The culture of April.

  Moving forward, Easter, Miss M's 12 th Birthday, the first anniversary of my sister's passing and immersion in S Town. My April so far, has been chocked full. STown. Last month when Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance was announced as April's book club selection, S Town was not even on my radar. I am now on my third time through the 7 chapter podcast. Completely submerged in a culture I know nothing about yet there are similarities that have brought me to tears. I heard something today that I had not noticed the first 2 times. It's is on the back mental burner, waiting to be processed. Maybe May.
Would I recommend it to you? There is language. A lot of it. STown stands for Shit town and is referred to often. If you could put aside being offended by a culture that is matter of fact about cursing, absolutely. Finding the same language in the book club selection, another of the things I have in common with these people is growing up with language that many would bristle at. What you would get in return might possibly be worth it, your call. The third time through We are listening to it in the car, back and forth when we go to the kids. By now I know the story so I am listening for different things than my first time driver. Adding the book in is almost a letdown because STown is so brilliant and overwhelmingly, real. I am learning to merge the two and the experience is one I don't want to leave. Not because I want to be one of them but because in their humanness, I see my own. I will end this month with the people of STown and the family of JD Vance, close. Family has many edges, and lest we forget, so have each one of us.

EMT

 
I can be a hero in my own storm, which is where I found a sense of value as a child, as the tense little EMT in a damaged family. Anne Lamott.

Weird s**t

 That was some weird s**t. Overheard at 2017 inauguration, via George W Bush. Wow. And here some 70 some days later, I feel exactly the same way. No matter what side of the political fence you attach yourself to, you could admit we have seen some of what President Bush is referring too. For some of us, it is painful. I am at the point where the people of the boy who called wolf, found themselves. We all have relatives that we dismiss because they have proven more than once, that they can not be trusted either by word or deed. I hope I fact check more than not before opening my big mouth. Like it or not, I have a desire to let the facts fall where they may. Let's face it, for many reasons we can not be totally truthful. The truthfulness of hairdos could bring down an entire country. So we continue to knit our days and say our prayers, all the while knowing President Bush was right about at least one thing. 

Kindness

 Do you dish out kindness on a scale? More for some, less for others? Should kindness just be, with no thought to degree?
Those of us who use humor to get by, find kindness a bit more elusive. Comedy by its nature, is taking a truth and finding its most unflattering side and coming back at you with more truth. I know souls who are so kind to everybody and everything. While I don't envy or want to be like them, they do make me question my method of doling out kindness. My instinct is to help. Open a door, help someone pick up something they have dropped. Maybe it is my thought process that is less kind. Driving down the road or watching a parent hit a child at the grocery store. There was no kindness given. My instinct has a short attention span.
I remind myself that a work in progress will have setbacks. The best I can hope for is keeping moving forward, living and learning. Abraham Lincoln had it right, Whatever you are, be a good one. May we all, do our best. That really is all that is ever asked of each of us.

Childhood

 Adolfo Hitler was the adult conversations of my childhood. My maternal grandmother who lived through his reign would defend him aggressively to my father who came to Germany toward the end of WW2. Her husband had trained boxers for the SS, my father stayed in German for an extra four year duty to marry my mother, bring her to the States and leave her in Michigan with his parents. It was a long, long four years. She didn't speak English and everyone including my grandparents, hated Germans.
I heard the Hitler arguments way before I learned about them in school. I listened to each side, looking for things my little mind agreed with. I do not remember the specific issue of the Holocaust being brought up. I do remember my Oma passionately trying to stand her ground with tears in her eyes. Hitler gave them food when the had none. He gave them the Volkswagen, the everymans car. There was so much gratitude in her words. My father had seen awe and its effects. If he had a billion years to do so, he still would never change her mind.
If I could I might ask God what he was feeling during the murders of 6 million Jews. What I have come to understand is for whatever reason, the Holocaust, 911, Sandy Hook and millions more have been a part of our history that we as humans, have had to physically and mentally, go through. 
What I do understand is that bad, bad things that we can't explain or change, will happen in each of our lifetimes.if we are going to believe in the God of the Bible, we are going to have to accept the unknowable. Not defend, it is not ours justify. Ours is to love and care as we can. It is a tough road but just do the best you can. Don't worry about what everyone else is and can do. God made you. Give him your best and forget the rest. Start today, right now. The simple act of being, don't overthink it. Blessings, my friend.

Definition.

 We all have defining Moments. Some are personal to each of us and become markers in our lives. We choose them by emotion and they will last a lifetime. Others are assigned to us by behavior and also last a lifetime. And longer. Presidents have legacies that follow them to the grave. Good and bad. We are witnessing our newest president firmly establish his first defining act. Russia will forever be associated with this president. It is his Benghazi, his Watergate, his Marilyn Monroe. No matter how this all plays out, his history has been cemented in his first 6 weeks of service. 
To a large extent, we have control over how our Moments will be remembered by our actions. In my Lent quest to move toward, I am aware that it is about quality over quantity. It is about doing the best I can, with all the experience I have, to not only do no harm but to help to thrive. It may require being brutally honest but if you have made the investment in a relationship, it is more readily, heard. Be the person you would like to spend time with. Say you are sorry. Say I love you.

Feeling the Love

Heard a Story yesterday where a couple drive 70 miles on Sunday morning to go to church. Why? Because they feel loved. The church does not own a building or even have any kind of outreach program and yet, there is obviously a Love connection being made and felt. There was also the tale of a North Carolina principal who has made it a practice since her teaching days, to visit every student's home, in her school. 900 students. 900 visits. Her junior high is thriving. Could it be the Love connection, you bet your bottom dollar! We all want to be cared for and about. We gravitate toward it. It is also the reason things can go terribly wrong when someone uses that Love to another's deterement. We all are looking for love and will do whatever is necessary to get it. We will go out of our way, we will dig deep, maybe even, be able to share it with others. Remember that the next time you feel the love, and if you can share, teach others how to fan the flames of love. Win win for us all