming from outside...

I have been thoroughly humbled by this experience on so many levels. I no longer have a desire to defend what I don't understand. I never should have felt the need to defend this city or my street against verbal assaults and insults. I'm sure I've made people feel uncomfortable in response to my bruised pride and for that I'm so sorry. I should have been more compassionate to those who were ignorant or mean in their judgements. I was guilty of the same thing!! What hypocrisy.
 I also need to remember that people who are lost in sin need my prayers, not my judgements. I want to remember the Savior's example of love and compassion. He loved. He loved the people around Him and prayed for everyone. He never defended or argued. He set an example for those around Him, and for me. May my Father in Heaven forgive me for my shortcomings and help me to continue to become more like Him.

12 October 2011

Hurray for 3 day weekends!!

Three day weekends means more kids, more fun! Now that they are in school, every moment counts even more. We made the most of our school break!! We went apple picking at Johnny Appleseed. They have dwarf trees so the kids are able to stand right in front of them to pick! The weather was ridiculously warm, but it was a fun time anyway! Corn maze, cider and doughnuts, tractor ride, pumpkin picking and home with a bag full of apples. What more can I say? Oh yeah, getting lost on the way... but without that part, we wouldn't have had the view!!
Thanks for taking the group picture Noel!!
Aunt Charlene joined us with bum leg and all.. What a trooper!
A hike to Heublin Tower on another ridiculously warm day for October, but it is Indian Summer! What a great view! Yes, the cast came too.
No warm day can be called great without Albano's Italian Ice!!!!

Mini pumpkins made at a friend's birthday party!! How stinkin' cute...

Cupcakes for Roci's fundraiser!! Thanks Mercy for decorating! I knew you'd come up with something cute! Roci ended up making $30 on 21 cupcakes!! I obviously undervalued them. I told her to sell them at .50 each =O

First days of school

The girls started school on different days. We have a tradition where I take pictures on the first day. Since my sister was living with us,I have one of Aalyia with Kaleigh:)
Rocquel couldn't wait to get going and I had to make her pose. I think Mercedes thought she was off the hook... HA! HA! I guess she forgot who her mom was...
I know school started ages ago, but at least I have the pictures up, right??